The Coconut Telegraph is all abuzz today after Jimmy Buffett fell off the stage at the close of his performance in Sydney, Australia last night.
Reportedly, Buffett was singing a solo encore performance of "Lovely Cruise", walking dangerously close to the edge of the stage. A flash of light erupted, washing the stage with a bright white light. It is not known if Buffett simply fell or intentionally jumped off the stage, misjudging his landing.
Those standing in the front rows reported he hit his head on a metal strip as he fell and landed face down on the concrete floor.
Doctors in Sydney have confirmed a laceration on his head, but say he is doing well and should be discharged on Thursday.
Do you remember the movie “Brewster’s Millions”? It came out in 1985, starring Richard Pryor and John Candy.
Pryor played Monty Brewster, a minor league baseball pitcher who never in his life earned more than $11,000 per year. Suddenly, he is informed that he has inherited a fortune from his deceased great-uncle (played by Hume Cronyn). But there are strings attached.
Brewster can take $1 million in cash (the rest to be distributed among charities and the law firm handling the estate) - OR - if he can spend $30 million in 30 days, he will inherit $300 million. He can only give 5% to charity and can only lose 5% to gambling, and anything he buys counts as an asset.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to spend $30 million in 30 days. After almost 48 years, I’ve not spent the first million yet! It’s not an easy feat to accomplish.
Unless your name is Patricia Kluge.
(Note: Patricia, darling, when posing in front of your vineyard with your own high-end wine label, remember to turn the bottle so we can see the label.)
Oh, I fear this is not going to end well.
Patricia was the third wife of media mogul John Kluge (KLOO-gee), the creator of Metromedia, which he sold in 1986 to 20th Century Fox for $4 billion. He was also a noted philanthropist, giving an estimated total of $500 million to Columbia University, University of Virginia and the
Library of Congress. He died last September at the age of 95.
Hmmm. He appears to be a little older than she.
Patricia was John’s third wife (of four), and a former nude model. Their divorce settlement was the largest in history, granting Patricia $1.6 million per week.
As my good friend Rev. Scales often asks his congregation, “Did you hear what I just said?”
Let me spell it out for you: one million, six hundred thousand dollars… PER WEEK!
That’s around $83 million per year, if I counted right.
And now poor Patricia has fallen on hard times.
The 23,538 square foot mansion she purchased for $100 million will be auctioned off next month. The sale price had been lowered to $24 million with no takers.
Her antiques and jewelry have already been auctioned.
That's a $3.8 million clock, by the way!
Her Virginia vineyard, Kluge Estate Winery, was foreclosed on in October.
Her failed venture at developing the Vineyard Estates Subdivision was also foreclosed on and auctioned off.
Sorry, no picture, but surely you get the idea by now.
Altogether, Patricia borrowed some $66 million and now is struggling to repay the banks.
We’ll be taking up a collection for Patricia following the sermon.
They say “Money can’t buy you happiness.”
It apparently can’t buy you brains either!
The story caught my eye because of the wine angle. Some day I want to have my own estate and grow my own vines and bottle my own vintage. Hopefully I can do it for less than what Patricia Kluge spent. After all, I’m just a poor preacher.
“I know… I’ve heard you preach.” (Beat ya to the punch line!)
Keep in mind, this is all happening in Virginia. Now, those who live in Virginia say their wine is the best. Wine-making was brought from France to Virginia by none other than Thomas Jefferson.
But Albemarle County is not Napa Valley.
Patricia bought 960 acres of vines and pumped some $50 million into developing the winery. She hired consultants from France. And where other local vineyards were bottling 5,000 cases per year, Kluge Estate was shipping out 50,000-60,000 cases. The wines were good, according to locals, but she wanted $75 per bottle, and I’m sorry to say, there’s not a wine in Virginia worth all that!
The market agreed, and forced the price down to a more reasonable (but still suspect) $24 per bottle.
And the debts kept piling up. She took out multiple mortgages on her mansion, but eventually the banks foreclosed. Sadly, attempts to sell the Winery at auction did not produce a single bid and the bank still holds the note, willing to deal at $19 million.
The liquidation of the winery’s cellars ended when they couldn’t even unload the inventory for $2 per case.
Patricia is now living with her third husband in a more modest 6,600 square foot home they built as a spec house in the failed subdivision. They bought it at the foreclosure auction for $3,675.
While I’m sure there is a lesson in here somewhere, it will probably go unheeded.
After all, don’t we all from time to time have “champagne wishes and caviar dreams”?
But here’s a word of advice: If you suddenly come into a massive amount of wealth, spend your first ½ million earning an MBA.
