Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

Major League Baseball has begun handing out its post-season awards, starting on Monday with the Rookies of The Year, one for each league.

To the surprise of, well, no one, Shohei Otani of the Angels was named AL Rookie of The Year, despite missing some time due to injury. Otani apparently won't be able to pitch in 2019, though he might still be able to be a DH, due to needing Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Like, with all the attention Otani was getting during the season, did any other AL rookie have an equal chance?

Over in the National League, Atlanta's Ronald Acuna, Jr. outpointed Juan Soto of Washington to cop the Rookie of The Year. The Mets' Jeff McNeil finished 8th.
Suddenly, it's getting busier in Los Angeles as we get closer to Thanksgiving.

The NFL has moved the International Series game between the Rams and Kansas City to LA next Monday night due to poor field conditions in Mexico City. A Shakira concert last month, and a number of events since, have left the field in such poor shape that the NFL was left with no choice, after ESPN hyped the game to the moon last night, but to bring the Chiefs & Rams back to the US. Some think it might be a Super Bowl preview, provided, of course, that the Chiefs can avenge themselves on New England for losing in Foxborough last month. If the season were to end now, Kansas City would be the #1 seed in the AFC, and you know Tom Brady doesn't like that.
Los Angeles will also host the WWE's Survivor Series on Sunday, and, as of earlier today, one of the marquee matches on the card has been cancelled.

Last night, on Monday Night Raw, Becky Lynch led Smackdown's women into the arena in Kansas City, where Lynch targeted her opposite number, Ronda Rousey. WWE pulled a similar angle last year leading up to the event. and reprisals are expected tonight on Smackdown in St. Louis. Let's take a look at what happened:

It seems that Lynch suffered a concussion and/or a broken nose courtesy of former Raw women's champ Nia Jax. Lynch, as you can see in the video above, was a bloody mess at the end of the evening. Now, the Lynch-Rousey match has been postponed, robbing fans of what many feel might've been the best match on the card. We'll know by the end of the night if Rousey gets a substitute opponent.
You might've noticed that Raw ended promptly at 11 pm (ET) last night, well before the Giants-49ers game ended. USA Network, seeing the abysmal ratings for Raw, decided to take away the 5-15 minute overrun the show usually gets, effective with last night's show. Beats me why it took them so long to make that move. If or when ratings move up to a level satisfactory enough for USA's liking, I'd say the overruns will return.
Concussions have been a frequent problem for WWE wrestlers, both male & female. Lynch becomes the 3rd woman to suffer a concussion in the last month, after Alexa Bliss and Zelina Vega, the latter of whom was cleared for a return to the ring in time for tonight's Smackdown card. Bliss will still be at Survivor Series, albeit in a manager's role, because she's sustained several concussions in recent months, and Vince McMahon will protect one of his golden girls at all costs. Bliss (real name: Lexi Kaufman) should be getting some time off at home to recouperate,  but because she's one of Raw's top heels (villains), she's not getting the luxury of home recovery.

But what happens if Bliss is forced to retire prematurely due to another concussion or another major injury? That's on McMahon for stubbornly refusing to do right by his troupe. There's no getting around that.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Musical Interlude: Magneto & The Titanium Man (1975-6)

Marvel Comics villains "Magneto & The Titanium Man" were immortalized in song by Paul McCartney & Wings on their 1975 album, "Venus & Mars". Turns out McCartney is a comics fan, and invited Magneto's co-creator, Jack Kirby, backstage while on tour in California.

Titanium Man and another villain mentioned in the song, Crimson Dynamo, are associated with Iron Man. Magneto, as you know, has been both a foe and an ally of the X-Men in the books over the years.

The video was recorded on the Venus & Mars Rockshow tour in 1976.

Dedicated to the villains' co-creator, Stan Lee.

Stan Lee (1922-2018)

He was a proofreader at 17, an editor at 19, a prolific writer throughout the 50's & 60's, and publisher of Marvel by age 50. In fact, his very name is synonymous with Marvel, having created many of the characters who've been adapted into movies & television shows since the 70's. The Marvel Studios movies of 2019 likely will be the last where he'll make obligatory cameo appearances.

To sum it up, Stan Lee has passed away, about six weeks shy of his 96th birthday, after a battle with pneumonia, among other issues.

Stanley Martin Lieber went to work for Timely Comics while still in high school, working as a proofreader and doing other minor tasks, in 1939. His first published work was a text piece on Captain America, published around 1940-1. After Cap's co-creators, Joe Simon & Jack Kirby, left for DC, Lee, not yet 19, was named editor. He left to serve in the Army in World War II, and returned to Timely after the war.

In 1961, Lee ushered in what has become known as the Marvel Age of Comics with the introduction of The Fantastic Four. By this point, Kirby had returned, and co-created the FF, as well as the company's interpretation of the Norse Thunder God, Thor, with Lee. In 1966, Marvel contracted with Canadian animators Grant Simmons and Ray Patterson to adapt Silver Age tales of Thor, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Iron Man, & The Incredible Hulk in a syndicated daily series which lasted one season. In some form or another, Marvel's heroes have been a television fixture ever since.

I actually met Lee when a class field trip in New York made a stop at Marvel in 1973. He had boundless enthusiasm, as you could tell from his monthly editorials. Around this time, Lee appeared on To Tell The Truth:

In 1982, with Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends entering its 2nd season on NBC, Lee was added to the show as narrator, and 1st season reruns were re-edited to add his narration for continuity purposes.

Lee also did commercials. He shilled for Personna razor blades in the 70's, but good luck trying to find the ads.

Such was his dedication to Marvel that he has made cameo appearances in virtually every Marvel movie in the last decade. That string, as I wrote above, will end next year, and that "Captain Marvel", Marvel Studios' 1st film of 2019, will be dedicated to Lee.

Rest in peace, Stan. Excelsior!!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

On The Air: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been castigated in this space for refusing to share his vision for Archie Comics' horror line. Other writers have been able to save the line with new alternate continuity titles, while Aguirre-Sacasa went to Hollywood and abandoned the two books he was writing.

One of them, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, was adapted and rebooted into a Netflix series by Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, Arrow, etc.). The continuity of the series is not the same as the comic book, which may actually be a good thing.

On her 16th birthday, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka, ex-Mad Men) is faced with a choice. Either she commits to signing her name to the Book of The Beast and move to the magic realm, or remain with her mortal friends, including her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch, ex-Austin & Ally). Sabrina's parents, Edward, a warlock, and Diana, a mortal, were killed in an accident. In the comic book, Diana was sent to a mental hospital while, in the most recent issues, Edward had possessed a previously killed Harvey. Sabrina's aunts, Hilda & Zelda, are forever at odds. Hilda (Lucy Davis, "Wonder Woman") is more sympathetic than Zelda to their niece's concerns.

As with the live-action sitcom that aired on ABC & WB (1996-2003), the show is set in Greendale, which is adjacent to Riverdale. At Baxter High, Sabrina has to deal with strict Principal Hawthorne (Bronson Pinchot, ex-Perfect Strangers), while forming a new circle of friends. A friend asked about the cast of characters, and, aside from Hilda, Zelda, Harvey, Ambrose, and family familiar Salem, the supporting cast was created for the show. Madam Satan, however, is also the villain in the comic book, and her history dates back to the Golden Age.

Then again, it wouldn't be a Berlanti show if there wasn't an established supporting character rebooted for the LGBT community, and in this case, it's Ambrose (Chance Perdomo), described in notes on the show as pansexual.

There's also a callback to a classic literary tale as Sabrina retains the services of a lawyer named Daniel Webster (John Rubenstein) to argue her case.

Check out the trailer.

In terms of appearance, the producers nailed it right on the button with cute-as-a-button Kiernan Shipka, who captures Sabrina's classic look, save for the hair, which remains golden blonde, as opposed to the platinum blonde that Sabrina sported back in the 60's.

It's fitting, then, that Chilling Adventures dropped five days before Halloween, and has already been renewed for a second season.

Sabrina's story is more about establishing her independence and her identity. But what price would she pay for that?

Rating: B--.

Sports this 'n' that

The Los Angeles Dodgers went about the formality of releasing infielder Chase Utley from his contract, all so Utley could retire, as he said he would. He won his only World Series title 10 years ago with Philadelphia, but was left off this year's World Series roster by the Dodgers.

If you believe some corners of the internet, Utley will never be forgiven for a take-out slide in 2015 National League Division Series vs. the Mets that all but ended the career of fellow infielder Ruben Tejada. The rules were rewritten after the 2015 World Series to eliminate the threat of injury to middle infielders. At his core, Utley was an old school ballplayer, one of the last of a gradually phased out breed.
Having clinched a share of the Liberty League title a week ago, RPI put all their focus on the annual Battle of The Dutchmen's Shoes vs. Union on Saturday. It was also Senior Day at East Campus Village Stadium, and RPI sought to maintain a perfect record headed into the post-season.

Union, however, had other ideas. After six years in Troy, the Shoes are headed back to Schenectady, as Union routed RPI, 34-10. While they might not have seen much action, if at all, the game also marked the first time former Troy High teammates John Germinerio (now a sophomore at Union) and Matt Ashley (RPI freshman) would play against each other. It'd been two years since they'd been on the ECVA turf together (2016 Section II Class AA Super Bowl). Given the spotty reporting of El Cheapo Media, we'll never know if either one saw the field on Saturday.
Speaking of Section II, we started with 5 teams advancing to state football playoffs. This morning, we're down to 3.

