Sunday, December 17, 2017

Musical Interlude: You're Only Lonely (1979)

Singer-songwriter J. D. Souther hit the top of the Adult Contemporary chart, and peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 with 1979's "You're Only Lonely". Souther's vocals here were influenced by Roy Orbison, and I'd imagine there were some that, without knowing it was Souther, may have thought Orbison had started his chart comeback sooner than he did.....

Classic TV: Newhart (1982)

Four years after his first CBS sitcom ended, Bob Newhart returned with another sitcom, this one being more successful than the first.

Newhart ran for 9 seasons (1982-90), as opposed to 6 for The Bob Newhart Show (1972-8). This time, Newhart plays Dick Loudon, a successful author who relocates with his wife (Mary Frann) from New York to Vermont to take charge of an inn. Aside from the locale being different, the fact that the lead characters had moved from New York wasn't new (Green Acres).

However, there were some tweaks and changes. For starters, Kirk, the owner of a neighboring inn (Steven Kampmann), was written out after the 2nd season. Denise, the maid, left after the first season, with her cousin taking her place. At the end of the 2nd season, Loudon becomes a local talk show host, in addition to his other duties running the Stratford Inn. In hindsight, this was an even better fit for Newhart's Everyman persona.

But, in a creative decision similar to an infamous episode of another CBS series, Dallas, the final episode in 1990 revealed that the entire series was a 9 year dream of Newhart's previous TV alter-ego, Bob Hartley, in Chicago, with then-on-screen wife Suzanne Pleshette a special surprise guest. The only other link between the two series was series regular Tom Poston, who filled the time between Newhart's two shows by landing a supporting role on Mork & Mindy.

The fan-favorite trio of Larry, Darryl, & Darryl wouldn't debut until the 3rd season, and won't be seen in this first season Christmas episode, which has parallels to a certain Nativity story......

Rating: B.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tigers vs. Horses: Kingston @ Troy (boys' basketball), 12/16/17

There is a natural progression in team sports when it comes to the frequency of games. We're accustomed to seeing NBA basketball teams play as many as 3-4 games per week during a regular season that stretches over 7 months (October-April). College teams will play a maximum of 3 regular season games a week. High schools usually have 2.

It's only the first month of the high school season, but it could be argued that some teams may be dealing with sudden fatigue. For example, Saratoga's women's team has played three games in four days, counting a matinee home game today. For another, tonight's non-league home game vs. Kingston was the third for the Troy High boys team in five days.

Unfortunately for coach Greg Davis, fatigue may have been a fatal factor. He dressed only 10 players, as seniors Joe Casale & Avery Curley sat out in street clothes, seemingly healthy scratches. Kiasone Loadholt, a junior, was absent, perhaps injured. That meant more minutes for some of the bench players who otherwise wouldn't be called on so often.

Despite the manpower shortage, Troy ran out to an early lead on Kingston in the first quarter, forcing coach Ron Kelder to call a timeout. He adjusted his defense, going to a heavy pressure defense for much of the game. This strategy seemed to work, as the Tigers contested just about everything. In contrast, no matter what Troy tried, the Flying Horses couldn't contain Kingston's Damani Thomas, who led all scorers with 27 points. Similarly, Mohonasen's Duncan Tallman burned Troy for 33 points in a losing effort last night. Chris Wright, held to 2 points in the first half, came to life in the second half, scoring 24 in all, to back up Thomas. It was Wright who forced overtime with a key three pointer in the 4th quarter.

The extra session, unfortunately for Troy, was the final nail in the coffin. Tyquan Watson's only points of the night came on the eventual game winner, and Kingston outscored Troy, 12-6, in overtime to come away with a 76-70 win, snapping Troy's three-game winning streak. Nazaire Merritt led Troy with 20 points. Alonzo Alexander had 15, but only 2 after halftime, and Latyce Faison had 14.

Things will get back to normal for Troy on Tuesday, as Averill Park comes to town. The Warriors may be looking for a little payback, since they were blown out of the building the last time they came to Troy 2 seasons ago. Just two nights later, the boys will travel to Schenectady to play the Patriots in the last game before the Christmas break. Oh, by the way, they'll be visiting Kingston next month in a return match. If tonight was any indicator, the rematch should be even more intense.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Celebrity Rock: In The Jailhouse Now (2000)

By all rights, "In The Jailhouse Now" should've been the 2nd single off the soundtrack CD for "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", and perhaps it was, but until recently, I hadn't seen the video.

Tim Blake Nelson (Delmar in the movie) does his own singing on this track. "Jailhouse" had previously been recorded by the likes of Jimmie Rodgers, Webb Pierce, & Johnny Cash, among others.

