Saturday, December 31, 2011

Musical Interlude: Same Old Lang Syne (1981)

On New Year's Eve, I thought this might be an appropriate song to play.

Dan Fogelberg (1951-2007) was emerging as one of the most prominent singer-songwriters of the 80's when he released "Same Old Lang Syne" on his 1981 album, "The Innocent Age". Fogelberg had charted previously with "Longer", and would have more Top 40 hits afterward with the likes of "Missing You" & "Leader of the Band".

Here's the rarely seen original video, with karaoke lyrics in English & Spanish:

Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Classic TV: That Girl (1966)

Look what's coming to Me-TV starting Monday:

The premise was as simple as could be. Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas) is a struggling actress living in New York and hoping for her big break, like so many others. Her long-suffering boyfriend, Don Hollinger (Ted Bessell, ex-Gomer Pyle, USMC) is a magazine writer who has to double as Ann's conscience when she gets in over her head. Which happens pretty often.

Despite the success of That Girl, Marlo Thomas never landed another series. Instead, she opted to move behind the scenes, and her last TV gig of note was Free To Be.....You & Me, a 1-shot special, which, like That Girl, aired on ABC, and featured an eclectic lineup of stars, including Alan Alda (M*A*S*H), football player-turned-actor Roosevelt Grier (ex-Daniel Boone), and Michael Jackson, in one of his first appearances without his brothers. Free To Be last aired on TV Land a number of years back, and hasn't seen the light of day since. Then again, neither had That Girl, until Me-TV acquired the series for its primetime lineup.

As for Ted Bessell, he had one other series, the ill-fated Me & The Chimp (1971), and after a TV-movie or two, he wasn't heard from much again. It's worth noting, too, that the ensemble cast also included Bernie Kopell, who otherwise was appearing frequently on Get Smart, and welcomed the opportunity to play a more likeable character. Of course, Kopell cemented his icon status on The Love Boat a decade later, but that's another story for another time.

Rating: A-.

Monday, December 26, 2011

When hamsters & soldiers boogie together (2011)

If you thought Kia's hamster mascots lip-synching to Black Sheep was wack, well, as the late Al Jolson famously put it, you ain't seen nothin' yet!

Kia's latest ad campaign for the Soul premiered during the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this year, and a shorter version aired during sports programming over Christmas weekend. The hamsters roll into a battle zone, and the fighting stops just so everybody can go all Wang Chung, or in this case, LMFAO, and get down with their bad selves, to the tune of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem".

As Black Sheep put it, doo dah dippity.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You (1981)

MTV's 1st Christmas video in 1981 was "Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You", by Billy Squier, who had a huge hit earlier in the year with "The Stroke". Unfortunately, Billy didn't score too many more hits after that, and faded from the scene within a couple of years. The video was shot at the MTV studio in New York, with Billy flanked by Nina Blackwood and the late JJ Jackson. You can find the rest of the gang, I'm sure. VH1 Classic has played this video in recent years, and that's where HolidayFavorites found his copy of the clip to upload to YouTube...........

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Children Go Where I Send Thee (2006)

Last year at this time, I posted a clip of Tennessee Ernie Ford's rendition of "Children Go Where I Send Thee". This time, I've got a more up-tempo cover, as recorded by Daryl Hall & John Oates on a Christmas CD they released in 2006. The following clip comes from the web series, Live From Daryl's House. I can picture church choirs choosing this version pretty easily......

Countdown to Christmas: Everlast (2011)

Everlast is a hardcover graphic novel, set in a pre-apocalyptic future, and written by actor Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) in his comics debut. For all the press that has accompanied other Hollywood personalities, most notably actor-director Kevin Smith, when they've crossed over to comics, Murray has managed to fly under the radar. Maybe that's because Everlast isn't being published by either Marvel or DC. Instead, it's an independent release that landed in stores a week ago.

The title character, Derek Everlast, has been sent to retrieve a number of souls to protect them from the end times, but has his own issues to deal with at the same time. While I disagree with the use of coarse language in the dialogue, I realize that there is potential here for Murray to shop this around for a possible feature film. In that regard, Everlast would fall right into line with films such as "Priest", which came out earlier this year, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's "End of Days". Where I also find fault is the use of five different, distinct artists, including Trevor Hairsine and Daniel Zezelj, which denies the tome artistic continuity. It's partially painted, partially hand drawn, depending on the artist. From an artistic standpoint, the book does get better as the story goes along, especially in the scenes set in "Haven" (a representation of Heaven, naturally), which are beautifully painted. The story ends early, allowing for a second, shorter, prose tale by Murray to full the remaining pages.