On Saturday, Class D champion Warrensburg dropped a 37-16 decision to Moriah. Less than 24 hours earlier, Class C champion Cambridge-Salem, which, when it was just Cambridge, won the last two D titles, was eliminated by Ogdensburg Free Academy. Class B champion Glens Falls, led by Joseph Girard III, advanced on Friday night by beating Beekmantown, 21-7, at Shenendehowa.

AA Champ Shaker and A titlist Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake had the week off, and begin state play next Saturday.
When the Buffalo Bills play the Jets today, both teams will have veteran backup quarterbacks under center.

The Bills are on their 4th different starting QB this season, having signed Matt Barkley, a bust with Philadelphia and Chicago, two weeks ago. 2nd year QB Nathan Peterman hasn't been officially pronounced a bust himself, but it seems he can't win when it really matters. The Jets, meanwhile, wary of a foot injury by rookie QB Sam Darnold last week, will bring Josh McCown off the bench to start. If Darnold has to be declared inactive, 2nd year QB Davis Webb, acquired from the Giants in the offseason, would be signed from the practice squad to back up McCown.

Another intriguing matchup sees AFC East tyrant New England visiting former defensive star Mike Vrabel and Tennessee. The Titans are coming off an upset of Dallas six days ago, in which the Titans defense did to Dallas what New England did to Green Bay the night prior, shut them down in the second half. You know Vrabel will have Tennessee ready for this one. All he's gotta do is flash his Super Bowl rings to motivate the team. If anything, Vrabel will be ready for anything his former coach, Bill Belichick, will try. The Patriots have already lost to former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Detroit earlier this season, but haven't lost since. You know what that means. Crybaby Brady and his ego have taken over. Ex-Patriot and local product Dion Lewis will be in the backfield for Tennessee, part of a 1-2 punch with Derrick Henry. This will be emotional, but not an easy game for either side.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Musical Interlude: What Kind of Fool (1980)

One of the biggest albums of 1980 was "Guilty", a collaboration between Barbra Streisand and Bee Gees frontman Barry Gibb. Two singles came out of the album, the title cut and "What Kind of Fool".

In December, Marie Osmond decided to take a swing at "Fool" on her self titled NBC variety hour, paired with Jeff Conaway (Taxi, "Grease").

Conaway was also part of the Broadway cast of "Grease", so his musical chops are legit. Unfortunately, Marie was off the air not long after this episode aired.

Classic TV: Eye Guess (1966)

Prolific game show producer Bob Stewart left Goodson-Todman in 1966 to start his own company. His first sales were The Face is Familiar for CBS, which we'll review another day, and Eye Guess for NBC, both co-produced with Filmways.

Bill Cullen, at the time a regular on I've Got a Secret and having been the original host of The Price is Right, was tapped to host. The format was a hybrid of standard quiz shows with the memory aspect of Concentration. The series lasted three years (1966-9), and maybe should've gone longer, except that NBC did a purge of game shows in '69, having cut the original Match Game right along with Guess.

Check this sample out:

Stewart would produce several more shows for NBC, as well as ABC & CBS, over the next 20 years before shifting to cable.

Rating: A.

Friday, November 9, 2018

What Might've Been: Drexell's Class (1991)

In its nascent years, Fox was blessed with hits like Married...With Children, The Tracey Ullmann Show (which begat The Simpsons), America's Most Wanted, Cops, & In Living Color. Of course, there were bound to be the usual clunkers, too.

Included in that group was Drexell's Class, which was an elementary school version of, say for example, Welcome Back, Kotter or a contemporary ABC hit of the period, Head of The Class.

Dabney Coleman had struck out at ABC (The Slap Maxwell Story) & NBC (Buffalo Bill) in trying to establish himself as just as big a star on television as he was in movies (i.e. "9 to 5", "Dragnet"). He pulled double duty on Drexell, getting an additional credit as a consultant. Drexell was another hard luck loser, this one taking a job as a teacher in order to pay off his back taxes.

Perhaps the most publicity this series got in its six month run was a guest appearance by "Problem Child" co-star Michael Oliver. Unfortunately, we won't see Michael in this sample episode. The supporting cast includes future stars Cleavant Derricks (later of Sliders), Jason Biggs ("American Pie"), A. J. Langer (later of My So Called Life) and the late Brittany Murphy, who later returned to Fox with the animated King of The Hill before her untimely passing.

So why did it fail? It was on Thursdays, and NBC still owned the night.

No rating.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Origin of a Classic: Three to Get Ready (1975)

While the remake of One Day at a Time has just been renewed for a 3rd season at Netflix, let's take a look at a pilot for the original series.

In fact, it went by a different title.

Three to Get Ready was produced for CBS in 1975. The setting remains the same, Indianapolis. Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin), however, is a nurse being wooed by a doctor (Lewis J. Stadlen, later of Benson), barely a month after her divorce had been finalized. Also, Ann only has one daughter, Julie (Mackenzie Phillips), not two. Dwayne Schneider (Pat Harrington) is the building superintendent.

After having been turned down for a part on Maude, Marcia Rodd plays Ann's upstairs neighbor. She was cut when the changes were made to develop One Day at a Time, and would later surface on 13 Queens Boulevard, among other places.

It's easy to see why Stadlen was cut, as well.....

Stadlen, a second generation actor (dad was New York kids show personality and voice actor Allen Swift), came off as too abrasive and forward, which today would get a guy in trouble on or off the job. Since not all the familiar elements are yet in place (Julie was softened a little by the time the series started), I think you can understand why this ended up failing, and needed to be retooled.

Rating: B--.

A little bit of this and a little of that

Coming out of Tuesday's elections, local voters bum-rushed Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove out the door after just one term, electing former judge Mary Pat Connolly as DA. Abelove had gotten himself in hot water over his handling of certain cases in town. If anyone says they didn't see it coming, they'd be wrong.

Meanwhile, the Geezers On Parade's attempt to discredit Democratic newbie Antonio Delgado's bid for Congress was an epic fail, as Delgado, a former rapper and Harvard Law School graduate, unseated incumbent John Faso after one term. Faso's camp claimed voter apathy over President Trump was the deciding factor at the polls.

As for those attack ads that took some of Delgado's rap lyrics out of context, this was a mean spirited, irresponsible attempt at discrediting Delgado, formerly known as AD Tha Voice as a rapper, but if anyone took the time to listen to the song those lyrics were lifted from in their entirety, the Geezers' plot was quickly unraveled. GOP operatives should've known better. Seven years ago, voters in the hometown elected teacher-turned-political newbie Lou Rosamilia over current City Council President Carmella Mantello, despite the Geezers' last second attack ads questioning Rosamilia's qualifications.

Come to think of it, similar tactics were employed on behalf of Abelove against Connolly, ignoring the fact that Connolly had spent more than 2 decades on the bench as a judge.

I recommend sending the local GOP some copies of the writings of George Santayana.
On Wednesday, America's biggest man-child, President Trump, bullied Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of office, and it's clear from this move that Trump is scared of what special prosecutor Robert Mueller might find.

For someone who supposedly is a born-again Christian, such as Trump, it seems he's having a hard time learning to turn the other cheek away from criticism, making it harder for folks outside his voter base to accept him as the leader of the free world. To Trump, image is everything, more important than establishing domestic and foreign policies.

If you tried to determine the average IQ of a Trump supporter, the numbers would probably be smaller than the size of a thimble. They're getting played, and they don't care.
Proving that professional sports today is more about "what have you done for us lately", the Chicago Blackhawks fired coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday, as the 'Hawks are off to a less than stellar start. Quenneville led the 'Hawks to three NHL Stanley Cups in the last decade and change, and is likely to land someplace else within the next year.
Giants coach Pat Shurmur wasted everyone's time the other day to announce that Eli Manning would remain the starting quarterback for Big Blue's next game, Monday at San Francisco. Rookie Kyle Lauletta has not been active for any game this season, and it seems unlikely he'll see the field at all this season. The Giants drafted Davis Webb last season, then let him move across the hall to the Jets' locker room, as Webb is on Gang Green's practice squad, and could be activated if Sam Darnold has to be inactive for Sunday's game vs. Buffalo. Darnold sustained a foot injury in his last game, and is questionable for this week.
After going unsigned through the first half of the season, former Dallas Cowboy Dez Bryant finally found a new home on Wednesday, signing with New Orleans. The Saints will play a Thursday night game vs. the Cowboys in three weeks, which means Bryant has a chance to avenge himself on his former team, which tired of his diva behavior last year. Dallas, meanwhile, has a chance to pick up some ground in the NFC East if they can beat the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Not an easy task to be sure, considering Dallas flushed an early lead down the tubes against Tennessee on Monday.
Riverdale co-star Mark Consuelos will soon be joined by wife Kelly Ripa on the show. The talk show hostess has signed on for a few episodes later this season as the mistress of Consuelos' character, Hiram Lodge. The couple's son, Michael, made his debut on the show last night, playing a teenage version of Lodge in a flashback episode. Ripa (ex-All My Children) has some primetime experience, but it's been quite a while since her last night gig.

Of all the comic book shows on the CW, Riverdale has the most soap opera elements to it on a network obsessed with using that format, even though Jane The Virgin, based on a Spanish telenovela, is ending its run at the end of this season.

Speaking of the CW, if you wondered why the titular heroine on Supergirl had a Power Rangers-style helmet over her head for much of this week's episode, it's because star Melissa Benoist was busy finishing her run on Broadway over the summer when shooting began in Vancouver, and a stunt double wore the costume for much of the episode, with Benoist doing voice-overs when needed. The shots of Melissa "wearing the helmet" will remind many of the same shots used on Robert Downey, Jr. in the "Iron Man" & "Avengers" movies over the last 10 years.

