Here’s some more things rarely seen lately:

FUNNY SITUATION COMEDIES: While excellent sitcoms were always few and far between, it’s been years now since “Seinfeld” closed up shop. Not everybody loved Raymond, and that was the most popular of the recent really bad lot. The newer ones are all must-not-see TV, with no honorable mentions. Looks like it’s up to cable TV and Larry David’s “Curb your Enthusiasm” to carry the ball. Incidentally, Larry David was the co-creator of “Seinfeld.” The rest of them are pretty feeble attempts. 

FUNNY AMERICAN MOVIE STARS: Did Steve Martin retire? Are Jim Carey and Adam Sandler the best we can do?  Even Jerry Lewis was subtle compared to these two dimwits. With one movie, Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” provided more laugh-out-loud scenes and thought provoking comedy than the entire careers of these two $20 million a picture hacks. Yet another industry where America is lagging behind foreign imports.

WILD MAN ROCK STARS: The Corporatization of Everything has claimed yet another set of victims: wild man rock stars and the fans of their daring and joyful music. Who are these mild mannered milquetoast imposters calling themselves rock stars these days? Is Kid Rock the only maniac selling any records left in the business? Once the corporations get their hands on any art form, you can pretty much guarantee a bland output that offends nobody. The hell with that! Offend away! This is rock & roll here, suit boys, not selling soap or soup. If Elvis was hired by a corporation, he’d have been Pat Boone. And has there been any 10 of these interchangeable corporate stars in recent years who have given us anything approaching Jim Hendrix’ blatant sonic challenge to the world to think about music in a new way? Not all of them rolled into one. The great ones these days are coming up through new networks and distribution schemes having nothing to do with programming formats or marketing demographics, or pleasing any common denominators. They’re just playing the music they hear inside their heads and the hell with anything else. True rock and rollers have no choice in the matter, and the music is all that matters to them, and that’s that.

BLAME: It seems that nobody’s wrong these days, and everybody has an alibi for something lousy they’ve done. Oh, they admit it all right, but deny any wrongdoing, however that’s supposed to work. Either they had deprived childhoods, watched too much TV, played too many violent video games or have some version of one of those newly minted syndromes describing their short attention spans, and so are not technically guilty of anything. Even the CEOs who nearly ruined the world’s financial industries are saying they are not to blame because they all caught something called REDD, short for Responsibility Deficit Disorder, or the color of the ink in which their balance sheets are printed. And people are buying it too, along with their bad debts. Odds are “getting some counseling” will be the extent of their punishment for blowing hundreds of billions of dollars of other people’s hard earned. Can we at least get a “My bad” here? Or better yet, sentence them all to 15 minutes in a room with a few of their stockholders and foreclosure victims.

COOL LOOKING CARS: Okay, we’ve got to pimp our wheels with green technology, get super gas mileage, get the hybrid on and all that good stuff that we need to do for ourselves and the planet. We’re all on the same page there. But does every car have to look identically nondescript? What ever happened to fins? Air scoops? How about whitewalls? And if you have to ask what are whitewalls, get in your sensible mid-sized sedan or mini-van and go someplace boring, willya? Used to be just the mention of the name Pontiac conjured up adrenaline-fueled visions. Ford Thunderbirds and Mustangs, Chevy Super Sports and Camaros, Buick Skylarks, those were cars! How do young guys get babes nowadays driving Corollas and Escorts? It’s a crisis of very uncool proportions, and yet the government does nothing about it.

KIDS PLAYING UNSUPERVISED: An increasingly rare sight is a bunch of children playing games together, choosing up their own sides and settling their own disputes with no adult supervision. Or just doing nothing together, maybe staring at clouds or balancing a stick on their noses or something equally kid-like. Dumb stuff like only kids can invent. The kind of dumb stuff that prepares us for the world, forces us to use our imaginations and develop our people skills. It’s hard to imagine a play date being much fun or even a tiny bit spontaneous. Then you add one of those perky activities director type of parents into the mix and you have yourself one orchestrated, annoying and dull-ass afternoon, and more than a little creepy. Where’s the magic of being a kid these days?

PEACE AND PROSPERITY: Not much news out there on any imminent breakout of world peace. You have to figure that would make headlines somewhere, or at the very least be an amusing intro to the weather report. While there are no really gigantic wars going on, there is instead the slower death of a thousand cuts. And speaking of death, while these small wars are raging, 36,000 people die every single day, not from any hostilities, but from having no food to eat, a far slower and more tortuous death than getting blown up or shot. That’s not exactly any sort of peaceful situation either, for all its grim silence. Nor does that register anywhere on the news radar. Fat guys having to get cut out of their mobile homes because they can’t fit through the door is bigger news.

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