Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Official: Nothing is Sacred Anymore

Justin Timberlake, you are worth $75 million dollars. You just put on a $6.5-million-dollar wedding in Italy, a five-day festival before that, which many of NYC’s homeless and transvestite community apparently couldn’t attend. Read More: But then you feel the need to sell your most intimate wedding-day photos to PEOPLE magazine for $300,000? Really? Justin, do you know that the shot of your first kiss with Jessica Biel is inset opposite a full-page Oscar Meyer Weiner Ad?

Selling the wedding-day photos is something Kim Kardashian does, because she has the shelf life of an opened bag of scallops, and she needs to strike now, of course she does. Wedding-day photos is a Snooki move not Justin Timberlake. JT has been on top for twelve years. He’s an ingrained part of American Pop Culture.

It’s completely cheapens the whole affair, which is a shame because he burned up almost ten percent of his net worth to do it. Why couldn’t they keep it clouded in mystery? Why did JT sell to PEOPLE, the next day nonetheless? I just don’t understand why someone of his stature would cash out for chump change. Was it publicity? JT isn’t a teenie-bopper anymore. He has nothing left to prove. Magazine covers can’t still concern him. I think Justin could’ve been Elvis Presley, he was that good and maybe still is. It’s not looking like he’s going to be Robert Redford, as this acting thing is slowly turning into the Iraq War, SOCIAL NETWORK aside. But he was the best up on that stage. NSYNC was him and four backups. JUSTIFIED was a GREAT album! He made 30 million on one tour alone. He could sing, dance, write tracks, sell albums like the wind, make the girls go “aawwwww.” He could do it all. But it feels like he might’ve given that away too. Maybe he'll come back to it but he is almost 32. Tick tock. 300K? Why? What’s next? The consummation photos to US WEEKLY.

And I’d say the same thing to all the regular folks out there like you, me, and Mitt Romney. When did this whole putting intimate photos on Facebook start? The wedding photos or ultrasound photos on the homepage? Can’t anything stay sacred? What is this need for attention all the time? Does everything need to be Liked or Commented on? It’s your unborn child. It’s your first kiss as a married couple. Keep it for your dearest friends and closest family. If they weren’t invited to be at the wedding then the photo of your first dance isn’t for their consumption.

It's official: Nothing is sacred anymore.

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Brian Huba

Saturday, October 27, 2012


My life as a student didn’t start well. In first & second grade I went to Holy Cross Catholic School in Albany. In first grade Sister King grabbed me by the elbow and threw me across a classroom and into a dividing wall because I came in from recess singing. In second grade the school wanted to flunk me with a B+ average and make my mother pay for me to repeat the grade because of “immaturity.” That was the end of Catholic School. I hated Holy Cross.

The first great teacher I had was Mrs. Marion Rogers in third grade at West Sand Lake Elementary School. She was the first educator to make me believe I was as smart and capable as any student in the room. That year, one of my classmates, Frank Burdick, died when his father’s tractor trailer rolled over and killed him in the passenger seat. That was the last straw for Marion, and at year’s end she decided it was time to retire the chalk, pointing to that tragedy as the trigger. Thank you for showing me THE TRUMPETER & THE SWAN, Mrs. R. I’ll love you til the end of time.

As a sixth grader I had a major crush on my science teacher, Jody Banks. She used to wear these black business skirts that showed her killer legs. One time, on a field trip to Thatcher Park, she posed for a picture with me, and I was in love. She even danced with me at a school dance, the song “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul. In the end, she married the assistant principal, Stephen Beebee, and Jody B became Jody BB. I was going to fight Mr. Beebee, of course, he robbed my woman, but in retrospect, I have to say the man had great taste. Thanks for being such a sport, Mrs. Banks. I mean, Mrs. Beebee.