Comics fans would recognize the helmet as a variant on one worn by Wildfire, a member of the Legion of Superheroes for many years.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Forgotten TV: Evel Knievel (1974)

Yes, there was a feature film based on the career of stunt cyclist Evel Knievel in 1974, but that same year also saw an unsold pilot for a television dramatization that purported to reboot Knievel as a crusader for justice.

Sam Elliott, currently the voice-over pitchman for Ram Trucks and Coors beer, was cast as Knievel. The supporting cast includes Noble Willingham, better known for his later work in "Good Morning, Vietnam" and Walker, Texas Ranger, and Michael Anderson, Jr. (ex-The Monroes). One of the first original efforts from Viacom as a producer, not a distributor.

Around the same time, Knievel also had a licensing deal with Ideal Toys.

A couple of years later, a masked stuntman known as the Human Fly followed in Knievel's marketing footsteps, and landed a deal for a comic book from Marvel, which had sold ad space to Ideal for their line of Knievel toys. I don't think Knievel and the Fly ever met, though.

No rating.

Weasel of the Week: Brian Kemp

Not all the ballots have been counted in Georgia, but Republican Brian Kemp, running for governor, appears to have overcome the challenge of Stacey Abrams, who served on the state's House of Representatives until last year.

The problem? Kemp, the Secretary of State, refused to step down from the position in order to make a run for the statehouse, and clearly is involved in a conflict of interest, involving voter suppression, among other things.

If these charges are true, then Kemp is clearly afraid that he was going to fail in his bid to become governor, such that he's reportedly resorted to eliminating polling places in largely minority sections of the state, continuing to insult the intelligence of African-Americans and other minorities in Georgia. Former President and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter has ripped into Kemp, but, unfortunately, Kemp has turned a deaf ear to Carter and all of his other detractors.

His greed and covetousness earn Kemp a set of Weasel ears. He has disrespected his state by suppressing the ability of citizens to vote in areas he's clearly afraid he's going to lose. Apparently, the only way to solve this issue is to take the matter before a local district court and a non-partisan judge.

To her credit, Abrams recruited former talk show host Oprah Winfrey to stump on her behalf, and Winfrey still carries a lot of pull. Kemp had to be fearful of that. He should be afraid of what the courts may say.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Musical Interlude: Holy Water (2004)

Big & Rich wrote and dedicated "Holy Water", the third single from their 2004 debut, "Horse of a Different Color", to their sisters, who'd previously been victims of domestic abuse. "Holy Water" landed in the top 15 on Billboard's Country chart, while falling short of the top 40, peaking at #75 on the Hot 100.

How it failed to hit #1, I don't know.

Of Recent Vintage: Reba (2001)

Country singer Reba McEntire had cut her acting teeth on Broadway ("Annie Get Your Gun") and in films ("Tremors") before she landed a self-titled sitcom, Reba, which spent six seasons between the WB and CW networks.

On the show, McEntire plays a divorcee whose ex-husband (Christopher Rich, ex-Another World, Murphy Brown), a dentist, left her for his hygenist. Reba has to keep the family together.

When reruns aired on cable's Lifetime, my mom would watch the show every night to catch up.

Following is a Thanksgiving themed episode from the 4th season:

Why Reba hasn't landed another series gig, I don't know. That KFC gig was a bust.

Rating: B.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Musical Interlude: I Can't Tell You Why (1979-80)

In 1979, the Eagles gave us one of the greatest date night songs of all time.

Timothy B. Schmit is on lead vocals and co-wrote "I Can't Tell You Why". The video was shot a year later, with a shuffle in the lineup. Glenn Frey plays the electric piano, when in fact Joe Walsh was on keyboards on the record.

"Why" has been covered by the likes of country singer Vince Gill (with Schmit singing backup) and R & B singers Howard Hewett and Gerald Alston, the latter of whom missed the top 40 10 years after the original was released.

50 years ago tonight......

As America heads to the polls tomorrow, it happens that today is the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon's election as President. Nixon had been a Vice President under Dwight Eisenhower, and ran unsuccessfully against John F. Kennedy in 1960. We all know the rest of the story, of course. After edging (outgoing) Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Alabama Governor George Wallace, Nixon rolled over George McGovern in 1972, only to see his second term end less than two years later in the wake of Watergate.

Back in the day, it wasn't that easy to predict who'd win. As this video shows, NBC anchors Chet Huntley & David Brinkley pulled the proverbial all-nighter, and this was the tail end of the coverage, after Nixon had won......

The current President, Donald Trump, aspires to be the second coming of Nixon or even Ronald Reagan, but doesn't come close. Anything positive that Trump does is buried under a cascade of headlines that would rather promote the idea that he is, in fact, the world's oldest man-child. His distrust of the majority of the news media is, in fact, childish, but it is part of the facade he has used the last three years, appealing to a base of disaffected, disenfranchised voters who resented the fact that America dared to elect an African-American 10 years ago. Those that buy into Trump's act don't realize they're being played, and most simply don't care.

Closer to home, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's bid for a third term isn't going to be that easy. Weekend polls show that Republican challenger Marc Molinaro has narrowed the lead to about 11-13 points. Bearing in mind that upstate NY went against the second generation governor in his primary bid vs. actress-activist Cynthia Nixon (no relation to Richard) two months ago, who's to say Cuomo makes it to a third term?

The Green Party is trotting out the same, tired old also-rans. Howie Hawkins for Governor, Mark Dunlea for Comptroller. Dunlea was in town on Saturday, stationed outside the Uncle Sam Atrium on opening day for the indoor farmer's market. The Green Party's platform is all but ignored, as the media would rather focus on the two major parties only, but it would help if the Greens were able to nominate some fresh faces. Hawkins is this generation's Harold Stassen, for example. If you don't know who Stassen was, he was a perpetual third party candidate for President who usually earned enough votes to buy a cup of coffee, if you get my drift. Independent candidates were ignored two years ago in the Presidental election, and likely will be again in 2020 unless they find someone who can put a dent in the big two. Good luck with that. Hawkins'll be lucky if he gets enough votes to qualify for the next election.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Musical Interlude: The Loco-Motion (1987-8)

Australia's Kylie Minogue peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in 1988 with her cover of Little Eva's 1962 #1 hit, "The Loco-Motion". The Gerry Goffin-Carole King composition also struck the top of the charts for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974. Minogue hit #1 in her native Australia in 1987, and the song was re-recorded and produced by the hot team of Stock, Aikman & Waterman a year later for international consumption.

I would venture to say that at the time, Kylie might've been considered the heiress apparent to Australia's reigning queen of pop, as far as American audiences were concerned, Olivia Newton-John. Didn't happen. Kylie didn't have the consistent chart success as her countrywoman did in the 70's & 80's.

Sports this 'n' that

They called the first weekend in November, "Statement Saturday", in college football. A marketing gimmick for the NCAA's media partners (ESPN, CBS, Fox) more than anything else, because even though we are in the homestretch of the regular season, to the casual viewer, it's just another weekend.

Top ranked Alabama shut out LSU in a nationally televised game, the second half of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader on CBS. Yawn. Clemson, two seasons removed from a national title, throttled Louisville, ringing up over 70 points. I actually fell asleep watching this early afternoon game. Michigan spanked Penn State, 42-7. It was that kind of day, no more typical than it is during the first month of the season. Defenses on the losing teams, apparently, took the week off at the wrong time.
Spectrum Cable viewers expecting to see the Section 2 Class A football title game Saturday night had to deal with a poor video feed at Shenendehowa that grew increasingly worse during the first half. Viewers like ye scribe had to flip over to one of the myriad of college games, and it wasn't until after the game was over before Spectrum News' signal had been restored, it seems. It was blustery, cold, & windy in Clifton Park, conditions that a team from the north country like Queensbury would be accustomed to, but the effect on television viewers was a different story.

For what it's worth, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake won its 3rd straight A title, avenging a loss to Queensbury three weeks ago, in a 21-16 verdict. Queensbury's Liam O'Mara was a one-man show three weeks ago, but scored both of Queensbury's touchdowns in the rematch. Burnt Hills' defense shut down Queensbury after that.

Burnt Hills dedicated their season to teammate Deacon Marcucci, who was killed in an auto accident right before the start of the school year.

In other action, they finally crowned a new champion in Class D, as Warrensburg defeated Hoosic Valley, 28-6. Syracuse-bound Joseph Girard III led Glens Falls to their 3rd straight B title, shutting out Cobleskill-Richmondville, 40-0.
Seeing as how there've been crossovers between Classes A & B, AA & A, B & C, and C & D, why not expand the scope next year?

Troy & LaSalle play for the Collar City Cup each year, and Troy has won the last three meetings. Lansingburgh, in Class B, had a horrible season, going 0-8 (a previously reported win over Mohonasen was submitted to certain media outlets in error, as the result went the other way), but eventually, they'll cycle up and have some talent to compete with their cross-town rivals. Catholic Central is part of Holy Trinity in football, but that shouldn't stop them from taking a crack at Troy and/or LaSalle. Just something to think about.
Troy High's boys basketball team will visit Catholic Central as part of the annual Crusader Roundball Classic on December 28-29. This will mark the first visit of Troy to Monsignor Burns Gym since the 2014-15 season, when Troy was an independent. Figuring the joint should be jumping, as CCHS will also welcome teams from outside the region for the four-team event. Troy discontinued their Holiday Classic two years ago after poor showings by both the mens' & womens' teams, but a strong showing at CCHS might just convince athletic director Paul Reinisch to change his mind. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

On The Air: All American (2018)

All three of Greg Berlanti's freshman series this season are short-season entries. Lifetime's You bowed over the summer. The adaptation of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina went live on Netflix last week. And, then, there is All American, which debuted on CW on October 10.