Sometimes a news story comes across the wire that is so well written it needs no comments or amplification.
The following article was in yesterday's USAToday. I have simply copied and pasted the story because, frankly, I can't think of anything to add to it to make it more hilarious!
(Used here without permission, but with all attributes.)
Vegas tourist sues after 'tragic' lap dance encounter By Jayne Clark, USA TODAY
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Unless you go home and file a federal lawsuit alleging the exotic dancer/hooker who came to your hotel room didn't live up to expectations. And when you complained to Las Vegas police, they threatened to arrest you (but didn't), instead helpfully suggesting you take your complaint to the Better Business Bureau.
And you want your $155 for the lap dance back, plus the 120 bucks you shelled out for the sex act, because, after all, you were drunk and unable to enter into a coherent business agreement. Oh, yes, and $1.8 million to make it all better.
Or that's what the Las Vegas Sun reports in one of those only-in-Vegas stories. The paper says Hubert Blackman, a student from New York City, filed a lawsuit earlier this month stemming from the Dec. 17 incident. He said he called Las Vegas Exclusive Personals to hire an exotic dancer to come to his room and strip. She offered to perform a sex act, which he paid for, but stayed only half of the hour he alleges they agreed on.
When the company wouldn't refund his money, Blackman called police, who reminded him prostitution is illegal and told him he could be arrested. Then they advised contacting the BBB to complain, Blackman told the Sun.
Upon returning home, Blackman filed suit (without the aid of an attorney), alleging the incident caused a mental condition for which he needs treatment.
In an interview, Blackman told the Sun that the dancer solicited him, but said he knew prostitution is illegal in Sin City.
The Sun reports the escort service said it notifies potential customers who say they're looking for sex that prostitution is illegal in Clark County.
On Saturday, a stranger showed up at a political rally for U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) and opened fire with a handgun. Rep. Giffords was shot in the head and critically wounded, but survived. Six bystanders were killed and fourteen were wounded.
My immediate thoughts upon hearing the news were, “This is America. This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen here.”
Yes, I know. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, as was President John Kennedy. But that’s “ancient history”.
Yes, an attempt was made on President Ronald Reagan’s life during my senior year in high school. That summer I had the honor of meeting the secret service agent who took a bullet for his President.
After that event, Tim McCarthy's wife made him take a desk job. He is currently chief of police in Orland Park, Illinois.
The last assassination of a U.S. Congressman was when Rep. Leo Ryan (D-California) was murdered during his investigation of Jim Jones’ cult in 1978.
But again, this is America. This kind of thing is not supposed to happen here.
Not surprisingly, the “talking heads” on television were quick to jump on the Giffords story. Even quicker to start assigning blame. News anchors, pundits, self-proclaimed “experts” and bloggers immediately took to their respective media to air their knee-jerk assessments.
“It’s Sarah Palin’s fault.” “It’s the Tea Party’s fault.” “It’s the fault of the vitriol of the polarized political climate in which we are currently living.”
Did I just write that?
Even Jon Stewart laid aside the “funny” of his Comedy Central broadcast on Monday night to work through his own unique angst.
And it seems to be contagious. For example, you won’t find a single photo of a bikini-clad female in this edition of “Banana Winds”.
Of course, one Congressman has already (predictably) presented a bill for gun control, because obviously, one can’t shoot a Congressman if one doesn’t legally own a gun.
Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee), on the other hand, has applied for a handgun carry permit.
But who should we blame this tragedy on?
Blame it on the First Amendment and our right of free speech. In America we have the right to say what we want, even if it inadvertently brings harm to another. We simply defend ourselves by saying, “I didn’t mean for someone to shoot her.”
"Oops! My Bad!"
Blame it on the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms. I don’t know why someone needs a 31-cartridge extended clip for their handgun, but he has that right.
Blame the Constitution if you need a scapegoat, but please don’t change it. It is fine the way it is. We just need to read it – thank you, Mr. Speaker – and understand it.
As participants in this great experiment called Democracy, we are called to a high standard of responsibility and accountability, a yearning for freedom and a passion to protect the freedom of everyone. Laws alone cannot provide this. It has to come from within us.
Frankly, I don’t know why the shooter did what he did. And we won’t know until we talk to him.
And we might not even know then if he’s as crazy as some say he is.
The reality is, there is no single cause for what the shooter did. If life’s problems were that easy, there would be no poverty, no illnesses, and this tragedy never would have happened.
For all we know, this poor, misguided soul may have been carrying around a grudge against his second grade teacher, who happened to look like Rep. Giffords. After 15 years of pent-up anger over one-too-many “time outs”, he finally loses control.