I shan't be surprised at all if Murray is able to sell Everlast to a studio, say, for example, Dimension Films, and see it released within the next couple of years.

Ratiing: B--.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Weasel of the Week: James Dolan

James Dolan, owner of Cablevision in New York City, is perhaps the most despised man in the 5 boroughs. For one thing, Dolan, who also owns Madison Square Garden and its two winter tenants, the New York Rangers & Knicks, along with the accompanying MSG cable network, just loves to play a dangerous game of chicken with cable operators & subscribers.

Between now and January 1, Time Warner Cable subscribers in all of New York will see ads, both on television and in print, from both sides of the latest dispute between Time Warner and Dolan, who is threatening to pull MSG & MSG-Plus (formerly Fox Sports Net-New York) if the cable operator doesn't agree to a 53% increase in carriage fees, which, naturally, would translate into higher bills for subscribers. Time Warner has already pulled another Dolan-owned channel, Fuse, a music channel, due to low ratings & interest, and claims that decision is unrelated to the dispute over MSG Networks.

Dolan, who moonlights as a garage rocker on selected weekends, doesn't care about the subscribers. He wants to soak the cable and/or satellite companies for as much as possible, but jacking up rates by more than 50% is just flat wrong. That smacks of corporate greed, and we, the consumers, get hosed. The clock is ticking. If Time Warner doesn't meet Dolan's demands come January 1, the MSG channels are gone. To take it a step further, down the line, AMC (American Movie Classics), could be next to go simply because---wait for it---it, too, is owned by Dolan. There has to be a compromise somewhere. Dolan is trying to recoup losses from the NBA lockout, which saw a Knicks pre-season game, scheduled for the Times Union Center, cancelled back in October. He's going about it the wrong way, and there's no other recourse on Christmas week than to give him a 2nd set of weasel ears. This jabroni makes the Grinch look like a saint!

Countdown to Christmas: The Hanukkah Song (1996)

While he was a regular on Remote Control, Adam Sandler would return at the end of an episode with a bass guitar to sit in with the show's musical director/keyboard player, Steve Treccase. Who'd ever think that a decade later, he'd create an enduring holiday novelty classic?

Well, he did, in 1996, when he first unleashed "The Hanukkah Song", released on the CD, "What the Hell Happened to Me?". The tune's been updated a couple of times since, but here's a clip from Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update segment, with an intro by Norm McDonald:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Videos From The High School Years: Tusk (1980)

I originally had posted the original video for Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" earlier this year, but in revisiting the archives a little while ago, I discovered that said video is no longer available, so that entire post was taken down.

Edit, 3/29/20: I have the full video as it was originally intended, pulled from a Fleetwood Mac fan channel:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: What do you think Santa does for a living during the "off-season"? (2011)

Chevrolet came up with a clever ad campaign for the Christmas shopping season, positing Santa as a salesman named----wait for it----Nick (as in, St. Nicholas). Three spots have aired so far, and this one is a longer version than we've seen on TV:

A tale of two games, and the ignorance of hometown press

The high school basketball season is less than a month old, and one of the early surprises in Section 2 in my home district happens to be my alma mater, Troy High. However, you wouldn't really know that if you read the hometown paper.

Entering the weekend, Troy was 3-0, and was on the road to play crosstown rival Catholic Central. Once upon a time, these two schools were not only among the elite in their league, but bitter rivals. The rivalry is still there, but it isn't what it used to be. Catholic Central brought back a name from the glory days of the past, Chuck Mack, as their new head coach, and Friday's game had a storyline that sold itself, assuming the rivalry remained intense, on the order of, say for example, Yankees-Red Sox in baseball, or Texas-Oklahoma in college football. Mack's first major test was against an in-city rival, and he failed, as Troy demolished Catholic Central by a whopping 62 points.

All that got the next day was a small, two paragraph mention, with the box score on the next page.

But what was really galling was a game that should also have been a marquee matchup, but not a word was written about it in Saturday's edition. Less than 24 hours after the blowout of Catholic Central, Troy was on the road again, traveling all the way to Queens to play one of the elite teams in the entire state, perennial New York City power Christ the King. Troy's season-opening 4 game win streak was snapped at the hands of the Royals, 58-56, a nail-biting thriller to be sure, and the article in Sunday's edition dwarfed the account of the Troy-Catholic Central game, but there was no box score to be had.