All American is based on the early years of newly retired NFL player Spencer Paysinger, who hung up his cleats after spending last season with Carolina. Paysinger had also played the Giants and Miami during his career.

Daniel Ezra plays Spencer James, the analogue for the teenage Paysinger. A gifted player, James also is a magnet for trouble, yet his talent attracts the attention of a coach (Taye Diggs) who's looking to bolster his roster at Beverly Hills High. James is at Crenshaw High, and if that name sounds familiar, it should----to 80's baseball fans. Crenshaw is the high school alma mater of Eric Davis (Cincinnati) and Darryl Strawberry (Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, San Francisco). Digression over.

Given that it's based around inner city life, it'd be a complement to Black Lightning, airing on Tuesdays.

Check out the trailer:

Give Berlanti credit for expanding his scope with All American & You, as well as the feature film, "Love, Simon", earlier this year, reminding viewers that he doesn't restrict himself to genre programming, though that does still make up the bulk of his workload. High school recruiting has become a thing that is no longer confined to the bigger, more competitive markets (i.e. Los Angeles, NYC). The rules are changing, and this show illustrates why that is.

I tried to watch the opener, but I don't need another show that is filled with angst and soap opera drama. There's enough of that on CW's schedule already, to the point that it's cliched.

No rating.

High School Fridays: Saratoga vs. Shaker (Class AA football title), 11/2/18

For the second straight year, Saratoga Springs High found themselves at Bob Ford Field at UAlbany for the Class AA football championship. Last year, Troy High denied Terry Jones' Blue Streaks the title on the same field, and under drier conditions than what Saratoga and Shaker endured Friday night.

Shaker hadn't won the AA title since 2012, and were themselves humbled by the Flying Horses two years ago at RPI in what amounted to a de facto home game for Troy, whose campus is just up the street from RPI's East Campus Village Stadium.

Saratoga had lost to Shaker in their regular season meeting on September 14, so the time was nigh for revenge, with so much else on the line. The Blue Streaks won the opening coin toss, and methodically marched down the field, taking up more than half of the first quarter before QB Jake Williams ran it in from about 5 yards out, giving Saratoga an early 7-0 lead.

Shaker, having gone three-and-out on their first possession, answered back on their second drive, which carried over into the second quarter. Logan Souza, the subject of a feature piece in the Albany Times-Union earlier in the day, ran in untouched from about 7 yards to tie the score. However, on the very next play from scrimmage, Saratoga's Ashton Capone broke loose and galloped 58 yards to put the Streaks back in front.

Back came Shaker. With 44 seconds left in the half, Connor McHugh found Raveon Burt all alone at the Saratoga two yard line, and Burt ambled in, leaving the teams even at 14 at the break.

From there, however, it was all Shaker. After a scoreless third quarter, Shane Lavender picked off Williams in the fourth and took it the distance, 83 yards, to give the Blue Bison their first lead of the night. It really was the game winner, as Saratoga couldn't respond, and Souza added his second touchdown later in the period to seal the game, as Shaker wins its second AA title, 28-14.

Come to think of it, Times-Union high school columnist James Allen, calling the game for Spectrum Sports, nearly had the score right in his pre-game prediction. He figured Shaker would net 28 points, so there's that to hang his hat on. Speaking of Spectrum, there was a tech glitch in the broadcast during the third quarter, as for some unknown reason, someone at the studio lost track of the schedule, and tried to bring viewers back to the pre-recorded newscasts. Fortunately, the glitches only lasted a few seconds.

In other action, across the river at Lansingburgh, Cambridge-Salem captured the Class C title by beating Chatham, 41-27. Cambridge won the D title the last two years, and have dominated the lower classes since classification play began 25 years ago.

Two teams have punched their tickets to the state tournaments. Three more will do so by the end of today. The Class D game will be contested at Schuylerville at 1 pm. Then, it'll be a doubleheader at Shenendehowa, with the Class B game (Glens Falls-Cobleskill) at 3, and the Class A game (Burnt Hills-Queensbury) at 7:30.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Musical Interlude: Tall Cool One (1988)

The late 80's brought a wave of what I like to call "danceable metal". Def Leppard started the trend with with the heavy, bouncy beats on "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Rocket", off "Hysteria". Robert Plant's contribution was 1988's "Tall Cool One", the 3rd & final single off "Now & Zen". "Tall" peaked at #25 on the Hot 100, and topped the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

It wasn't long before "Tall" was used in an ad campaign for Diet Coke. Makes sense.

What Might've Been: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1962)

Yesterday, we took a look at Screen Gems & ABC's 1969 adaptation of Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and how that ended up losing viewers from its' lead-in, The Brady Bunch. As noted, this wasn't the first time a Capra film had been adapted for television.

Seven years earlier, the same two, Screen Gems & ABC, brought Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to the small screen. This one aired on Saturday nights, with Fess Parker trading in the coonskin cap of Davy Crockett for sharp suits and a seat in Congress.

There was one problem. CBS had Jackie Gleason on at the same time, and he'd already run off Western icons Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, whose variety show bombed out. Ballgame over.

For what it's worth, when those Crockett reruns were replayed on The Wonderful World of Disney, I seem to recall Crockett also going to Congress. Hmmmm.

By the way, in the 1939 film that inspired the series, Smith's first name was actually Jefferson. Why it was changed to Eugene 23 years later, I'll never know. If they thought Parker could fill Jimmy Stewart's shoes and do a sitcom, well, scope the sample video with comedy legend Buster Keaton, and see for yourself.

Of course, two years later, Parker would bounce back, pull the coonskin cap out of storage, and spend the rest of the 60's as Daniel Boone.

No rating.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Forgotten TV: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1969)

A few years ago, someone thought it'd be a cool idea for Adam Sandler to headline a comedy remake of Frank Capra's classic, "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town". The critics weren't exactly fond of this version of "Mr. Deeds", but then, somewhere in between these two films, there was a short-lived TV series that deserved a better fate.

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was coupled with another 1969 freshman series, The Brady Bunch, at the front of ABC's Friday lineup. Monte Markham, who had flopped two years earlier with another ABC-Screen Gems entry, The Second Hundred Years, was cast in the lead as Longfellow Deeds, small town newspaper publisher-turned-millionaire who relocates to the big city. Even with Capra himself directing the pilot, Deeds was gone by the holidays, having lost viewers from Brady Bunch.

Unfortunately, no episodes are available at the moment. All we have is this intro supplied by Gilmore Box to YouTube:

A few years earlier, another Capra classic, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", was similarly adapted for television with a pre-Daniel Boone Fess Parker in the title role. Yep, that failed, too. These are the mysteries of television I just don't get.

No rating. Never saw the show.

Sports this 'n' that

While LeBron James is trying to right the Lakers' ship, his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have suddenly shown a lack of patience.

Tyronn Lue, who coached James & the Cavaliers to the NBA title two years ago, was let go over the weekend after an 0-6 start. Owner Dan Gilbert, apparently, is too impatient to prove his team can succeed without James, but, in this writer's opinion, this was too soon, and too Steinbrennerian in its execution.

The late George Steinbrenner, a Cleveland native, dumped former player-turned-manager Yogi Berra in 1985 after a 6-10 start as Yankee manager. Back then, however, Steinbrenner was known for his own impulsive decision making borne out of impatience. Will these owners never learn that sometimes, patience is a necessity?

Not far away, the woeful Browns, despite two wins this season, dumped Hue Jackson on Monday, along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Owner Jimmy Haslem could've cut Jackson loose after last year's 0-16 campaign, but kept him around long enough to see the losing streak end. The Browns are not going to be in the playoffs any time soon in a division that also has in-state rival Cincinnati, Baltimore (the former Browns have won 2 titles since becoming the Ravens 22 years ago), and Pittsburgh, whom the Browns play on Sunday.
Between the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, & Red Sox, Boston has hosted 13 victory parades since 2002. The latest saw this week's Dunce Cap winner demonstrate complete and utter stupidity.

Boston sports fans have gotten into the habit of throwing beers to the teams, often throwing them with caution to the wind. This ain't like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin calling for, then slamming down, two cans of the suds, usually light beer, at a time in the WWE. That the fans took time from work and school to line the streets of Beantown on Halloween was bound to create some sort of unnecessary controversy.

Consider, then, 19 year old Patrick Connolly of suburban Sandwich. His errant toss struck BoSox manager Alex Cora, who wasn't seriously hurt, thankfully. Connolly, understandably, was arrested, and, judging by the young man's words, the beaning was accidental.

Connolly, though, isn't shouldering the burden of the Dunce Cap by himself. He was not the only one tossing unopened beer cans to the Red Sox, but this should put a cap (pun ntended) on the practice. Something needs to be done between the city and its sports teams to prevent another incident like the one on Wednesday.

Look at it this way, though. It was broad daylight. The fans, I think, were sober when they decided to toss the suds.
Before signing with the Yankees to be their radio play-by-play voice prior to the 1989 season, John Sterling had been a TV voice of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks.

Per Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News, Sterling will spend some time this season in the Brooklyn Nets booth on the YES network, where Sterling only otherwise appears as the host of Yankeeography and the team's annual Old Timer's Day event. After 30 seasons in the Bronx, most folks are of two minds on Sterling. On one side, he's an annoying, self-promoting, self-serving goof who often miscalls plays or misses them entirely. On the other, he's been a dependable voice on the radio, the likes of which the team and its fan base hasn't seen since the days of Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer, & Bill White, back at a time when three men alternated between radio & television, a practice continued today by the San Francisco Giants (Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, & Jon Miller).

