Saturday, June 23, 2018

Musical Interlude: Silly Love Songs (1976)

Paul McCartney and Wings topped the pop charts in 1976 with the bouncy, disco-tinged "Silly Love Songs", off the "Wings at The Speed of Sound" album.

McCartney would re-record "Silly" as a solo track nearly a decade later for his film, "Give My Regards to Broad Street".

Friday, June 22, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

Shenendehowa graduate Kevin Huerter knew he was taking a risk by declaring for the NBA draft after his sophomore season at Maryland. Thursday night, Huerter became the first Section 2 graduate since Jimmer Fredette to be drafted, as he went to Atlanta in the first round. Given that so few players from this region have made it into the NBA, period, one wonders if the Hawks will actually give Huerter a chance to start, something his father, Tom, Sr., never had coming out of Siena years ago. As Rodger Wyland wrote in today's Albany Times-Union, the Hawks are not expected to be a contender next season, but ya just never know........
Speaking of the Times-Union, their coverage of the Tri-City Valleycats consists of a mix of game coverage and puff pieces about selected players on a day-to-day basis. I am guessing that this practice, which has been in place for a few years now, is to save space for national items in the sports section, but that's just me. The 'Cats are 4-3 after a week's play, and will continue their series with Lowell tonight. Tomorrow? With rain in the forecast, I wouldn't count on it.......
Troy High's 2-time state football champions have been recognized by the city in a few different ways. The latest of which was to have signs posted in downtown on Thursday, in much the same way other teams from other schools have gotten similar recognition in recent years. With the seniors from the 2017 team graduating on Sunday, El Cheapo Media finally got to talk to outgoing senior Matt Ashley, who will stay in the hometown, playing his college ball at RPI.

Mayor Patrick Madden gave the school some lip service, perhaps unaware of the ongoing press embargo between the school and El Cheapo Media. If Madden doesn't run again, he could take on a second job as a celebrity lookalike. Like, he could take some heat off Dr. Phil, don't you think?
WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon has gotten raked over the coals by critics over the years, including ye scribe, for a number of things, including his fetish for big men. Now, it seems he also has more of an interest in making sure his women's champions are blondes. It's an image thing, you see, with the belief that these young, attractive women are more marketable to Madison Avenue than someone on the order of, say for example, Japan's Asuka, who was made to look like a fool twice in three nights earlier this week.

Most of us expected Asuka to defeat Carmella (real name: Leah VanDale) for the Smackdown women's title. However, indie star James Ellsworth was recalled, and got involved in the match, helping his on-again, off-again storyline lover retain the title.

The fact that Carmella resorted to cheating shouldn't really be a surprise, considering that VanDale was a New England Patriots cheerleader about a decade ago before swapping her pom poms for leotards & tights. It's the culture that comes with the "Patriot Way", or so it'd seem.

Meanwhile, the experiment with Nia Jax, a cousin to current star Roman Reigns (Joe Anoia) and former champion turned movie star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, as Raw women's champ, ended with Alexa Bliss (Lexi Kaufman) regaining the title after winning the women's Money in The Bank briefcase on Sunday. Bliss is another one who's been overprotected by WWE Uncreative, as during her last title run, she didn't defend the title on free TV. Commentators on a couple of message boards I frequent weren't digging, believing that Bliss has gone stale.

The truth is, WWE blew a golden opportunity with Jax & Reigns back at Wrestlemania in April. Were it not for another obsession of McMahon's, Reigns could've beaten Brock Lesnar for the Universal title. However, with McMahon bent on removing CM Punk (Philip Brooks) from the WWE record books, Lesnar was allowed to keep the title. That should change, as rumors persist that Lesnar could leave following Summerslam. Were it not for McMahon, Jax & Reigns could've had the stage to themselves, much in the same way the late Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero did in 2004, and current movie stars John Cena & Dave Bautista did the following year.
We close on a sad note. As reported over at Saturday Morning Archives earlier this week, former WCW & IWGP champion Big Van Vader (Leon White) passed away on Monday at 63. While he wasn't treated with any semblance of respect in WWE during his brief time there (1996-8), it's a shock that White isn't already in the Hall of Fame. That should change, perhaps as early as next year. We'll leave you with one of Big Van Vader's early appearances in WCW, from December 1990.

