Tokyo (AFP) From lonely pensioners to Japanese schoolgirls with shattered dreams, Takanobu Nishimoto and his crew of middle-aged men will lend an ear to clients who would never dream of spilling their guts to a therapist or worse, their families.

Anyone in need of company can sign up to his online service to rent an “ossan” — a man aged between 45 and 55 — for 1,000 yen ($10) an hour.

“For me, the service is a hobby more than anything,” says Nishimoto, who first came up with the concept four years ago and who now has a growing network of some 60 men across Japan. …

“There’s a different ‘me’ depending on whether I’m with my friends, my family, or my boyfriend,” says 24-year-old Nodoka Hyodo after her session with Nishimoto.

I’ve missed my calling. Up until now I thought I was suited to writing, sports radio and stand-up comedy. But that was before I found out you can get paid to listen to women vent about their problems. Which is something I’ve been doing most of my adult life for free.

First of all, I completely understand the age requirement to be a Rent Man. Sure, if you’re under the age of 45 you might think you know how to listen to women, but you don’t. That is a skill that takes a lot of flight hours. And until you reach that age there is no way you’ve logged enough time in the cockpit to understand the finer points.

Not to give away trade secrets, but I know that earlier in my career I used to make the common mistake of talking with a woman about her problems. Trying to work through them. Offer advice. Look for solutions. Which us utterly futile. “Well, if Susan doesn’t know that Kelley took credit for your work, maybe you should ask for a meeting and talk to them both directly?” and stuff like that.

Seriously, looking back, I shudder to think I could have been so green as to think that could work. But it’s what inexperienced Rent Men – paid or unpaid — do. When really, the key is to say nothing other than off short list of pre-approved phrases. “Yeahhh …” “Really?” “That’s awful.” “I feel so bad for you,” and the like.

Beyond that, the hard part is occupying your brain so you can appear to be listening as you hear for the fifth time she’s repeated herself about how her mother doesn’t respect her or how rude the snotty woman in the coffee shop was. It’s a discipline that takes years to master, because if you get caught tuning out mentally, it’s curtains. Personally, I’ve mastered the art to which I’ve written entire days worth of blogs in my head while pretending to pay attention to stories about how bad the traffic was and there was no place to park.

The bottom line is that if Mr. Nishimoto ever opens a Boston branch of Rent Men, I’m his guy.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times

Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times

When Jerry Seinfeld was asked a few years ago what TV shows he watches, he said, “I don’t watch that much television. I was television.”

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s book, Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything proves this was true to some extent.

If you’re a die-hard Seinfeld fan, you probably already know all the stuff in this book. But if you’re a younger or more casual fan, or you just get off on reading about the show, then this book is for you.



The book is basically a complete history of the show. It begins with Larry David and Seinfeld realizing their funny back-and-forth in a deli could be a television show and goes all the way up to the hoopla surrounding the finale a decade later. It explains the origins of “yada yada yada,” the Soup Nazi, Susan’s death, Elaine’s “little kicks” dance, the J. Peterman Reality Tour, and even the development of the theme song.

It also details all the ways in which the show almost died on the vine and what it almost was before it was fully developed into what we know today. Elaine wasn’t even going to be a character at first and it was originally going to be called The Seinfeld Chronicles. Gag me.

Some of my favorite Seinfeld moments not mentioned in this book: When Kramer starts Kramerica Industries and hires his own intern, the whole Merv Griffin Show episode, George’s answering machine song, and one of the greatest scenes in television history: When Kramer unfolds his coffee table book about coffee tables into a coffee table.

Eventually, Seinfeld will be irrelevant to a generation so far removed it can’t relate to it at all, but the the main point of this book is the show is still a dominant force in pop culture almost thirty years after it debuted. 

Heavy on the nostalgia, this will make you want to go back and watch the show over again. When Armstrong recounts the extreme public interest in the finale and that episode’s enormous viewership, it’s easy to see how Seinfeld can make the case that he was, in fact, television.

Solid book, I’d give it a B.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that Denny Green died Friday morning at the all-too-tender age of 67. And there is no other way to pay tribute to him than with his postgame rant for the ages. It launched a thousand tributes, millions of imitations and forever added the catchphrases, “They were who we THOUGHT they were,” and, “You wanna crown ’em? Then crown their ass!” to the lexicon.

He was a disappointed coach, indeed. But he didn’t disappoint us. Good night, sweet prince. RIP.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton


In case you’re unaware, San Diego Comic-Con is going on right now. It’s like the Geek National Convention times the Nerd Super Bowl to power of Fanboy/girl Coachella. Crowds of 130,000 are expected to nerd out and get the first look at dozens of new Hollywood releases. Going to SDCC is right near the top of my Bucket List, while I sit instead blogging on my back deck on the South Shore. But that’s a rant for another time.