Having watched some Hawks games on WTBS when Sterling was there, and having heard him do some college football on YES, getting him away from the Yankee pom-poms might actually be a good thing.
Some passings in recent days to close out this column.

Jack Patera was the first coach of the Seattle Seahawks when they debuted in the NFL in 1976. Patera spent six-plus years with the team, fired two weeks into the 1982 season in the midst of a strike. Patera, the brother of Olympic weightlifter-turned-pro wrestler Ken Patera, was 85 when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

Hank Greenwald spent 16 seasons as a play-by-play voice with the San Francisco Giants, with a 2 year hitch in New York with the Yankees in between, and also was the radio voice of the Golden State Warriors. Greenwald passed away last weekend.

The Giants are also mourning Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey, who passed away Wednesday at 80. McCovey also had two tours of duty with the team, in addition to stints in between with Oakland and San Diego.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Classic Reborn: The Outer Limits (1995)

The revived interest in science fiction on television in the late 80's and early 90's via shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Quantum Leap, & The X-Files prompted MGM, which had absorbed United Artists, to revive The Outer Limits, 30 years after the original series had ended.

Of course, there were changes. For one, the show would be in full color. Two, the series would air on pay cable's Showtime, allowing for the loss of inhibitions, meaning there would be plenty of coarse language and nudity.

At the end, the revival outlasted the original, running for seven seasons in all. As part of the deal, MGM would also distribute an edited, sanitized version for syndication, which is how I managed to catch up to the show. After six seasons, Outer Limits, along with stablemates Poltergeist: The Legacy & Stargate SG-1, left Showtime for Sci-Fi (now SyFy), which moved the rating from TV-14 to TV-PG. The nudity was gone, and the language was toned down. Unfortunately, the change in networks doomed the series.

There was at least one remake from the original, the episode "I, Robot". The common link between the two episodes was sci-fi icon Leonard Nimoy, whose son, Adam, directed the remake, while his father played a different character in the 90's version than in the original. Neither version, however, was directly linked to Isaac Asimov's classic novel.

Other notable guest stars included Josh Brolin, Marlee Matlin, Roddy Piper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Arnold, and Ralph Waite.

Following is a sample season 7 episode:

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Old Time Radio: War of The Worlds (1938)

80 years ago tonight, Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre adapted H. G. Wells' War of The Worlds, unwittingly creating mass hysteria. Here, then, is the broadcast.

Rating: A.

Creepy TV: The Night That Panicked America (1975)

80 years ago today, Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre of The Air adapted H. G. Wells' War of The Worlds for radio, and that singular broadcast became a legend all by itself.

We've previously screened a Studio One adaptation, "The Night America Trembled". In 1975, ABC & Paramount took a shot at it with a TV-movie, The Night That Panicked America, with Paul Shenar, as Welles, fronting an ensemble that included Will Geer (The Waltons), Tom Bosley (Happy Days), John Ritter (at the time a recurring player on The Waltons), and Eileen Brennan. The Mercury Theatre troupe is embodied here by the likes of Ron Rifkin, Casey Kasem (American Top 40), and Krofft repertory player Walker Edmiston.

Later tonight, we'll have the actual Mercury Theatre broadcast.

No rating, just a public service.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Musical Interlude: I Fought The Law (1979)

England's The Clash covered Bobby Fuller's 1966 hit, "I Fought The Law", in 1979. It was released on an EP in the UK, but here in the US, it was included on a reissue of their self-titled debut LP.

Sports this 'n' that

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox on winning their 4th World Series in 15 years, as they closed out the Los Angeles Dodgers in 5 games last night. While the end-of-the-year awards have already been decided before the playoffs, many will feel that Boston manager Alex Cora, who was a bench coach with Houston last year, and won his second straight ring, will have locked up American League Manager of The Year.

Now, however, Boston is in the same position Houston was in a year ago, thinking about how to repeat next season. Job 1 is keeping all the key personnel intact, and that won't be easy.
Funeral services might as well be held for the NY Giants after letting another game slip away yesterday in a loss to Washington. Big Blue is 1-7 headed into the bye week, and if I'm owner John Mara, I think about trying to convince Eli Manning that it's best for business to let rookie Kyle Lauletta get some playing time, while at the same time getting the offensive line to finally gel.

One online wag is trying to suggest trading wide receiver and shampoo salesman Odell Beckham, Jr., but I don't think too many teams want to take on that contract he signed in the offseason.
Meanwhile, New England TE Rob Gronkowski has landed an endorsement deal with Procter & Gamble to pitch their Tide detergent pods. Comes off like the party boy he is in the commercial. He's also got his face plastered on boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Then again, that's more than we can say for his diva teammate, Tom Brady......
The Section 2 football championships will be decided November 2-3. The lineup:

Class AA: Shaker vs. Saratoga @ Bob Ford Field (UAlbany), Friday.
Class A: Queensbury vs. Burnt Hills (Shen), Saturday.
Class B: Glens Falls vs. Cobleskill.
Class C. Chatham vs. Cambridge-Salem.
Class D: Warrensburg vs. Hoosic Valley.

We are assured of new champions in all but Classes A & B, as Burnt Hills & Glens Falls are seeking to repeat. Cambridge, before merging with Salem, won the last two Class D titles, then moved up in class. Saratoga & Shaker were bridesmaids vs. Troy the last two years in Class AA. Chatham ended Holy Trinity's run on Sunday.
WWE's Evolution event is in the books. England's Toni Storm won the 2nd annual Mae Young Classic, defeating Japan's Io Shirai. It wasn't a good night for Japan, as Kairi Sane lost the NXT Women's title back to former MMA competitor Shayna Baszler after two months. Meanwhile, Baszler's friend, Raw women's champ Ronda Rousey, needed to overcome both Bella Twins to retain as Brie couldn't help herself, and interfered on behalf of sister Nikki, for whatever it was worth. Smackdown women's champion Becky Lynch survived a Last Woman Standing match with Charlotte Flair to retain.

If they're smart, they'll release this on DVD.
Back to the World Series. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was being second guessed from long distance by President Trump over the weekend. As if Roberts didn't have enough to worry about with his team getting run over by the Red Sox. Trump, who can't go a day without posting something stupid on Twitter, had to get his two cents in. To be honest, I don't think Trump really knows what he's talking about when it comes to sports, but that's just me.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Spook Rock: Remains of The Day (2005)

I've never seen Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride", but finding this next track was too good to resist.

Burton's go-to composer, former Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman, wrote and sung "Remains of The Day", as he was cast in the film as Bonejangles. Sounds to me like Danny was doing a mimic of Mark Hamill's Joker characterization, but, judge for yourselves.....

Weasel of The Week: Robert Bowers

Slightly more than 24 hours after Cesar Sayoc, Jr. was arrested in Florida in connection with the mail bombs intended for prominent Democrats and other critics of President Trump, another Ugly American decided to open fire in a Jewish synagogue, killing 11 people before being arrested.

Robert Bowers, 46, has written several anti-Semite screeds online, and not even the President is safe from his wrath. Bowers claims that Trump hasn't done enough to stop Jewish immigration while working diligently to block migrant families seeking asylum in the US from crossing the border.

Here's the problem with Mr. Bowers. He claims the Jews are enabling Muslims to enter the country.


Bowers hasn't paid attention to the centuries old conflict between Jews & Muslims, nor does he care. His hatred is irrational as much as it is irresponsible. Nothing new there.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have both been quoted as saying that they are interested in seeking the death penalty on Bowers. For once, it seems, Trump would virtually have all of America behind him, as we as a nation are tired of these psychologically challenged goofs taking umbrage in the form of mass shootings over slights out of their control. It has to end.

Would Bowers get the death penalty? Hard to say. What he does get is a set of Weasel ears. What else do you give a deranged lunatic who opens fire in a synagogue?

Old Time Radio: The Great Gildersleeve (1941)

The Great Gildersleeve was spun off from Fibber McGee & Molly in 1941, and spent 17 seasons on NBC Radio (1941-58), spawning a TV version in the process.

Harold Peary originated the role on Fibber McGee of Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, who, by the time he was granted his own show, had mellowed out from being a pompous windbag to a bachelor with a heart of gold. In the early 50's, Peary signed with CBS, and left the show, with Willard Waterman taking his place as Gildersleeve. In fact, it'll be Waterman we'll hear in the episode to follow. Anyway, Gildersleeve had landed a job as water commissioner of his new hometown of Springfield. No, not the same one as The Simpsons, but ya never know.

In "Lost Boy on Halloween", Gildersleeve skips out initially on a party he's helped put together, but when a child is lost, Gildersleeve takes him to the party to see if the kids he'd invited can help. Supporting cast includes Walter Tetley, Arthur Q. Bryan, and Lillian Randolph.

We'll look at the TV version another time, and there's another Halloween themed episode to come from the radio show.

Rating: B.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Modern Classic: 3rd Rock From The Sun (1996)

In the grand tradition of Mork & Mindy and My Favorite Martian, 3rd Rock From The Sun continued the idea of aliens on earth as fish out of water. The difference is, these aliens are a little more advanced.

High Commander Dick Solomon (John Lithgow) finds employment as a college professor. Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) winds up in a teenager's body, and goes through high school, then college, all the while acting as an analogue for the era's generation of teenagers, the target demo for the series. Sally (Kristen Johnston) and Harry (French Stewart) mind the store, if ya will, although Harry's no smarter than a bag of hammers.

