Sunday, December 31, 2017

Celebrity Rock: You Got It (1995)

"You Got It" was a modest hit for Roy Orbison in the late 80's, and was one of his last hits.

In 1995, the producers of the movie, "Boys on The Side", decided to use not one, but two versions of the song. The single that charted was a cover by blues belle Bonnie Raitt. In the movie itself, an a cappela cover starts with Mary Louise Parker, but Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg picks up the baton..........

Roy would've been proud.

On The Air: Huckabee (2008)

Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee entered the talk show arena at Fox News in 2008. After 7 years there, Huckabee ended its first run, as Huckabee began his latest run at the White House.

On October 7, Huckabee returned, but not on Fox News. The series' new home is Trinity Broadcasting (TBN),. which airs the show on Saturday nights at 8 (ET), with replays on Sundays. On Fox News, Huckabee stood out from the crowd, as he wasn't as combative or confrontational. That just isn't how he rolls. On TBN, he comes across now as a Christian analogue for the likes of Mike Douglas, Johnny Carson, and Merv Griffin, mixing conversation with music and comedy. Visiting a friend on Saturday, I finally got to see the show, with guests Aaron Tippin and Victoria Jackson (ex-Saturday Night Live).

At least this time, Huckabee's house band is comprised of real musicians, not Fox staffers.

Edit, 7/24/2020: Had to delete the original video. In its place is a monologue from 2019, which should explain how a Christian functions in the political arena.

TBN's programming is changing, just like everyone else. Soon, we'll be looking at Somebody's Gotta Do It, a brand new reality show from ex-Ford pitchman Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs), another example of the growing diversity of programming for the Christian network.

Rating: A.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Classic TV: Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969)

The British had been importing television programs to our side of the pond since the 50's, from The Adventures of Robin Hood to The Saint & The Avengers to the political satire of That Was The Week That Was, which introduced American audiences to talk show host David Frost.

In 1969, the BBC, which was responsible for TW3, served up another comedy series with political themes in at least some of their sketches, Monty Python's Flying Circus. Four "series", or, seasons, as they're known here, over a five year period (1969-74), with each series consisting of a varying number of episodes.

As everyone doubtlessly knows by now, Monty Python is not one person, but rather, the collective name of a six-man troupe of talented comedians (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, & Terry Gilliam), all of whom would periodically play female characters as well, consistent with British theatre traditions as old as time itself.

In the US, PBS had first crack at the Pythons, sometime in the 70's. I remember seeing them for the first time on WMHT as a youth. WMHT would also introduce local audiences to another UK comedy legend, Dave Allen, whose series was also produced through the BBC. In the 80's, Monty Python repeats found their way to cable via MTV, of all places, as the music network was beginning to branch out. It was a questionable choice at the time, but a forerunner of things to come for the channel.

The success of the series also led not only to the equally popular movie series (i.e. "The Life of Brian", "Monty Python & The Holy Grail"), but the troupe members began branching out themselves into other, non-Python projects. For example, Michael Palin began developing & producing documentary-style series. Terry Gilliam directed cult favorite films such as "Brazil" & "12 Monkeys". John Cleese, in a dramatic turn, landed a supporting role in a couple of James Bond films. Cleese also scored a comedy hit without his Python brothers, partnered instead with Jamie Lee Curtis & Kevin Kline in "A Fish Called Wanda", and landed an endorsement deal with Magnavox. Eric Idle likewise became a reliable character actor, with his credits including "Casper" and the animated Stressed Eric.

Now, scope out the Pythonian take on the Spanish Inquisition:

I swear, you cannot watch this show without busting a gut laughing.

Rating: A.

Forgotten TV: Television Parts (1985)

Singer-songwriter-actor Michael Nesmith returned to television in the summer of 1985 with Television Parts, a half-hour sketch comedy series on NBC that poked fun at familiar genres and the industry itself, while at the same time familiarizing viewers with some future stars.

Nesmith had always been the brainiest member of The Monkees, but had limited success on the charts after leaving the group. His highest charting single was 1971's "Joanne", which crossed over between the pop & country charts, and was parodied by Nesmith himself in his 1981 video compilation, Elephant Parts, as "Rodan", which also paid homage, of course, to Japanese monster movies. Prior to Elephant Parts, Nesmith, funded by the money from his mother's invention of Liquid Paper (now made by a major company), had developed a music video series for Nickelodeon, PopClips, which ran from 1979-80. We'll feature that another time either here or at Saturday Morning Archives. Elephant Parts, though, won Nesmith a Grammy as the first one awarded for a music video.

Television Parts began with a pilot special that aired in March 1985, with the series launching three months later. One regular feature, Deep Thoughts From Jack Handey, later moved to Saturday Night Live, and you might say that Garry Shandling's self-titled Showtime series was spun off from Television Parts. The talent also included future stars Jay Leno, Arsenio Hall, Bobcat Goldthwait, and, in this sample clip, Jerry Seinfeld, in a parody of detective shows.....