The story, again, sold itself. Troy, under first-year coach Rich Hurley, the former head man at Bishop Maginn, was getting its first test against a school outside their region, and they took the Royals to the limit. No reporter was credited for filing the account of the Troy-CTK game, but this was an occasion, as was the case the night before, that required, nay, demanded, fuller press coverage than it got. Did the other local papers cover it? I cannot say for sure, but I have to imagine the answer to that would be yes.

The problem with the Record is its lack of financial resources. Unlike its local rivals, such as the Albany Times-Union, it doesn't have the manpower to send someone on the road with all of the sports teams in the area. Granted, the T-U doesn't always have a beat reporter on the road, either, but that lack of finances also disables the journalistic instincts of its sportswriters. 20 years ago, a game between Troy & Christ the King, were Troy among the area's basketball elite, would've gotten major play from all of the area's papers. Today, it isn't considered newsworthy enough for the Record to promote it pre-game. That's a shame. What if Christ the King returns the favor and comes to Troy next year? Then what? We'll have to wait & see, but a lesson should already have been learned.

There's an old cliche that says you don't let facts get in the way of a good story. In truth, you can't let a story go by that needs to be told, no matter what, and this weekend, two of them were ignored for all the wrong reasons.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Zat You, Santa Claus? (1987)

Lounge lizard Buster Poindexter, the alter-ego of actor-singer David Johansen (New York Dolls), was a hot ticket in 1987. Literally. "Hot Hot Hot", though, was the peak of Buster's run, which capped a couple of years later with a cover of Ray Charles' "Hit the Road, Jack" for the movie, "The Dream Team".

In December of '87, Poindexter was chosen to record MTV's annual Christmas single. "Zat You Santa Claus" features the obligatory cameo by MTV personnel of the period, but it also represented the beginning of the end of that annual tradition.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: All I Want For Christmas is You (1994)

Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You" gained a ton of heavy airplay on MTV beginning with its initial release in 1994. The reasons are, I think, rather obvious. Uploaded by the artist's VEVO channel.

Enough said.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weasel of the Week: David Stern

The NBA Commissioner certainly deserves weasel ears, and maybe a tail, too, for manipulating the course of events that sent All-Star Chris Paul from New Orleans to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week.

The pundits will tell you that Stern was afraid that the Clippers' co-tenants at the Staples Center, the almighty Lakers, would become the West Coast answer to the Miami Heat by stockpiling superstar players. Apparently, Stern wasn't paying attention in June when the Heat choked away a 2-0 lead in games to Dallas, as the Mavericks collected a receipt on Miami for a similar result going the other way 5 years earlier. He hasn't paid attention to the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, whose title aspirations are on life support after free agent pickup Vince Young declared them to be a "dream team". In essence, the Eagles and baseball's Phillies were trying to copy the Heat's formula. All have failed when it has really mattered up to this point.

Where Stern has gone wrong is having the league as a de facto owner for the Hornets, while taking forever and a week to find new ownership. Hey, it could be worse. Stern could always contact his baseball counterpart, used car salesman Allan "Bud" Selig for advice. Lord only knows if he actually did, considering Selig hasn't exactly been the smartest of executives since he took office.

As long as the Hornets remain under league stewardship, shall we say, they're going to repeatedly get screwed over until Stern finds someone to buy the team. If you think the NBA has a black eye now, just wait. They may be facing the equivalent of a standing 8 count in boxing before this is over, and they only have themselves to blame.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Dunce Cap Award: David Caton

I have not seen the TLC reality series, All American Muslim, but the negative press it has gotten from conservative Christian media outlets bothers me. I happen to be a Christian myself, but not of the conservative stripe that mixes jingoism with paranoia about the Muslim faith, and thus fosters an atmosphere of haterizing toward the Muslims, just as the radical sector of the Muslims have that same atmosphere developed against the US and its allies. As the old saying goes, two wrongs don't make a right.

All American Muslim, according to articles reprinted on the website of the conservative Florida Family Association, presents the image of Muslim-Americans as average folks, and not the subversive, anti-American haterizers the conservatives despise. Well, guess what? There's not a hidden agenda to be found!

David Caton, Executive Director of the FFA, is another one of these conservative paranoids who have bought into the misplaced rhetoric that the Muslim Quran, their bible, preaches violence. That's not entirely true. The Quran is meant to preach peace, just like the Christian Bible, but its scriptures have been misinterpreted by anti-American types like the late Osama bin Laden, who felt wronged by this country and launched a campaign of hatred against the US.