3rd Rock lasted six seasons, as opposed to Mork's four and Martian's three. Bolstered by veteran writer-creators-producers Bonnie & Terry Turner and the presence of Jane Curtin (ex-Kate & Allie, Saturday Night Live) as a romantic interest for Dick, and, later, Wayne Knight (ex-Seinfeld), in a similar capacity for Sally, and, much later, the casting of William Shatner as the aliens' boss, 3rd Rock also had the benefit of being in the right place at the right time. NBC wasn't the dregs of network television anymore.

Worth noting, too, is the fact that Linwood Boomer (ex-Little House on The Prairie) served as executive producer, in what was one of his first gigs in that capacity.

Pop culture mavens will note that wrestler Joanie "Chyna" Laurer joined the cast for a brief time as a romantic interest for Harry. Now, that was an odd couple.

Following is a 1st season episode, with guest star Phil Hartman. Intro by James Earl Jones.

Rating: B.

High School this 'n' that

The Class A & AA Super Bowls are now set. As we reported last night, it'll be a rematch between the two sets of Spartans--Queensbury vs. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake---in the A title game next Saturday night at Shenendehowa. Meanwhile, in Class AA, the two teams that were bridesmaids to Troy the last two years, Shaker & Saratoga, will meet at Bob Ford Field at UAlbany on Friday night.

Over in Class B, Cobleskill has punched its ticket to the Super Bowl, and awaits the winner of today's game between Hudson Falls and Glens Falls. Syracuse-bound Joseph Girard III leads Glens Falls into a possible Super Bowl berth yet again. The Class C & D Super Bowl berths will be decided today as well.
After being eliminated from the playoffs last week, LaSalle hosted Christian Brothers Academy in their annual battle for the Sabre to close out a disappointing season for both teams. CBA retains the Sabre with a 21-14 win. Due to two forfeits due to ineligible players, LaSalle closes its first season under John Audino with a 2-7 record, but with room for improvement next year.
Suppose you're one of the best volleyball teams in Section 2, and you can't compete in sectionals because of a technicality, one caused by a clerical error?

That's exactly what happened to Lake George's women's volleyball team. They were declared ineligible for the Class C sectionals, despite being the top team, due to playing too many regular season games. One too  many, in particular. According to a report on WTEN, a Lake George scrimmage vs. an unnamed opponent was mistakenly reported as a regular season game. State rules cap the regular season schedule for volleyball at 20 games, so, in effect, Lake George was screwed by an error in judgment. The mistake, according to the WTEN report, was by an opposing school. Intentional or not, it's a sickening feeling for the seniors on the Lake George squad.

Friday, October 26, 2018

YouTube Theatre: Dragnet (1966-9)

Jack Webb's seminal crime drama, Dragnet, returned to the air as a midseason replacement in the winter of 1967. Before that, however, there was a pilot movie to establish Harry Morgan as Joe Friday's new partner, Bill Gannon. Ben Alexander had signed on to do ABC's Felony Squad, forcing the change. An experienced sitcom veteran (i.e. Pete & Gladys), Morgan's by-play with Webb was one of the strong points of the 1967-70 Dragnet.

For whatever reason, NBC sat on the movie until 1969. Frequent players Virginia Gregg and Vic Perrin, and former baseball player John Roseboro are in the cast for this one, as Friday & Gannon track a serial killer. The fight scene between Friday and the killer is similar in design to a scene in a Dragnet feature film released several years earlier while the first series was on the air. Those movie fights were the only time, aside from a second season episode in this series, where Friday actually got physical with a suspect.

The YouTube poster incorrectly identified the date of the movie, likely to throw off the copyright police.

Had this aired when it was supposed to, the type-face on the logo would've matched the one used in seasons 1-2 of the revival.

Rating: A-.

High School Fridays: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake @ Troy (football), 10/26/18

The signs have been there all season. A porous run defense. Not enough varsity experience on either side of the ball. Costly penalties at inopportune times. Sooner or later, Bob (The Builder) Burns' luck was going to run out.

Then, the Spartans of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake came to town.

Historically, Troy High hasn't been able to shake the collective monkey in maroon & white off their backs. On a cold, blustery late October night, reality finally sank in for Troy High Nation. Not even MacGyver could save the season.

Burnt Hills won the opening coin toss, and deferred. Normally, that means they've made a mistake, but if there's one thing that sets Matt Shell's club apart from other opponents, it's preparation. They knew Troy's tendencies. They knew Troy's system, and were prepared for all of Burns' tricks. A stout defense kept Troy off the board, the offense barely able to even cross midfield.

After a scoreless first quarter, Burnt Hills senior D'Andre "DJ" Lashley scampered 11 yards into the end zone for the first score of the game in the second quarter. Ghaith Shahin added the extra point, and the Spartans went into the break with a 7-0 lead. Troy had a bit of a scare late in the quarter, as sophomore QB Alex Wolfe went down with a knee injury. On the very next play, senior Michael Fazio's pass was picked off, but the Spartans couldn't capitalize, and ended up punting.

Just 28 seconds into the 3rd quarter, Burnt Hills struck again. This time, Jakai Townsend found a seam down the left sideline and raced to paydirt to make it 14-0. Halfway through the period, Lashley scored again, and fans began heading for the exits. On the Troy side. Down 21-0 with 1 1/2 quarters to go, Troy needed a miracle, but on the next possession, they fumbled back to Burnt Hills.

Troy managed two garbage time scores late, but opted to go for 2 each time, and failed to convert. Burnt Hills goes on to the Class A Super Bowl with a 35-12 win, ending Troy's 20 game home winning streak under Burns. Troy finishes 7-2 on the season.

It'll be a battle of the Spartans for the Class A title----again----next Saturday at Shenendehowa. Queensbury gave up home field advantage for their game vs. Averill Park, which was moved to tonight due to weather issues in the North Country. The Warriors also finish 7-2, as Queensbury blew them away, 52-18. The game was moved to a neutral site---Schuylerville---but had no bearing on the outcome.

If there is any consolation for Troy, their JV team won the Class A Super Bowl last night, also at Picken Field, knocking off Burnt Hills, 36-0. Many of those JV players will likely be on the varsity next year, reloading the Flying Horses to start a new streak. Beware, Section 2. Troy will be back.

Somehow, we should've known something like this would happen

Over the last four days, several pipe bombs have been uncovered in New York, Florida, & California, most of which bore the return address of one of its targets, former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on the packages.

The most high profile targets have been former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, who had two packages ticketed to him, former Attorney General Eric Holder, and actor Robert DeNiro, who famously lambasted President Trump at the Tony Awards back in June.

It is now believed that the packages were shipped from somewhere in Florida, using the Schultz address to conceal the sender's true identity. The first target was George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who has since been falsely accused by Trumpian sheep of funding a caravan of migrant families traveling toward the US-Mexico border this week.

Predictably, after supporting Vice President Pence, President Trump scapegoated the media, which only adds more fuel to the fire for his critics, who buy into the media perception of Trump as a 70-something man-child who throws tantrums via Twitter (hence, Twantrums) when he feels offended. He'll tell you he's not at fault.

Directly, no, he's not. Indirectly? That's another story.

Trump's voter base, mostly in the Midwest, the South, and suburban areas in between, consists of white folks frustrated over eight years of the Obama administration, upset that, 10 years ago, America elected its first African-American President.

I didn't vote for Obama in 2008 or 2012. I didn't vote for Trump, either. I do, however, respect the office of the President. What Trump fails to understand is that within his voter base are a few extremists who, without the President's blessing, will try something like this, thinking that's what he would want.

No, he wouldn't.

Trump publicly condemned the bomb mailings before going back to ripping the media a few unnecessary new ones. Whomever sent the bombs is acting on his/her/their own, independent of the President, and absent of their own mind(s). Nothing's been said to explain why this happened, and that, really, only makes things worse, because the longer this extremist(s) is out there, the greater the chance he/she/they could try again.

Deep down, we should've seen this coming. The voter base doesn't see the real Donald Trump, just the guy who was the front man on The Apprentice, and Trump is using that act far longer than he should.

Wake up, Mr. President. You might not realize it now, but ultimately, blood may be on your hands because one or more of your nuttier supporters got off the grid. Nobody's died----yet----but that doesn't mean anyone will at the end of this.

Updated, 12:59 pm (ET): Florida police have arrested Cesar Sayoc, Jr., 56, in connection with the bombs. They also confiscated a white van plastered with an assortment of Presidential and pro-Trump stickers, and covered the vehicle with blue tarp. A typical case of a quiet guy that no one suspected would try something like this. As you could tell from the stickers, Sayoc is a registered Republican who has also lived in New York and North Carolina.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Old Time Radio: Halloween with the Shadow (1940)

Ghost towns are commonplace in literature, television, & radio. We venture into the latter arena for a 1940 episode of The Shadow, with Bill Johnstone essaying the title role. Here's "Ghost Town":

Y'think maybe tales like these inspired the likes of Scooby-Doo nearly 30 years later?

Rating: A.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Google salutes Mister Rogers (2018)

PBS icon Fred Rogers wrote & recorded "Did You Know?" many years ago, performed on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as early as 1984, but perhaps sooner than that. Anyway, after posting a doodle of Rogers on their home page last month, Google is using "Did You Know?" as part of their current advertising campaign....

The Giants are moving players, but not the one that absolutely has to go

When Eli Manning was drafted by San Diego, then traded to the Giants, in 2004, I felt like the Giants should've used Three Dog Night's "Eli's Coming" to promote his pending arrival.