-Maybe he had just been dumped by his girlfriend who resembled the Congresswoman. -Maybe he had just been laid off by a female boss. -Maybe he just went off his meds and didn’t know what he was doing. -Maybe it was all the above and more.
Don’t read this as me being sympathetic toward the shooter. I am not. What he did was inexcusable – crazy or not! And I have intentionally not shown his face or mentioned him by name here because he doesn't deserve the publicity.
But baseless finger-pointing at the Right by the Left will only cause the Right to dig in their heels deeper. This holds true in the reverse as well. In fact, the only person who gets to point his finger is this guy:
Unfortunately, right now he's too distraught to point.
Until a reasonable assessment of the shooter’s state of mind can be made by professionals in the field, the rest of us should exercise our often-ignored Right to Remain Silent.
If you feel the need to do something, take a moment and pray for the families of the victims – even for the family of the shooter. His parents are reportedly distraught by what their son has done.
Also take a moment to pray for the crazies of Westboro Baptist Church, who will be picketing the funerals of the victims of the shooting.
Back from our annual Christmas trip to southern California. As expected, air travel keeps getting worse and worse.
Let me state at the outset – I AM NOT A TERRORIST!
Those things I said and did in college should not be held against me! That was 30 years ago!
Besides, the anti-war protests were peaceful demonstrations. I am a Conscientious Objector, not a suicide bomber!
Yet, somehow I got on a “List”. Maybe because my middle name is “Mohammed”.
We discovered this on Christmas Eve when Karen was unable to download my boarding pass for our Christmas Day flight. I would have to check-in at the airport, the Delta website explained.
When we arrived at the airport, the self-check machine demanded I scan my passport!
Yes, I was carrying my passport. There was a possibility we were going to make contact with Argentinian rebels do some shopping in Tijuana while in the area.
But the computer rejected my passport!
It took about 15 minutes for the Delta employee to get the computer straightened out and to put a boarding pass in my hand.
Then on to the much-anticipated TSA inspection.
When I travel I wear comfortable, baggy clothes. I have been pulled out of line and patted down once before because of this – despite successfully passing through the metal detector, so this time I was ready. The TSA agent said I could remove the baggy, hooded sweatshirt or be patted down. I weighed the pleasures and benefits of each, then took off my hoodie.
But nearby, a couple of young ladies were not so lucky. As I was collecting my belongings from the X-ray machine, I noticed the TSA had pulled out two attractive young women – probably 18 and 20 years old – for a pat-down.
This struck me as odd, for several reasons: 1) The two were traveling with Dad, Mom and two little brothers… not really the M.O. of terrorists. 2) They had passed through the metal detector without incident. 3) They had voluntarily stripped down to T-shirt, leggings and socks to pass through inspection. Even my untrained eye could tell they weren’t concealing weapons!
Not that I was looking, of course!
4) The pat-down was being conducted right out there for everyone to see.
I did notice that this Christmas many women chose to wear boots, tights and a short, easily-removed sweater-dress for airline flights.
Is it just the fashion right now, or are we moving toward the sci-fi inspired future I predicted in a blog a few years back, that one day we will all be expected to don white, skin-tight stretch suits to board airplanes?
BTW, it’s a look that works for some, but not for everyone!
Note to self: “Go to the gym when you get off work this afternoon.”
Second note to self: “Buy a full-length mirror.”
But we arrived at our destination safely and on schedule. “Welcome to sunny, southern California!”
Weather forcast: cold and rainy for the next two weeks!
More about the actual vacation later. This blog is about the joys of air travel.
On the return from LAX, the Delta computers still did not have me down as a “friendly”. But oddly, the TSA inspection was even simpler. The LAX airport has the new imaging machines.
Yes, somewhere in cyberspace there is probably a blurry X-ray snapshot of my “junk”, but who cares?!? If that turns your crank, you’re a sick little puppy!
Yeah, I know. Calling you a “sick little puppy” probably turned your crank too!
We passed quickly through the inspection, and then a brief conversation ensued:
Dave: “That’s it?”
Karen: “What was the big deal?”
We returned safely home on New Year’s Day. I was on our scheduled flight; Karen took a later flight to get a bonus payment for giving up her seat on the over-booked flight.
Unfortunately, an inconsiderate, wide-bodied, foreign man occupied what would have been her seat… and part of mine… and part of the other seat as well!
Little known factoid: At the same time the flying public is steadily growing fatter, airlines seats are growing smaller.
Coincidence? I think not!
I suppose I should check with the TSA or Homeland Security or somebody to find out why I’m on their “List”.
Who knows? May there’s something in my past I have forgotten… or can’t reveal…