The first great teacher I met in high school was Tom Ladd. My first day as a freshman, when I made a crack from the back of the room, he pointed at me and said, “Hey, I could beat you up.” No teacher had ever spoken to me like that before. I loved Ladd immediately, and still do. I had him all four years. He talked to me about music, he gave me rides home after weight lifting. He liked basketball and went to Duke. A Blue Devil!! He let me call him Johan (Yo-Honn), he let me write goofy articles about him in the school newspaper, and above all I learned in his class, I really learned. When I was a senior I egged Mr. Ladd’s house with a few friends on Halloween, and I lost him forever. I’m sorry, Mr. Ladd, I don’t know why I did that. You’re one of the greatest men I have ever known.

As a sophomore I was lucky enough to be invited into Dr. Monohan’s AP Social Studies. Me? In AP? What has the world come to? I never took a class more seriously than his class. I wrote down every word he said. No funny guy in Dr. M’s room. I wanted to show this brilliant man I belonged. He had a funny way of talking and a doughy face, but my God, he was good. All I wanted to do was impress him. Being in his class is the reason I was able to get through college. When I was a senior at SUNY Albany and working at the Pepsi Arena’s box office, he came to my window to purchase tickets for a concert, sporting his usual pleated slacks, baggy cardigan, and big glasses, and I asked him what his advice was for me. He said, “Simple, be a teacher.”

When I was a senior at AP I was in Theatre Arts Class. The only reason I wanted in there as an elective was to hit on all the hot girls who wanted to be actresses. The T.A. Teacher, Mrs. Debra Baggetta, hated me with a passion. Her sheer loathing of me brought her to take me down the hall to Dan Fairchild’s Journalism Class, and dump me off on Dan the Man, an in-season trade I suppose. She told me she saw a writer in me, someone who’d one day put his thoughts on paper for people to read. I thought it was BS because she wanted to unload me. And she said if I ever published a book I’d have to bring her a signed copy. A promise is a promise.

For half of my final year in high school, I had the honor to learn about life from the last great teacher I ever crossed paths with: Dan Fairchild. A few years later when I attended my cousin’s graduation from Averill Park, Fairchild gave the keynote speech. It was about leaving your tattoo on the world. It was incredible. I still think about his words that day and quote them to people when I can. Last year I saw Fairchild again, and it was like seeing a celebrity. I will forever be a student in his presence.

With the exception of our obvious heroes like Lance Armstrong and A-Rod, nothing is more important than a great teacher. In college I had many "great" professors, but to me, college was a business, and the educators on that level had been hired by me to get me where I needed to go professionally. It’s the public school teachers that change lives and mold people. Nobody is more important. These people are the major players of my development. They saved my life.

But I would be remiss not to mention my fifth grade teacher: Charles H. Viens, known best for putting Simpsons characters on fake money. I did not have an overly-personal connection with him, but he taught me two things I will never forget, and isn't that what a teacher is supposed to do? 1) Morphographs. Basically this means looking at multi-syllable words by breaking them down part by part. Now I can never look at a long word without breaking it down into parts in my mind. Damn you, Viens, why were you so Fan-Tas-Tik? 2) And I think I speak for every student who ever had Mr. Viens, whether that student went on to become a hobo or Harvard Grad, we can all reel off the names of the Solar System’s nine planets from closest to farthest from the Sun. I feel like NOBODY except West Sand Lakers can do that off their head. So for Mr. Viens and all the great teachers I ever had here it goes (I promise I am winging this, no on-line help): Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune & of course Pluto.

Brian Huba

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

He wants the title not the job

After watching the Debates and following the respective campaigns for the last year, I’m left with only one answer: Mitt Romney just "wants" to be President. What do I mean by that? Romney has accomplished everything he’s ever set out to do, and now he has made the decision that he wants to be the world’s #1 guy. So he went to work on it four-five years ago, after McCain put him to pasture. He made his kids marry and have kids, he overhauled his whole life to make a Presidential push. All that is fine, but the problem is he's only worried about being called Mr. President, because wouldn’t that be something for the guys at the golf club to see?