Somehow, Caton and his followers have convinced several advertisers to boycott All American Muslim, but it's a case of the blind leading the blind. Meaning, Caton is ignoring the rational, real reason for the program, preferring instead to continue to perpetuate the misperception about the faith. What if the producers were able to interview someone like, say, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, easily one of the most famous Muslim-American athletes of our time? That would add credibility to the program, wouldn't it?

The Constitution allows us the freedoms of expression, speech, and religion. By perpetrating a campaign of hate against the Muslim faith when a television program is attempting to portray average Muslim-American citizens in a positive light, David Caton and the FFA are suppressing the latter. They're the ones with an agenda, not the producers of All American Muslim. For pulling the wool over so many eyes with his paranoid whining and raving, David Caton earns himself a Dunce Cap. To give him a set of weasel ears would be an insult. To weasels.

Musical Interlude: When We Stand Together (2011)

If you can't get the beat out of your head from Nickelback's latest, "When We Stand Together", from their new CD, "Here & Now", I can't say I'd blame you. The Canadian rockers performed this song live at the Grey Cup last month, and, just a few days later, on national television at halftime of the Lions-Packers game, which brought much consternation to certain of the populace in Detroit, as we've previously documented.

Last night, Nickleback appeared on WWE Tribute to the Troops to perform "Stand', along with "Burn it to the Ground", the current theme to Monday Night Raw. "Stand" also played over the loudspeakers when the troupe came out at the end of the show to do a meet & greet with the ringsiders.

Here's the official music video for "When We Stand Together".  Uploaded by----wait for it----NickelbackTV:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weasel of the Week: Scott Bennett

This is actually for the week ending yesterday, but I couldn't pass this up nonetheless.

Scott Bennett was afraid of losing his job for taking time off, presumably on an unpaid leave without official authorization. Must've used up all of his allotted vacation time for the year, I have to guess. Fearing for job security, though, doesn't give Bennett the right to pretend that his mother passed away in order to go on bereavement leave. But, that's exactly the scam he ran, and nearly got away with it.

I first read of this in Sunday's New York Daily News, and while I found this deserving to be filed in Chuck Shepherd's syndicated News of the Weird column, as I read further, I felt more disgusted with this idiot's tactics. He's not deserving of a Dunce Cap, mind you, just a set of weasel ears. The wire service account says his mom was understanding. Of what? Being told your son's pretending you died so he can get some extra money? No self-respecting working man would disrespect his mother like that.

We will give a dunce cap, however, to Randy Bartley, editor of the Jeffersonian Democrat, who accepted the fake obituary notice in good faith. Granted, he couldn't get any official confirmation, but where were his journalistic instincts? Sometimes, if it walks like a duck, that doesn't mean that it is a duck!

The Associated Press, which filed the story for national distribution, has been unable to locate Bennett. Gee, what a shock. Maybe, just maybe, the guy's got a guilty conscience after all. Enjoy the weasel ears, pal.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: White Christmas (1951)

The Irving Berlin-penned "White Christmas" is most associated with, of course, Bing Crosby. However, it has been covered by a number of artists of diverse talents as well. This clip presents a most unlikely candidate. One Lou Costello. As in, Abbott & Costello.

13jalopy uploaded this clip from The Colgate Comedy Hour to YouTube. Whodathunk?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On DVD: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011)

"Green Lantern: Emerald Knights" is the 2nd direct-to-video movie showcasing the Emerald Gladiator, and preceded the live-action "Green Lantern" by just a few weeks.

"Emerald Knights" is, at its core, an anthology, collecting short stories from the Tales of the Green Lantern Corps backup feature in Green Lantern back in the early-to-mid-80's, and adapting the original scripts by the likes of Dave Gibbons, Kevin O'Neill, and others into this full-length feature. Hal Jordan (Nathan Filion, Castle) relates most of the stories to one of the newest Lanterns, Arisia, who was, in fact, introduced to comics fans in a miniseries some 30 years ago.

Here's the trailer:

The film's cast also includes singer-actor Henry Rollins (as Kilowog), wrestling icon Roddy Piper, and Kelly Hu ("The Scorpion King"). The film does those short stories justice, and is, to be truthful, a better effort than the live-action movie. Nathan Filion is a lot more convincing as Hal Jordan than Ryan Reynolds was. Then again, that seems to be pretty easy to do.

Rating: A.