While with WWE, Vader became a supporting character on ABC's Boy Meets World. White portrayed Francis Albert Leslie Stecchino, Sr., father of Frankie, one of the school bullies (Ethan Suplee), and appeared in at least 3 episodes.  Rest in peace, Leon.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What defines President Trump's immigration laws? Lies and shame

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to put an end to families being separated by immigration officials when undocumented immigrants are set to be deported to their native lands. There's been so much outcry over children being separated from their parents, so much so that Trump was forced to reverse field on his faux tough guy stance on immigration.

See, here's the thing. If a Mexican citizen wants to relocate to the US, instead of trying to cross the borders without proper documentation, he/she needs to go to the nearest US Embassy, and request asylum in the US. Too many immigrants choose to take the shorter route, crossing the borders illegally, seeking a new life, unaware that there is a safer way on their own turf, if you will. We do have an ambassador to Mexico, you know.

With so many undocumented immigrants working and living over here, establishing residency with green cards for so long, emigrating from Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico, etc., it is no wonder that federal immigration officials are being villified for trying to do their jobs, especially when they don't have all the facts before them.

Trump has openly lied about Germany's immigration system, claiming crime has risen, when it's actually the reverse. Germany's crime rate is lower than that of the US. No wonder German chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to have issues with Trump a couple of weeks back. When you are dealing with a President whose best friend is the nearest camera, well......!

Naturally, Trump's lies about just about everything make him fodder for late night talk shows. NBC's Seth Meyers, for example, mixes comedy with hard news in his A Closer Look feature on Late Night. A Closer Look, in truth, is simply a variation on Saturday Night Live's long running Weekend Update segment, which Meyers anchored at one time. Earlier this week, Meyers skewered the President as well as this week's Weasel of the Week, Corey Lewandowski.......

Lewandowski tried backpedaling on his remarks about a 10 year old girl with Down's Syndrome, claiming his remarks were directed at the Democrats.

BOLLOCKS & BALDERDASH! Just like Trump, Lewandowski refused to cop to the truth, disrespecting a young girl because of her condition. Please. Open mouth, insert both feet, Mr. Lewandowski, and enjoy the Weasel ears.

Back to the undocumented immigrants. The simple solution works like this:

1. If you know how to find the US Embassy in your home country, go there, and ask for asylum. They'll take care of the paperwork for you and/or your family if you're not happy with your present situation.

2. Once in the US, apply for citizenship, again with help from the proper authorities. Ellis Island, home of the Statue of Liberty, would be a good place to start.

Alas, too many people sneak across the border because they don't have the patience or time to find the embassy to address the problems they're having at home. While Trump plays Ugly American to stir up his fan base of Archie Bunker wannabes, he also demonstrates over and over again how ignorant he is of our own rules and regulations. You've heard the phrase, the blind leading the blind? It's never more true than now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

On The Air: Celebrity Undercover Boss (2018)

Eight years ago, CBS introduced Undercover Boss, in which employers posed as prospective employees to observe the day-to-day operations of their own businesses. This year, the seasonal hit has spawned a celebrity edition, which bowed last month.

Celebrity Undercover Boss is filling MacGyver's space on Fridays for a few weeks. So far, former NFL star Deion Sanders and singer-songwriter Jewel have been featured. On June 15, WWE heiress Stephanie McMahon took her turn.

Adopting the identity of internet journalist Samantha Miles, Stephanie interviews the family of a pediatric cancer patient, a photographer who lost a leg in the military, and an aspiring wrestler whose goal was to become the first openly gay WWE champion. The episode was recorded late last year, while Jeff Hardy, now the US champion, was on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Hardy, Big Show, and the since released Big Cass appear briefly prior to the final reveal.

The episode is currently available On Demand (check with your cable service), and on the CBS app & website. All I can say is, have a box of Kleenex handy at the end of the show. As reruns of Undercover Boss are airing on OWN and other outlets, it won't surprise anyone if the celebrity edition follows suit.