Fourteen years later, Manning feels now like the punch-drunk fighter lingering on too long. At least his brother, Peyton, knew when to hang up the cleats, although he still needs acting lessons, if his annoying Nationwide Insurance ads with Brad Paisley are any indication. The Giants are 1-6, most likely won't make the playoffs---again---and the team is starting to make wholesale changes at every position except the most important one.

2015 draft pick Ereck Flowers was cut a few weeks back, and has since signed with Jacksonville. In the last two days, the Giants have parted with a pair of defensive players. Eli Apple, a 1st round pick in 2016, was shipped to New Orleans for draft picks. Yesterday, defensive lineman Damon "Snacks" Harrison was sent to Detroit for draft picks. Kyle Lauletta, a rookie drafted out of Richmond, was inactive in Monday's loss to Atlanta. Last year's backup, Davis Webb, at last check, was on the Jets' practice squad.

People were complaining during baseball season about the Mets keeping an over-the-hill Jose Reyes on the roster, rather than bring up a top prospect. It's pretty much the same thing with Eli. Now in his 15th season, Manning isn't the same quarterback who led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins over the hated New England Patriots. The offensive line, despite changes in the offseason, including signing ex-Patriot Nate Solder as a free agent, is still a sieve. Management is stubbornly too loyal to Manning, as the Mets were to Reyes, to put him on the bench in favor of Lauletta. When Ben McAdoo tried to bench Manning last season, it ultimately led to his dismissal. Current coach Pat Shurmur, whose son, Kyle, is a QB at Vanderbilt, has said Manning's not going anywhere.

Wrong answer, Pat. For the good of the team, Manning has to cede some playing time. The team's stubborn loyalty led to Webb, and before him, Ryan Nassib, being run off. Lauletta could suffer the same fate if nothing is done over the final ten weeks of the season.

For all the hype surrounding this year's first round pick, Saquon Barkley of Penn State, it's been negated by the team's poor performance. Poor decision making cost them Monday night against Atlanta, and, truth be told, it won't get any easier against the Washington Trumpets on Sunday.

Ownership dismissed GM Jerry Reese last year, and brought Dave Gettleman in from Carolina. That hasn't solved anything. Receiver and shampoo salesman Odell Beckham, Jr. played the diva card and got a big pay raise. Unfortunately, that hasn't translated so well on the field nearly halfway through the season.

Beckham, for now, and Barkley, as well as 3rd year receiver Sterling Shepard, are untouchable. They need a QB with a fresh perspective to throw to them.

Kyle Shurmur, the coach's son, will be in the draft next year. I'd say pops is waiting to bring him in, then figure out what to do with Eli, who caddied Kurt Warner before taking the starting job all those years ago. Here's an idea. Pull the plug. Now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Celebrity Rock: The Beatles, a la The Kopykats.....and Raymond Burr? (1972)

Oh, this was too good to resist.

Here's a skit/musical number from The Kopykats. The cast, save for Rich Little for some reason, perform a medley of Beatles songs, culminating in host du jour Raymond Burr (Ironside) simply reciting lyrics from "Eleanor Rigby". They could've just as easily gotten Orson Welles for that.

Among the highlights: George Kirby as Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey, & Ray Charles. Marilyn Michaels (w/black wig) as Eydie Gorme. Frank Gorshin as Tony Bennett & Dean Martin. Fred Travalena gets it started, via trick photography, as John Lennon & Paul McCartney......

Try this out at your next Halloween party.

The roots of a play: Into The River I Went (2018)

Troy Foundry Theatre's latest Dark Day Monday presentation brought the troupe back to downtown on Monday with a reading of Nelson Diaz-Marcano's Into The River I Went, a one act play that mixes socio-political commentary with psychological drama.

The story focuses on a newly engaged couple who are preparing to attend a birthday party for the groom-to-be's father. Ben (Ben Williamson) & Raquel (Celena Vera Morgan) have to also deal with Ben's sister, Janet, whose beau, Timmy, is returning home from a recent hitch in the military. However, there is a dark undertone that rises, threatening to turn what is supposed to be a joyous occasion into chaos. It seems Timmy (Tom Templeton) and Raquel have a shared history.........

Diaz-Marcano could not attend the reading, attending to a family emergency back in New York, and would've been thrilled with the packed house that remained riveted to the reading of his play. As with other TFT productions I've seen, the twists and turns in the plot are such that would catch the viewer off-guard with a clear "AHA!" moment or three. Rod Serling would've been very proud.

The site of the program, the Superior Merchandise Company, is a coffeehouse situated in a suddenly very busy section of downtown, with a parking lot separating it from Scarlet Seven Gallery, which hosted a TFT reading earlier this year.

Rating: A.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

The World Series  begins tomorrow, and it will be a 1st time ever matchup of two storied franchises.

The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't won it all since 1988. Three years ago, Kansas City marked the 30th anniversary of their first title by beating the Mets in 5 games. Current Dodger manager Dave Roberts was a part of Boston's 2004 championship team. Current Red Sox skipper Alex Cora won his first ring in 2007, and was a bench coach with Houston last year. Cora was a Dodger in 2004, as was Roberts, before Roberts was traded that summer.

Roberts is still a fan favorite with BoSox fans, 14 years later, but now he comes in enemy colors, hoping to end a 30 year draught. Boston is looking for their 4th title in a 15 year span. Almost Yankee-esque, if you will.

Chris Sale will start game 1 for Boston. Los Angeles almost surely will counter with Clayton Kershaw. The offenses are similar in design. Cora is toying with the idea of having star outfielder Mookie Betts play second base in place of Ian Kinsler when the series shifts to Dodger Stadium on Friday, in order to accomodate J. D. Martinez, who otherwise wouldn't be able to play in LA, as he's been used mostly as a DH in the playoffs.

Martinez is not the only ex-Tri City Valleycat playing in this series. Enrique "Kiki" Hernandez was in the Fall Classic last year with the Dodgers, and figures to see some time in this series.

The Dodgers survived an NLCS against Milwaukee that illustrated just how an over-reliance on baseball's sudden addiction to analytics can hurt a team. Brewer manager Craig Counsell got too cute with his pitching moves too often, and it finally bit him on Saturday. Boston dismissed Houston in 5 games, when it could've easily been the other way around, but A. J. Hinch forgot how his team won it all last year. Cora has not been afraid to use his starters in relief roles between starts (i.e. Sale, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi), and so far, it's worked.

Three years ago, the Royals won it all when they played their second consecutive series (lost to San Francisco in 2014). The Dodgers are here for the 2nd straight year. Do I have to paint this any further?

The pick: Dodgers in 7.
If you're a WWE fan, this hurts.

Roman Reigns (real name Leati Joseph Anoai) vacated the WWE Universal title tonight due to a recurrence of lukemia. Reigns opened Monday Night Raw with this:

Originally, Reigns was to defend vs. former champ Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel on November 2. Now, Lesnar and Strowman will be by themselves, unless someone like, say for example, Drew McIntyre, is added to the mix before then.

Now that I think of it, this may just explain why Strowman's partnership with McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler imploded a week ago. WWE must've known something was up with Reigns, who missed house shows all weekend, which would explain why Strowman was being turned back babyface, and he's not alone.

Also tonight, Elias, the troubadour who had been a heel since being called up from NXT, was being posited as a face against acting GM Baron Corbin, who demanded that Elias leave the ring instead of performing a song. Elias, in real life, was a musician before turning to wrestling, and even took the time to do a cover of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away" (also the name of Elias' spinning neckbreaker finisher) while in New Orleans back in March during the run-up to Wrestlemania. Corbin's run as GM may be coming to an end soon, but that's a story for another time. WWE needed to shore up the babyface side of the Raw roster, knowing that Reigns will be out indefinitely, throwing whatever long term plans the company had down the tubes.

Stay tuned.

What Might've Been: The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters (1972)

I've been looking for this one for a while.

The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters, often sponsored by Chevrolet, as memory serves, lasted two seasons in syndication (1972-4), and was a rare non-Dean Martin program produced by Greg Garrison. Winters' gift for improvisation fueled this half hour show, and, yes, all the usual suspects, insofar as his repertoire of characters (i.e. Maudie Frickert, Elwood P. Suggins, etc.) would turn up from time to time.

Locally, the then-ABC affilate (now an NBC affiliate) carried Wacky World. During the first year, Winters also turned up, along with Maudie, in an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. His earlier, self-titled variety show aired on CBS a few years earlier.

Following is a sample clip with special guest Orson Welles introducing the show and the opening skit.

Winters inspired at least two generations of comedians, including Robin Williams, with whom he co-starred on Mork & Mindy in the series' final season (1981-2). It's a shame that there is so little of this gem available online.

Rating: A.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Creepy TV: The Vampire (Kolchak, The Night Stalker, 1974)

This episode of Kolchak, The Night Stalker is a direct sequel to the first Night Stalker movie, as one of the victims of the vampire in that film has returned. Larry Storch (ex-F-Troop) appears briefly in the early part of the show.

Here's "The Vampire":

Consider this conundrum. Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows) produced the TV-movies, which ABC still owns, but the series was farmed out to Universal. Producer Cy Chermak (Ironside, The Bold Ones) left the studio, and went to Paramount the next year as a producer on another ABC show, Barbary Coast, which, like Night Stalker, lasted one season.

Rating: B.