What this blog is about is Oliver Stone kicking off the convention with one of the most Oliver Stoney conspiracy theories of all time. He’s there to promote his new movie “Snowden.” Bear in mind that it is unusual for a straight, non-sci fi/fantasy/comic book film to appear at Comic-Con. And when one apparent gamer decided he needed Stone’s take on “Pokemon Go,” he did not disappoint:

“It’s a new level of invasion. Nobody has ever seen, in the history of the world, something like Google, ever. It’s the fastest-growing business ever, and they have invested huge amounts of money into what surveillance is, which is data-mining. They’re data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what it is you like, and above all, your behavior.”

“Pokemon Go kicks into that. It’s everywhere. It’s what some people call surveillance capitalism. It’s the newest stage. You’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you. It’s what they call totalitarianism.”

So there you have it. Straight from the mouth of the man who told us how the CIA, Lyndon Johnson and/or defense contractors killed JFK. You might think you’re harmlessly catching Pikachus and Charizards. But, in fact, it’s an invasion where you’re really under surveillance, getting data-mined AF and being turned into robots by a totalitarian entity of some sort. Got it.

It’s just too bad this guy who got tazed by the cops for refusing to leave a park after closing because he was looking for Pokemon didn’t hear Stone’s rant first. It could have saved him a lot of aggravation:


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Le'Veon Bell

Le’Veon Bell

The Steelers could be without running back Le’Veon Bell for the first four games of the season. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Bell missed a drug test, which triggered the suspension. Bell has appealed, but no date has been set for the appeal hearing.

Bell was suspended for the first three games of last season after he was arrested for marijuana possession and DUI in the summer of 2014, but he ended up only missing the first two games after an appeal. Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (then a member of the Steelers) was with Bell during the 2014 incident and also was arrested and suspended one game by the league.

Between the suspension and then a season-ending MCL injury, Bell played just six games last season, rushing 113 times for 556 yards and three touchdowns, while catching 24 passes for 136 yards.

DeAngelo Williams and Fitzgerald Toussaint figure to be getting the carries if Bell is out. Williams ran for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, his first in Pittsburgh after nine years in Carolina. Toussaint saw spot duty in five games last season, his first with the Steelers after appearing in four games with the Ravens as a rookie in 2014.

The Steelers — expected to be the Patriots’ biggest challenger in the AFC — already will be without receiver Martavis Bryant for the entire season because of a substance-abuse policy violation.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

Late Thursday night, Major Lazer released “Cold Water,” a summer anthem candidate featuring Justin Bieber and MØ on vocals.

Long story short, it’s great and it brings to light one interesting point: All three of these artists might have set the bar impossibly for projects involving one another. “Cold Water” is going to be played nonstop for the next two to six months, yet it isn’t even close to the best of what’s become a growing list of hits made involving at least two of Diplo, Bieber and MØ. That’s absolutely fine.

The creme de la creme is “Where are U Now,” which Diplo and Skrillex put out last summer as Jack U with Bieber. Right up there with it is “Lean On” from Major Lazer (of which Diplo is one third), MØ and DJ Snake. Not to be forgotten, however, is MØ and Diplo’s “Kamikaze” or “XXX 88,” the first song the two did together.

“Cold Water” is going to be gigantic because Diplo, Bieber and MØ have become the James Franco, Seth Rogen and (insert third “Freaks and Geeks” cast member) of pop music: People just want them to do stuff together and it’s going to be beloved no matter. It’s also written by Ed Sheeran and Benny Blanco, with whom Bieber had major success on last year’s “Love Yourself.”

Much like “Love Yourself,” this song kind of plays it down the middle. There’s no mucked-up-Bieber-turned-dolphin-sounding hook like in “Where Are U Now.” There’s no immediately memorable riff like in “Lean On” or “Kamikaze.” In fact, there’s no break at all from the first chorus to the second verse or from the second chorus to the bridge. In that respect, production and dance breaks can’t carry the day the way they can in so many of Diplo’s hits. Bieber’s vocal performance has to support the song and absolutely does. This is maybe 100 times the performance that he turns in on “Where Are U Now,” a far superior song.

In fact, MO’s bridge might actually be the most “produced”-sounding part of the song. Often times artists sound better with other singers providing harmonies. Diplo knows MØ’s voice is too unique for that method, so what you get is a bridge dripping wet with MØ’s vocals. It’s the best part of the song.

The lack of shiny objects in “Cold Water” isn’t necessarily a bad thing — it just means it’s not going to blow you away on the early listens. Yet it also means that this crew is capable of moving even closer to formulaic Top 40 and it working, because this song 100 percent works.

In summary, Diplo + Bieber, MØ or both of them = fire flames city. You’ll enjoy your weekend because these three just made damn sure of it.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Former rock jock Gary Tanguay channels his radio past to attempt to "hit the post" of several classic soft rock favorites as Minihane eggs him on.
Somewhat reluctantly, Kirk and Gary take calls on who would start a one-game playoff for the Red Sox right now between Steven Wright, Rick Porcello and David Price

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The 8am hour stays off the rails with Kirk and Gary discussing Ken the producer's sex life and how attractive women find them

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Kirk Minihane and Gary Tanguay tackle the Friday 'Headlines' with FoxNews CEO Roger Ailes officially out among Gary Tanguay's sexual past.