Does anyone think Romney has given a second’s thought to the actual job that would wait if he were to win? His whole game right now is walk the part, talk the part, be the part. Say anything to win, do anything, tweek positions, change positions, flat-out lie, whatever it takes, just win. There’s nothing genuine or planned out about the duties that such a job would call for. An analogy: We all want to be in the NFL or in the NBA, sure we do, what a life, right? The big contract, the TV commercials, the fame, the VIP access. Then when it’s time to actually play the game, Clay Matthews puts you in the fifth row on the first hit, and suddenly being in the NFL isn’t so much fun. You have to actually have the "stuff" to perform on the field. Romney doesn't. He just wants the locker.

Never once has Romney turned off that run-for-the-White House mode long enough to consider there are a million Clay Matthews waiting when you win, all day, every day, with a few rides in Air Force One in between. Yeah, being Prez is aces with the Country Clubbers, and people would salute him when he showed up, but it’s not so much fun when a nuclear war, and poverty, and unemployment, and education, and every other problem knock at the door. And believe me, they'll knock, and knock, and knock, and . . .

My point is Romney just comes off artificial--how can't you see that--like a kid who says he wants to be a rock star. Now imagine that kid has a billion dollars at his disposal. Say anything. Do anything. Flat-out lie. Whatever to win. It’s like running for Washington is a game, the latest thing to throw his wealth and lucky touch at. He isn’t going to dirty his hands with your middle-class problems if elected. He has cuff links worth more than your house. He’d be the $5,000.00-a-plate fundraiser President. The golf-with-the-Prime Minister of England President. Every day I hear people say, “I wish my life was like Kobe Bryant’s” or “Eli Manning’s” or “Brad Pitt’s.” (For the record, I have never heard anyone say that, but you get my point.) Truth is you have no idea the outrageous workload and nonstop grind being one of those guys would be. All you see is the commercials, and cool movies, and red carpets. That life is like an iceberg in the ocean. 99.9% of it is underwater where nobody can see. Being President is that, times a million and a million more.

How can you vote for Romney? Do you understand the mess that turning over this country to another leadership would be at this point? I promise you that Romney would spend the first month in celebration mode. That’s human nature after chasing something for so many years and actually getting it. He wants the title Mr. President. Say anything. Do anything. Just win. He doesn’t want the job. And neither do you. Say what you want about Obama. The man has grayed his hair for this country. And last night, as I watched the debate I saw a President tired of playing this he-said he-said game with a wealthy man whose only idea about being President is how cool that title would look on his nameplate.

This election is a pesky distraction to our President, and in a few weeks, Romney will be a footnote in political history, so move over Mondale and Dukakis. We all dream about running the ball in the big game. But when you catch that sweep right and Clay Matthews comes barreling down at you, foam at the mouth, most of us would rather be home watching, thinking that could be us out there on that field, sure it could.

It’s almost time to go home, Mitt, back to the winter house in wherever and armchair QB Obama for another four years with the rest of us. And trust me, Mitt, it’s better that way, for all of us. Our short, national nightmare is almost over.

Here's why I'm voting Obama. On three major issues: Iraq, General Motors, and Osama bin Laden, Romney was wrong (he agreed with Iraq, wanted to let GM fail, and said killing bin Laden wasn't a priority) and Obama was right. The end.

Say anything. Do anything. Just win.

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Brian Huba

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ten Best Presidents

The political season got me thinking about the Top Commanders in American History. Since I was born in 1776 and was around to see every President in office, I am the foremost source of the following. So, for what it’s worth, this is my list of the Ten Best Presidents Ever.

10. Barack Obama: I think Obama is a pretty good President, and will have a great second term. He was the sitting President when the greatest military capture and kill in American History was made, and that’s worth something. He saved GM and ended the worst war we ever engaged in as a nation. The economy is down, but it will be back. It can’t be easy following the worst President this country has ever known. That's not excuse, it's fact.