Musical Interlude: Feliz Navidad (1970)

Most fans know Jose Feliciano for composing and performing the theme to the 70's sitcom, Chico & The Man, but he was a well-respected recording artist long before then. In 1970, Feliciano recorded "Feliz Navidad", which, of course, is Spanish for "Merry Christmas". The bi-lingual carol has been a staple of the season ever since, and with good reason.

The flip side of the "Feliz" single was Feliciano's take on "The Little Drummer Boy", and that may be up soon if I can find it. Ognet uploaded this more recent vintage performance of "Feliz".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dobie Gray (1940-2011)

In many respects, Dobie Gray is considered a one hit wonder for his 1973 hit, "Drift Away", but that status is reserved for the Top 40 pop charts. Gray had some success on the other charts with other hits, including a cover of "The In Crowd". Gray passed away on Monday at 71 (some accounts have him at 69).

"Drift" re-entered the public consciousness in 2003, thanks to Uncle Kracker, who not only covered it, but invited Gray to sit in with him, reintroducing Gray to a new generation of listeners. JeffreychristisAlive uploaded the original 1973 version:

Rest in peace, Dobie.

Harry Morgan (1915-2011)

It has just come across the wires of the passing of character actor and television icon Harry Morgan at 96.

Morgan's television career extends all the way back to the medium's early years, and the sitcoms Pete & Gladys & December Bride, but he achieved iconic status as Officer Bill Gannon on Dragnet during the series' 2nd run on NBC (1967-70).

Shortly after that, Morgan landed another iconic series gig, cast as Colonel Sherman Potter on M*A*S*H after McLean Stevenson left the series. For Morgan, it was a return to his earlier years as a sitcom actor, although there were some lighter moments on Dragnet during his run there, too. Morgan's film credits included "The Ox-Bow Incident" and James Garner's "Support Your Local Gunfighter" & "Support Your Local Sheriff", in addition to two Dragnet features, one with Webb and the aforementioned satire.

Bank on this. There will be tribute marathons of either M*A*S*H or Dragnet, depending on the channel in your market, in honor of Morgan, probably no sooner than this weekend. I'd say check your local listings, but in these kind of cases, the cablers will clear their schedules on short notice.

Rest in peace, Harry.

The Dunce Cap Award: Alec Baldwin

The New York tabloids are having a field day this morning with the report that actor Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) got himself removed from an American Airlines flight bound for New York from Los Angeles. His crime? He was too involved in a word game on his iPad to follow instructions, and when confronted about it, raised a stink.

American's slogan used to be, "Something special in the air", back in the day. Today, the airline is in the midst of a bankruptcy filing, and the last thing they needed was someone like Baldwin, who has a reputation for putting his foot in his mouth, given his history of hostile, off-screen behavior, putting them on the front page.

Until this story broke online last night, I'd never heard of the game, "Words With Friends", or its maker, Zynga, which has to be happy for the free publicity, to be sure. With 2 1/2 weeks to go before Christmas, the most positive thing that Baldwin has done is put "Words With Friends" out there so that average folks can put it on their computers or iPads or iPhones. Just as long as they don't repeat his mistake and ignore airline rules about shutting down electronic devices whilst the plane is parked. That ignorance gets Baldwin, who is also one of three celebrity endorsers for Capital One Bank (along with Jimmy Fallon & Jerry Stiller), a Dunce Cap, because he shouldn't also have tried to use his star status to try to avoid disciplinary action.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday Night Raw: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, 12/5/11.

Ok, I wanted to start this as a regular piece over the summer, and stopped after 3 weeks. After the atrocity that was last night's Monday Night Raw, I had to vent.

I've been saying this for a long time, and it bears repeating. The creative staff, because they are not being properly or formally trained in wrestling psychology, falls into streaks of ineptitude in putting the show together. Last night was one of those bad nights.

Executive VP/Talent Relations & acting GM John Laurinitis made a series of matches to determine who'd face CM Punk at the TLC pay-per-view on December 18. The underlying theme was to illustrate just how crooked he is.

Match 1: The Miz (Michael Mizanin) def. Randy Orton via countout due to interference from Wade Barrett.

The Problem: Barrett, who had his first major feud with John Cena last year, is feuding with WWE's other top star, Orton, this year, and for the 2nd straight week, his indirect actions cost Orton the match. For Miz, this was a lazy way of winning, as he was the only one who didn't score a pinfall or submission.

The Solution: A 2nd referee comes out after the match, after Barrett has attacked Orton in the aisle. After a break, ring announcer Justin Roberts announces that Miz is disqualified for interference. In order to earn his title shot, Miz must wrestle a 2nd match.