Unfortunately, Television Parts was cancelled after 5 episodes, the last of which aired in SNL's space as a 90-minute installment. Good luck trying to find it at a video store now, as it may be out of circulation. Of course, the cast (Seinfeld, Leno, et al) all went on to greater things.

No rating. The samples on YouTube weren't enough to allow for a proper rating.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Rose Marie (1923-2017)

She made her screen debut at age 4. Nominated three times for best supporting actress Emmy awards for her work on The Dick Van Dyke Show. And she was still working right up until her passing yesterday. This morning, Hollywood is mourning Rose Marie, who passed away at 94.

Rose Marie Mazzetta, to use her full name for a change, began her career as Baby Rose Marie at age 3 in vaudeville, and landed her own radio show as a teenager. In the 60's, she transitioned to television, first in the short-lived My Sister Eileen, before she was cast as comedy writer Sally Rogers in The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-6). As noted, she earned three Emmy nominations over the course of the series' run. After that, she spent two seasons on The Doris Day Show, and otherwise could be found regularly on The Hollywood Squares, often in the top tier, with long time friend and frequent co-star Morey Amsterdam in the adjoining cubicle.

In the 70's, Rose dabbled in cartoons, contributing a role as a villain on Yogi's Gang (1973), and appeared in a recurring role on the original S. W. A. T. with Steve Forrest and Robert Urich. Her last series gig was 1994's Hardball, a short-lived sitcom in which her character was a send-up of then-Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott.

A documentary on Rose's career had just been released prior to her passing.

In memory of Rose Marie, we'll go back to the final season of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and the episode, "Dear Sally Rogers":

At the start of the year, we lost Mary Tyler Moore. Now, as 2017 draws to a close on Sunday, we're saying good-bye to Rose Marie. Rest in peace.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

What Might've Been: The Phoenix (1981)

UFO's were still a curiosity in pop culture in the early 80's. Independent producer Mark Carliner tried to address and exploit this in a 1981 ABC TV-movie, which led to the short-lived spring 1982 series, The Phoenix.

Bennu of the Golden Light (Judson Scott) is awakened from a sarcophagus in Peru by an American scientist (E. G. Marshall, ex-The Bold Ones, The Defenders). Bennu then begins a quest to locate a female companion from his homeworld, who apparently is also on Earth.

As noted, it took a year before The Phoenix became a weekly series, and that lead time proved costly. Posited on Mondays, the series lasted just 5 weeks (March-April 1982), before being cancelled.

Right now, let's take a look at the pilot movie from 1981, co-starring Daryl Anderson (Lou Grant).

So what killed the show? It aired opposite Little House on the Prairie. Ballgame over.

I remember my parents did try this show out. The subject matter being what it was tuned me out. Besides, the plot seemed to come from a recycling bin.

Rating: B-.

Weasel of the Week: Roy Moore

There are sore losers, and, then, there is Roy Moore.

With the state of Alabama about to certify the election of Democrat Doug Jones to the US Senate, where he'll be sworn in next week by Vice President Mike Pence, Moore believes that there was voter fraud because of an unusually high turnout in certain sections of the state, something he believes led to Jones' victory.

State election officials don't see it that way, and while Moore, still facing charges of sexual harassment involving underage girls that have been brought up from several years ago, filed a lawsuit to block the certification of Jones, those same officials have said they will go through with the certification process today.

Get over yourself, Mr. Moore. You lost. End of story. You claim to be a Christian, but this is not the way a Christian operates or behaves. You had the support of President Trump, which, in hindsight, may have turned out to be the kiss of death, considering the fact that Trump is perhaps the most unpopular President in years. Being in denial over the election and publicly making a spectacle of losing gets you a set of Weasel ears, the last pair to be awarded in 2017.

Watch. The lawsuit will be thrown out before New Year's Eve, and life will go on, and in Alabama, they'll go back to frenzied idol worship of Alabama football.........!

Update, 2:44 pm (ET): Jones has been certified as having been elected to the Senate. Meanwhile, a judge has dismissed Moore's lawsuit, likely because it was without merit.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Musical Interlude: Judas (2017)

I'm sure you've heard that former WWE champ Chris Jericho is headed off to Japan next week to face the Bullet Club's frontman, Kenny Omega, at New Japan Pro Wrestling's 1st major event of the year, Wrestle Kingdom. A good portion of the formative years of Jericho's career were spent between Japan & Mexico before coming stateside in the mid-90's, first with ECW, then WCW, before signing with WWE in the summer of 1999.