9. Thomas Jefferson: Third ever US President is good enough for number eight on this list. From his huge role in the US Revolution to Lewis & Clark and the Louisiana Purchase, to his role as leader of the Enlightenment (whatever that is), Jefferson is a pillar of this nation, one of the greatest Americans ever. Plus his first VP, Aaron Burr, killed a guy (A. Hamilton) in a duel.

8. Teddy Roosevelt: The Cowboy Image that fit America like a twelve-ounce Stetson and the brilliant Harvard mind made Teddy one of the most beloved US leaders ever. Plus, he was only 42 when elected. Considered by many as one of the greatest ever, Teddy is also one of the most recognizable ever. He is a huge part of the American picture, right down to the funny little glasses.

7. JFK: Kennedy brought a promise of hope to this country. He stared down the Russians and the Cubans. Maybe history has been too kind to him, and maybe a bullet to the brain was the best thing that ever happened to his legacy, but he was Camelot and he was a Kennedy, and for that JFK will always be seen as one of the most recognizable US Presidents. And the mystery of his death will rack future generations forever. JFK is like the Tim Tebow of Presidents. When you say why he’s so good, you perhaps mention everything but the actual product. Although, to be fair, he did start the NASA push that put the first man on the Moon, and he did do good work for Civil Rights.

6. Harry Truman: Harry led this country after WWII, another huge time to be alive and American. Hitler was dead, Japan was in ruins, the fighting was done, and the US economy was on the rise. All things considered, this was one of the best times for our young country. And he who wears the Crown gets to reap the benefits of history’s kind hand.

5. George Washington: GW was so long ago he might as well be a myth. And, in my opinion, he probably is far more myth than reality. But he was the first American President, and I suppose that counts for something. He “led” the Americans through the Rev. War, defeating the entire British Army by himself. That's tough stuff. Not bad for a guy with wooden teeth (probably another myth), and married to a woman named Martha, and what's hotter than a woman named Martha?

4. Abe Lincoln: Another President who presided during an oh-so-important period in American History. Many will argue that Lincoln bled this country red to end slavery and save the Union, but that was the only option, and the history of our civilized nation was at risk. While he was President, we were thrust in the deadliest war Americans have ever fought and the only one of two fought on USA soil, and he was shot dead before he got to see the fruits of his labors, but history will remember him second to none. “He belongs to the ages now.”

3. FDR: Although history will debate the real role FDR played in rescuing this country from the Great Depression, he was the President when it happened, so he gets the credit. No man has served longer in Washington than FDR and no first lady is more respected than Eleanor R. Not a bad track record for a guy with Polio. Although with today’s media, we’d never elect a cripple to today’s White House. Wow.

2. Ronald Reagan: The get-rich 80s. Reagan was one of the best and most beloved Presidents ever, and life was pretty good with him in Washington. He turned the troubled economy around and gave Michael Jackson a lot of Humanitarian Awards. Is there any decade more fun than the 80s? Down with Don Henley’s lyric, “this tired old man that we elected king,” and up with Genesis’ “Land of Confusion” video with the play-doo Reagan.

1. Bill Clinton: He was President when America was stronger and better and richer than any nation has ever been in the history of the world. He is a perfect politician, born to be President. In ’92, he came out of nowhere with a saxophone and dethroned Bush the First. His eight years in office was nothing but jobs and good times and money and no war and just everything great. If this country could, we’d vote BC into office for life. “What about Monica and the stained dress?” Um, I could care less about Monica and the stained dress. Clinton, the greatest Commander we have ever had. He was Sinatra and Elvis rolled into one, times ten. Bill was President and his wife is Sec. of State. Now that’s a power couple.

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Brian Huba

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Is anything sacred anymore?

Lance Armstrong, are you serious? After battling back from “thirteen” forms of cancer to be a Tour de France champion again, and again, and again--albeit in a sport nobody cares about--you were deemed a National Treasure, an inspiration to athletes, cancer patients, children, old women, cats and dogs everywhere. Merely thinking about your heroism made cripples walk again, able-bodied people drop and do fifty pushups on the spot.