Here's an excerpt.

Not sure about this, but what might've been a precursor to this episode, in particular, was WWE CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon doing some undercover work of his own on the WWE Network series, Swerved, last year. Vince & Triple H appear briefly at the start of this show.

Rating: A.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Modern Classic (?): Sister, Sister (1994)

Imagine, if you will, an inner-city remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap". Twin sisters, brought together after being separated at birth.

Motown executive Suzanne DePasse must've been a fan, because she came up with that urban remake in 1994.

Sister, Sister started off as a mid-season replacement at ABC as part of their Friday block in the spring of 1994. A year later, the show was cancelled after two seasons due to declining ratings. The fledgling WB network took a chance, and, once again, Sister, Sister was a mid-season replacement. This time, however, it was a hit, at least by WB standards.

The show was a star vehicle for twin sisters Tia & Tamera Mowry, so there was no need for trick photography, unlike in the two "Parent Trap" films (Hayley Mills, and, later, Lindsay Lohan), or, in The Patty Duke Show, where Duke played twin cousins. Tim Reid (ex-WKRP in Cincinnati, Simon & Simon, etc.) and Jackee Harry (ex-227) were the parents.

Cable reruns have aired on ABC Family (now Freeform) and MTV2, among other places.

Let's take a look at a sample episode.

The twins' brother, Tahj, made a few appearances, the last of which was a crossover with his own series, Smart Guy, which we'll look at another time. Tia & Tamera have kept busy in recent years, and there's word that Sister, Sister may be the latest to be revived or rebooted.

Rating: B.

Sports this 'n' that

After a day off on Monday (they probably would've been rained out otherwise), the Albany Dutchmen travel to Glens Falls tonight, with first place on the line. The Dutchmen are coming off a brutal 10-2 loss to Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon at Siena College, and are now tied with Glens Falls at 7-5 in one division of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

In contrast, the Tri-City Valleycats are in Aberdeen, Maryland for a series with the Ironbirds, the Baltimore affiliate of the NY-Penn League, owned by former Orioles star Cal Ripken, Jr.. The 'Cats snapped a 2-game losing streak Monday with a 6-1 win in the series opener. Tri-City returns home for a quick 3-set with Lowell on Thursday night before going back on the road.

Interesting scheduling quirk this year in that the 'Cats are home on Friday & Saturday each of the first four weekends, and only have two other home weekend series. Both Camp Day matinees are in July this year, as opposed to having one each in July & August.
While I've not been able to ascertain the entirety of Troy High's football schedule in Class A for 2018, what I do know is that they have Schalmont, Amsterdam, & Averill Park on the docket. They'll travel to Amsterdam, seeking revenge for the loss in the 2015 Class A title game, on September 7. As for Averill Park, they'll be the ones seeking revenge for the beatdown administered by the Flying Horses in that same 2015 campaign. Stay tuned.
The Mets may have finally gotten out of their offensive funk.

Mickey Calloway's club split a 4-game weekend series in Arizona, and clinched the season series vs. the Diamondbacks, 5 games to 2. On Monday, it was on to Denver, and red-hot Brandon Nimmo led the way, with family & friends making the trip from Wyoming. Nimmo had 4 hits, including 2 homers, as New York thumped Colorado, 12-2. Jacob deGrom snapped a personal 2 game losing streak to run his record to 5-2. With any luck, he'd be among the league leaders in wins.
Condolences to the family of Around The Horn moderator Tony Reali. On Father's Day, Tony and his wife were expecting twins, but one of the two sons, Amodeo, died in childbirth. On Monday's episode of Horn, Reali was granted the "Face Time" segment normally awarded to the winner of each day's game:

Monday, June 18, 2018

No, they're not cops: Flat Foot Stooges (1938)

The Three Stooges are firemen in 1938's "Flat Foot Stooges". Silent film star Chester Conklin appears as their boss, and the film was written, directed, and co-produced by Charley Chase, a long time star for Hal Roach. Co-producer Hugh McCollum had worked on a number of Stooge shorts, and also worked for Roach, as memory serves.

Rating: A.