Backstage, Smackdown GM Teddy Long, who was otherwise not used on this show, has it out with his opposite number, telling him that this is no way to do business. Long picks the new opponent for Miz, and also makes a substitution for Alberto Del Rio's match, which is coming up next.

Couple the countout with Miz's actions against R-Truth (now suspended) and John Morrison (since released) the last two weeks, and Miz is being rewarded for violations. That should not be allowed to happen. It's a tired, stale, cliched ream that needs to be retired, right along with WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon, but we won't pursue that further for now.

Later in the show, Miz is put in with Justin Gabriel, and goes over clean with the Skull Crushing Finale in about 7 minutes.

Match 2: Alberto Del Rio defeated Daniel Bryan via submission.

The Problem: Bryan was "injured" in a WWE World title match vs. Mark Henry 6 days earlier on Smackdown. Despite the fact he had a couple of decent efforts vs. Del Rio previously, Bryan was "not 100%" and should not have been used in this spot. It illustrates the heel GM's attitude that fellow heels should get what amounts to a "lay-up". They shouldn't anymore.

The Solution: Long substitutes Trent Baretta for Bryan, but the result is the same. It also establishes Long further as a face GM who will protect his brand from being manipulated.

Match 4: John Cena defeated Zack Ryder.

The Problem: Ryder wants Dolph Ziggler for the US title. Rather than grant Ryder his wish, Laurinitis puts him in with Cena, dangling title matches in front of both men. Cena would give up his title opportunity to help Ryder, leading to the next match......

Match 5: Ryder defeated World Champion Mark Henry in a no-DQ match with help from Cena.

The Problem: Like Bryan, Henry wasn't "at 100%" coming out of the title match 6 days earlier, and shouldn't have been used in this spot.

The Solution: Long, after a phone call, cancels out the Cena-Ryder match, and amends it to a tag team match. Cena & Ryder vs. Wade Barrett & Drew McIntyre. Cena & Ryder go over when Ryder pins McIntyre. Thus, Cena advances, as does Ryder, after all.

Laurinitis & Long are arguing, and Long lets slip that he'd been on the phone with their boss, Stephanie McMahon, and she isn't happy with Laurinitis' actions, and thus empowered Long to overrule him as he saw fit.

Match 7: Sheamus defeated US Champion Dolph Ziggler after a distraction from Ryder led to the pin.

The Problem: Two distraction finishes on the same show. Now, that is lazy writing at its worst.

The Solution: Ziggler's stablemate/tag team partner, Jack Swagger, comes out, and that ultimately prompts Ryder to appear to even the sides. By leaving Swagger out of the match scenario, the creative team botched it big time, skipping an important "chapter" in the storytelling aspect of the match.

The show ends with what is now a fatal 4-way TLC (tables, ladders, & chairs) match announced for the PPV, and it will be an elimination match. The predictable brawl ensues, and Punk AND Cena are standing tall to end the show. We'll solve Cena's storyline problem another time.

What should happen next: Laurinitis is removed as GM, with Mick Foley returning to take over the gig on a short-term basis until a more permanent GM can be found. It's better to cut Laurinitis off as GM before things go from bad to worse. Orton will get Barrett either on Smackdown or at the PPV to collect his receipt.

I've proven here that I am largely overqualified to write for WWE, much less TNA. Then again, that shouldn't be a surprise.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: What Christmas Means to Me (2010)

"What Christmas Means To Me" has been recorded by a number of artists, most notably Stevie Wonder and Paul Young, the latter on 1992's "A Very Special Christmas, Volume 2". Last year, Nick Lachey and a few of the contestants on NBC's The Sing-Off served up their version, just in time for the holidays. And ya wonder why Lachey, formerly of 98 Degrees, hasn't done too well as a solo act. Hmm......!

Uploaded by fschnell to YouTube:

Does anyone remember Chevron? (1979)

When you think of brand name service stations, what comes to mind first?

For most people, it's Texaco, Sunoco, Shell, Getty, BP, Mobil, & Exxon (formerly Esso), the latter pair now united as one conglomerate unto itself. During the 70's, Chevron was a major player as well, if you went by the volume of television advertisements. It wasn't so much the quantity, but the amount of airplay based on the time bought by the company.

Watching Mets & Yankees baseball on cable back in those days, I got to see a few Chevron ads, including this animated gem produced in 1979, and uploaded by Kaibiggins to YouTube. The hook here is that the spot is narrated by radio & cartoon legend Casey Kasem (American Top 40, Scooby-Doo, etc.), who did a handful of these spots.