And boy oh boy did you suck it for everything it was worth. You never met a camera you turned away from. You were a bicycling Messiah. Beloved. Adored. Sheryl Crowed. But you were cheating the whole time? What? Is anything sacred anymore? How could you trump yourself up like that knowing (knowing!) you were a cheat behind closed doors? And for what? To win your, um, fifteenth Tour de France? So you risked ruining your All-World Image to shave a few minutes off your biking time when you were already the king of biking and could've walked away? Or just competed naturally and still been an inspiration. You had to win it again? Why? Who cares? What’s next? Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren’t real? ‘It was the pressure of the sport that forced him.’ The pressure of riding a bike really fast? Get real.

Armstrong AKA Livestrong was bigger than biking. He was bigger than the Big C. He was bigger than Jay-sis. We all know cornballs like A-Rod did drugs. A-Rod is as phony as grown women who wear clothes that say PINK and carry Coach bags. We know that, we don’t care. But Lance, oh man, Lance. And imagine being one of Lance’s teammates doing the drugs with him, looking into his eyes, and knowing what a hypocrite he was, the lie he was living, the hero story he was selling to sick kids and Vince Vaughn’s character in DODGEBALL. Couldn’t he just have said no to that cameo? Watch:

Wow, Lance, how did you sleep at night? How did you visit those hospitals? Was it all about money and fame? If you want to cheat, fine, do it, win your races, but don’t sell yourself as the picture of natural toughness and intestinal fortitude. Did you think this wasn’t going to come out? Oh yeah right, who’s more trustworthy than 148lb guys who wear skintight shorts and ride bicycles for thirty miles at a time? Yeah, those guys are steel traps. How did you put your head on the pillow at night, Lance? Check those test results again, doctor. There had to be some illegal sleeping drugs in his blood. Is anything sacred anymore?

By the way, don't go falling in love with Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt too fast either. I think we know how that story ends too.

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Brian Huba

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy 72nd, John Lennon

Sometimes I wonder if God is real, and if he did ever send his son Jesus back to earth, the same way the bible says, could the son of God have been John Lennon? Instead of being 'bigger' than 'Jay-sis,' like he once claimed about the Beatles, maybe Lennon himself was, well . . . Before you think of me as one of these guys who has Lennon posters hanging all over the place, and parrots his peace-and-love quotes to everyone, understand that I am not. In fact I’d probably call myself more of a Stones guy than a Beatles guy, and I actually like McCartney’s stuff better than Lennon’s, but I recognize that John Lennon is what he is, the most important musician who has ever lived. And it is a fact that Lennon pretty much levitated above the rest of humanity while he was on earth, everything he touched turned to solid gold, every song, every album, everything. Then one day, in NYC, 1980, some slime ball crawls out of the gutter, and assassinates Lennon for pretty much no reason, killing a man who preached peace and love, and was seemingly touched by the hand of God in everything he did.

After Chapman killed Lennon, he sat down right then and there, outside the Dakota, started reading CATCHER IN THE RYE, almost like he was content to be arrested, as he had succeeded in doing the Devil’s work. In fact, Chapman said to police, after the killing, that he was in some small way the Devil. So if God, and the Devil, and all that stuff’s real, was the death of Lennon a round in the eternal battle of God vs. the Devil? Using a meaningless loser to destroy maybe the greatest human on earth at the time, the most influential even, and certainly the most important figure in all of music history, and what impacts more people on a total scale than music? What cuts through race, creed, country, and language more than music?