Rockin' Funnies: Goodbye Earl (2000)

The Dixie Chicks' cover of "Goodbye Earl", the 3rd single from "Fly", peaked at #13 on the country chart in 2000. You couldn't escape the video, which was in heavy airplay on CMT. Jane Krakowski (Ally McBeal), Adrian Pasdar, and Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue) are among the guest stars, with Franz in the title role.

The absurdity of it all is the dance sequence in the finale, meant to parody Michael Jackson's "Thriller", right down to Franz, whose character was killed off, joining the rest of the cast in the town square.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

What Might've Been: The Invisible Man (1975)

H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man was adapted for television a second time, this time in the US, and, as we alluded to in reviewing the British series, it didn't last.

Harve Bennett (The Six Million Dollar Man) adapted Wells' novel, this time with a scientist, Daniel Weston (David McCallum, ex-The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), who's experimenting with invisibility for noble purposes, not realizing his employers have a contract with the government. When his boss, Walter Carlson, decides to give Weston's formula to the military, Weston turns himself invisible, but the process is unstable......

The pilot aired in the spring of 1975, with Jackie Cooper (ex-Hennessey) as Carlson. When NBC picked up the series, Cooper was replaced by Craig Stevens (ex-Peter Gunn). Henry Darrow (ex-High Chaparral) appeared in the pilot as Dr. Maggio, a plastic surgeon and friend of Weston. Maggio only appeared one other time, with Charles Aidman taking over the role.

This is a portion of the show intro:

Other creative personnel on the show included Leslie Stevens (ex-The Outer Limits, Search) and a future icon in Steven Bochco.

So where did it go wrong? Wrong night of the week. NBC slotted it on Mondays, opposite Rhoda & Phyllis on CBS, which also dismantled ABC's Barbary Coast. Ballgame over.

It was fun while it lasted.

Rating: B.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Musical Interlude: King of Pain (1983-4)

"King of Pain" was the 4th & final single off the Police's 1983 album, "Synchronicity". The Australian series, Countdown, practically demanded a video for this track. While the band doesn't physically appear, aside from various photos and footage of Sting from "Every Breath You Take", this clip basically serviced the needs of the Australian audience. I'm not sure if there was one made for MTV consumption.

High School Fridays: Scotia-Glenville @ Troy (football), 10/19/18

When this season began, it could've been argued, as we've discussed, that Troy looked past Schalmont toward their week 2 match with Amsterdam. Troy lost that night, then ran the table.

However, that nightmare scenario nearly played itself out a second time.

Troy, the #1 seed in the Class A Capital Division, welcomed the #4 seed in the Grasso Division, Scotia-Glenville, to Picken Field in a quarter-final matchup tonight. At first, it seemed as though Troy had their focus.

Just two plays into the game, Troy struck first, as Ari Holmes dashed 61 yards to paydirt. Michael Fazio, pressed into service to handle the kicking duties after a broken ankle ended Max Ellis' season last week, converted the PAT, and Troy had a 7-0 lead just 40 seconds into the game.

Then, the defenses took over. Troy's next possession ended at the Scotia 5 yard line when Alex Wolfe was intercepted. A subsequent Troy possession ended with Scotia taking over on downs at their 16. Troy didn't score again until Wolfe hit Makai (Don't Be) Cruel with a 7 yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds left in the first half. 14-0, Troy, at the break.

In the third quarter, Scotia gave Troy a taste of their own medicine, when David Frezone hit Jason Carusone for a 79 yard TD to cut the lead in half at 14-7, less than a minute into the second half.

Frezone had a chance to be a hero after Scotia recovered a Wolfe fumble with around a minute left in regulation. Under 30 seconds left, Frezone had Scotia looking at 1st & goal at the Troy 7. A false start on second down moved the ball to the Troy 12, but Frezone couldn't cash it in, as his 3rd & 4th down passes fell incomplete, and Troy moves on with a 14-7 win.

Both teams were sloppy on both sides of the ball. Troy had three turnovers, total, to Scotia's one, and both sides had penalty issues, including a pair of questionable pass interference calls on Troy, neither of which hurt the Flying Horses. Job one for coach Bob Burns and his staff, beginning tomorrow, is to tighten things up on defense, but that may be a bit of a problem. Star RB/DB Xavier Leigh came out of the game in the second quarter with what looked like a sprained ankle, making him at the very least questionable for the semi-final round game next week.

Making matters worse for Troy is that, as expected, their semi-final opponent will be old nemesis Burnt Hills, which eliminated Columbia earlier tonight. Averill Park defeated Ballston Spa, 22-0, to advance. They'll face the winner of tomorrow's LaSalle-Queensbury game. Burnt Hills has historically owned Troy. You can count on a hand and leave room for some fingers the number of wins Troy has earned over Matt Shell's Spartans.

Maybe Coach Burns should call in the Ghostbusters if all else fails.

Sports this 'n' that

Soccer season officially ended at Troy High on Wednesday afternoon, as the boys' team was shown the door in the first round by Ballston Spa, 4-2. At least, this time, the Flying Horses scored. The Scotties shut out Troy, 7-0, in the season opener for both clubs on August 28. The game ended less than 24 hours after the Troy women absorbed their third shutout loss in four days, falling to Lansingburgh, 3-0, and exiting the women's sectionals in the first round as well.

The boys finish an unsightly 0-15-2. The women close at 3-14. Gee, y'don't suppose the girls could've beaten the boys in a co-ed scrimmage, do you?
Speaking of Lansingburgh, the football Knights snapped their losing streak, becoming the latest Class B team to beat a Class A team, blowing away Mohonasen, 42-12, Thursday night.

Now, all they need on the north side is to amend the school district budget so Lansingburgh can have cheerleaders, a band, and a JV program for football for 2019. Otherwise, the lean times will continue.
There will not be a repeat winner in the World Series this year.

Boston made sure of that by eliminating Houston, 4-1, on Thursday. However, people were still talking about what happened in Wednesday's game.

If you missed it, Houston's Jose Altuve was called out for fan interference on what would've been a game-tying 2 run homer in the first off Boston's Rick Porcello. Umpire Joe West made the initial out call, but wasn't 100% sure, so he decided to let replay resolve the issue. The call was confirmed.

What Major League Baseball didn't want to have happen was a repeat of the Jeffrey Maier incident in the 1996 ALDS between Baltimore and the Yankees. Maier, 12 at the time, caught a home run ball that could easily have been called fan interference. The Orioles' Tony Tarasco argued the call in vain.

Look, I get that fans are always reaching for souveneirs either to keep or later sell on eBay. This time of year, though, is when the games mean way more than they do in the regular season, and every play is magnified. Here's a tip to Joe & Jane Fan for the rest of the month. Let the ball come to you. Don't make a play for the ball if a fielder is doing that. Your next game could be in the comfort of your living room if you do.

Meanwhile, supermodel Kate Upton, whose husband, Houston ace Justin Verlander, took the loss last night, claimed on social media that MLB was rigging the series to ensure that Boston would advance, the idea being that the Red Sox bring more ratings. Didn't hear anything of the sort last year when Houston ousted the East Coast's other marquee draw, the Yankees.

If Los Angeles eliminates Milwaukee tonight, they'll start drawing comparisons to the NBA Finals rivalry of the Celtics & Lakers from back in the day.

As for Kate, I'd say it's time to go back to selling video games.
A wire service report touted how there've been a few more closer games in the NFL this season. Of course, it appeared in El Cheapo Media today, well after Denver blew away Arizona, 45-10, last night. Arizona rookie Josh Rosen was victimized for a pair of Pick-6's (interceptions returned for TD's) in the first quarter, and the Cardinals, once one of the contenders in the NFC, fell to 1-6.

The Albany Times-Union's panel of media handicappers weren't thinking clearly, except for high school reporter James Allen, who was the only panelist to pick the Broncos. Everyone else went with Arizona.
It amuses me that, in order to create tension for a women's title match at WWE's Evolution show on October 28, they had the Bella Twins (Total Bellas, Total Divas) turn against current Raw women's champion Ronda Rousey, then claim that she stole their spotlight.

Sorry, but the drama queen act of the Arizona natives wore thin a long, long time ago, well before they decided to return and, as Rousey herself asserted on Monday, leech off her. The Bellas (Nicole Garcia & Brianna Garcia-Danielson) are the WWE's answer to the Kardashian sisters, who also occupy space on E!'s programming roster. While another ex-champion, Alexa Bliss, may or may not be 100% ready, hence being placed in a tag team match on the card with on-again-off-again bestie (and another ex-champ herself) Mickie James vs. Hall of Famers Lita (Amy Dumas) & Trish Stratus, WWE could've given the title match rub to someone more deserving, but, to paraphrase an old cliche, familiarity breeds ticket sales. The trend in show business today is people are seemingly more interested in pre-sold product, hence all these revivals & reboots in movies & television popping up like an epidemic of pimples.

It may be just me, but it might be in WWE's best interest to have Rousey squash both twins like the bugs they are. Not leeches, mind you, but, well, roaches........
I have to get this in.

In Florida, they have field marshals for some soccer games, something that I don't see at Troy High, just school security. Anyway, one overzealous, and that's putting it kindly, "field marshal" mistakenly determined that a parent of a soccer player "posed a threat", when all the parent was doing was admonishing his son for questioning a referee's call. The parent is an African-American. The "field marshal" is a white female dubbed "Golfcart Gail" (real name not disclosed). The local athletic commission in the area sided with this nothing happening busybody, and she's getting slammed online, and rightfully so, for misreading the situation, seemingly on purpose. Police were called, but the parent left the pitch on his own accord, grateful for being cleared of a false accusation created by a woman with a hidden agenda. Shame on the athletic commission that allowed her to get away with filing a false report.