High School this 'n' that

Troy High's bowling team snapped a very long losing streak, dating back at least 2 years, in defeating Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 17-15, on Thursday. This year's team is co-ed, as the school doesn't have a separate girls team for the sport. If I'm not mistaken, this may in fact be their first win since entering the Suburban Council 2 seasons ago. Here's to hoping this starts them on the up-swing.
Inclement weather forced postponement of several events, largely involving Saratoga County schools (i.e. Burnt Hills, Shenendehowa), on Tuesday. Shen & Saratoga rescheduled their basketball games for the next day, with both the women's & men's games under the same roof. Saratoga swept both games, with the boys' game marred by a scuffle between the two teams in the 4th quarter that has resulted in a total of seven players (3 for Saratoga, 4 for Shen) suspended for tonight's games. Yes. it's early in the season, but Shen has already lost a game apiece on both the boys' & girls' ledgers.
Wednesday was not a good day for Shen, it seems. The skating Plainsmen dropped a 3-0 decision to LaSalle in the Cadets' home opener, extending Shen's hockey losing streak to 3. LaSalle squares its record at 2-2 (1-1 in league play), and will visit Shaker-Colonie on Saturday night before returning home to play Queensbury next Friday night. After that, the defending Section II champs will defend their title in the Mohawks tournament at Union College.
There doesn't appear to be any plans for Troy High to host a holiday basketball tournament this year. The Flying Horses have not fared well in their own tourney the last two years, as the women finished last in the 2015-16 edition, while the boys had the same thing happen last year. Apparently, this explains why the boys have three non-league weekend games on the calendar this year, starting with tomorrow's home game vs. Kingston. We'll see what the attendance looks like, depending on whether or not any of the local papers acknowledge the game's even taking place. The onus for that, of course, is also on athletic director Paul Reinisch to supply the local press with the schedules. If he can't find the time to do so, then it should be a matter of either parents and/or alumni to help.
I have to stress this yet again. While it's great that Troy does have some non-league games on the docket for both men & women this season, and the ladies will host Lansingburgh next month on a Monday night, weather permitting, of course, I think there's still a remote possibility of reviving the long dormant Uncle Sam Basketball tournament, this time for both men & women.

As of now, Troy is on the outside looking in when it comes to in-city rivalries. There are some territorial rivalries in the Suburban Council (Averill Park, Columbia), plus the traditional home-&-home series with Albany & Schenectady (and for the boys, CBA), but what about bragging rights to the city itself? Lansingburgh, LaSalle, & Catholic Central all play in the Colonial Council, and will see each other twice a year. On the women's side, you could sub Emma Willard, which plays in the Central Hudson Valley League, as does Heatly, but both of those schools are in lower classes than Troy, which is in Class AA, along with LaSalle and Catholic Central (Lansingburgh is a B school this year).

Because of the football team's success in recent years, a boys tournament would be next to impossible to pull off. A women's Uncle Sam tournament, though? Different story, and one that can be done if Reinisch and his counterparts at Lansingburgh, CCHS, and either Emma Willard or Heatly can agree to it. Troy tested the waters in women's soccer last year, hosting Heatly on Senior Night, and a JV game vs. Emma Willard. Can't see why not in other sports.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On The Air: Happy! (2017)

You know that SyFy is entering the comic book-to-television arena, but before Krypton hits the air, presumably next year, their first entry adapts an Image Comics miniseries.

Happy!, then, is not based on the Pharrell Williams hit from a couple of years back. Instead, the title character is a blue CGI unicorn, an imaginary friend to a little girl who's been kidnapped. Realizing his friend needs help, Happy (voice of Patton Oswalt) recruits ex-cop-turned-assassin Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni, ex-Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) to do his legwork for him.

Happy! comes from the whimsical, warped pen of Scottish writer Grant Morrison, who, with artist Darick Robertson, produced the miniseries for Image a few years back. No, he's not crossing Dr. Seuss with Looney Tunes in developing the title character, who gets lost in the midst of all the splatter and violence. I thought the producers were being clever (Morrison & Meloni both get an executive producer credit) by using what looked like a dated photo of a clean shaven Meloni from his SVU days on a mock front page of the New York Post in the opener. Like, that trenchcoat looked awfully familiar, for starters.

I'd show yoiu the opener, since SyFy has a YouTube channel, but because of coarse language, we'll settle instead for a trailer.

Oswalt (also heard on Cartoon Network's Justice League Action) wasn't the first choice to play Happy. Bobby Moynihan (Me, Myself, & I, DuckTales, ex-Saturday Night Live) had recorded the pilot, but the producers made a change once the series was green-lit, probably after Moynihan had landed the other series.

At least Happy! takes Meloni down a familiar path, but he doesn't have the morals of being a police officer holding his character back this time.

Rating: B--.

Musical Interlude: Too Much Passion (1991)

New Jersey's The Smithereens brought out some retro-60's style pop on 1991's "Too Much Passion", off the CD, "Blow Up".

Ya know, this might be the theme for serial Lotharios like a certain President, don't ya think?

In memory of singer-songwriter Pat DiNizio, who passed away Wednesday at 62.