If you were God and wanted to employ an outlet to spread your message, wouldn’t it be a singer that touches the entire world? I mean if you think about it, why did this Chapman creep, who never did a thing for anybody, and seemingly had no other reason to live, kill Lennon, a man who has literally touched every person who has ever lived? Why? Just to do it? Just to say he did it? It’s scary if you think about the fact that someone so powerful, and important, and impactful on a universal level could be ended by a complete nobody, who just rots in a jail cell now, his meaningless life interrupted only by this meaningless assassination. It's scary if you think about it. And if you ask me, Lennon's assassination is the saddest in world history. Pointless. Just . . . pointless.

I know a guy who once went fishing with Lennon in '79, well, tried to go. All John wanted to do was relax, cast a few lines, but the media was following their boat, messing up the whole quiet idea. The guy said Lennon was real laid back, a nice guy, but he was what he was. So Lennon apologized, excused himself, and the fishing trip went on without him. The sad side of being a universal icon, I suppose. Too bad.

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Brian Huba
10.9.12 (12.11.11)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Barack will be just fine

My first impression from last night’s debate: Pres. Barack Obama got manhandled by Mitt Romney. But then I took a look at the entire picture, and here’s what I saw.

The debate was centered on Domestic Policy, the broadest and most layered area these candidates will encounter. But honestly, there were only four questions asked/areas discussed during the entire 90-minute exchange: Tax Code, Social Security/Medicare, the Economy, and Education. Nobody denies that Romney can talk Tax Code like the wind. I myself said I would love Mitt to be this country’s CFO. President? Absolutely not. CFO, hired! He’s a billionaire businessman. This was right in his wheel house. He better be able to hit it hard. And Barack’s economy is still struggling, no doubt, easy to attack. But it takes time to recover from the Grand-Canyon-sized hole GW left this country in. It's not an excuse, it's the truth. It should take a generation really. Barack is gonna do it in six years.

Moderator Jim Lehrer, that PBS artifact, ignored the auto-industry recovery, immigration, gay marriage, women’s rights, social programs, just to name a few, all areas that Romney is comically wrong about. Where were they? If Romney is elected he’s going to go after Pro Choice, and that’s important to some people. Going after Pro Choice in 2012? Get real. All I’ve just mentioned: Never even brought up. Am I blaming the moderator? Yeah, I guess I kind of am. He got run over, and didn’t delve nearly deep enough. Maybe if we had had more than four questions to take on, the end result would’ve been a bit different.

And now the obvious reason why Romney came off so well last night: For the past four years Romney has been doing bare-knuckle pushups under a dart board with Obama’s face on the bull’s eye. I think he made his sons marry and conceive so that they’d have wives and kids in time to take the Convention Stage and look like the All-American family. He’s lived and breathed this White House run since 2008. He’s been like Mr. T training for Rocky in that dirty, dingy gym. Translation: His whole life was led up to that debate. As for Obama: I don’t think he even knew who Romney was until a week ago. He’s been busy, um, running the country. I heard that’s a time-consuming job, and it doesn’t even pay well. The truth: Mitt Romney has tried to sell himself as authentic, a get-your-hands-dirty guy. But if you can’t see the phoniness on him from a mile away, I don’t know what you’re watching. He can’t be President. He won’t be President.

Don’t get me wrong: My hat’s off to Mitt. There were times last night he looked downright Presidential, while Barack looked like a little boy being scolded. Mitt has had zero support from the Republican Party, and at the Convention in Florida, the GOP powers were busy pumping themselves up for 2016 rather than having Romney’s back. Considering all that, the kid came out swinging, and Barack just wasn’t all-the-way ready for it. I grant you that. But, you don't think Barack could've brought up Romney's 47% comment? He could've. He didn't. We all know the truth.

Take this from a NY Giants fan, who saw his team 7-7 after fifteen weeks last season, the season they won the Super Bowl. It only matters how you finish, so let’s not overreact off last night. It was what it was: one debate. In the end, Barack will finish first, by a long shot, I swear he will.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, look at the history. With the exception of Clinton in '96 (who could beat God in a debate), the sitting President always loses the first debate. Don't worry, Dems, Barack is good to go for another four, and I still say his second term will be historically great.

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Brian Huba