18 years, several championships and side projects later, Jericho remains relevant in the wrestling industry because he's always reinventing himself. The son of a former NHL player, Jericho's main side gig has been as the lead vocalist of the metal combo, Fozzy. Originally, Jericho tried to distance himself publicly by using the alias Moongoose McQueen on stage, but that went out the door once WWE began promoting his band's CD's.

It is likely because of his association with WWE that Jericho has found the going rough on the charts. Fozzy's latest CD, "Judas", was released earlier this year, and the title track represents a lyrical illustration of some of the twists and turns in Jericho's wrestling career.

For my readers in the home district, Fozzy will make a rare tour stop upstate on April 4, right before Wrestlemania, at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park. Tickets just went on sale the other day. Right now, scope out "Judas".

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sounds of Praise: I Saw The Light (1972)

One of the most influential names in pop music in the early 70's was Mike Curb, who was an executive at MGM Records before launching Curb Records (which is still around). He also had his own vocal chorale, the Mike Curb Congregation, which hit the charts with 1971's "Burning Bridges", used in the movie, "Kelly's Heroes", with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, and Don Rickles (!), among others. The next year, the Congregation were back-up singers for Sammy Davis, Jr. on his #1 hit, "The Candy Man", released on MGM.

That same year, Curb and company were featured on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, from which we get our next track, the gospel standard, "I Saw The Light", introduced by Campbell as he leads Minnie Pearl (Hee Haw) off stage........

Vocalist Kathy Coleman is better known for her acting, particularly in the original Land of The Lost (1974-7) for NBC. Curb is also known to Saturday morning audiences for a trifecta of musical scores during the 1969-70 season. Curb was the musical director for a trio of ABC cartoons, Hot Wheels, Skyhawks, & Hanna-Barbera's Catanooga Cats.

Sports this 'n' that

Another year, another AFC East title for the New England Patriots, another round of vitriol from opponents and fans alike over questionable officiating favoring the defending Super Bowl champions.

If it wasn't for the latest controversy coming out of Sunday's win over Buffalo, this wouldn't be an issue. For the 2nd straight week, the infamous "Calvin Johnson rule" came into play. This time, Buffalo' Kelvin Benjamin was denied a TD. Now, I didn't see the game, but accounts state that it didn't look like anything was wrong, but NFL Director of Officiating Alberto Riveron saw it differently, and convinced the on-field officials that Benjamin didn't have firm control of the ball. Buffalo settled for a field goal, but didn't score again as the Patriots pulled away in the 2nd half.

Buffalo's Jerry Hughes was quoted by a couple of media sources as saying that he felt the refs were on the Patriots' payroll. The Patriots' growing legion of detractors might agree. Riveron's predecessors, Dean Blandino & Mike Peiriera, both now with Fox, ripped Riveron because, in their view, according to published reports, there was nothing wrong with the catch, which suggests that if anyone was on the take, in Hughes' view, it might just be Riveron, in his first year as Director of Officiating. As online commentators posting to Yahoo! and other sites point out, there've been a string of calls of this type favoring the Patriots at every instance. The first such victim, the Jets, visit Gillette Stadium on Sunday, and, like the Bills, out for revenge.

Meanwhile, while the officials might've decided to let the teams play and only called a grand total of six accepted penalties between Buffalo & New England on Sunday, with the Pats' less than sterling reputation, they have to be watched very, very closely. Never mind holding the flags. You cannot protect star players like Rob Gronkowski at this point. The NFL wonders why viewers are turning away. It ain't because of the now-diminishing protests, but, rather, fan apathy over the perception that the league has a stake of some kind in keeping the Evil Empire near the top. I say, forget about the "star system", stop protecting guys like Gronkowski who happen to have endorsement deals (i.e. Gronkowski w/Nike), and start calling the games the way they're supposed to be.
It's holiday tournament week in Section II for hockey & basketball. LaSalle defends its championship in the annual Mohawks tournament at Union College tonight, as they'll play Essex Junction in the nightcap at 8 pm. For whatever reason, and they do this every year, the teams (LaSalle, Essex Junction, West Seneca, and host Niskayuna-Schenectady) play the 2nd day's games the next morning, with the first game set for about 8:30 am. Who does that? That means the games are all played within a 24 hour period. While it works for teams on a year-to-year basis, it makes little logistical sense, another example of Section II making a bad business decision, because while you'll have parents attending tonight's games, some of those same parents have jobs to go to in the morning, and unless they already reserved some vacation time for tomorrow, they might not be able to return to Messa Rink at Union for those morning games. My best guess is that this is on Union, which might be reserving the rink for their hockey teams (men's & women's) for practices on Wednesday afternoon (next year, it'll be Wednesday-Thursday, and we'll have the same rigamarole), and is imposing the morning start times on Section II and the governing bodies for West Seneca (Syracuse area) and Essex Junction (Vermont). That, friends, may need to change, and soon, for the better of the teams and the game.
Troy High, meanwhile, isn't hosting a tournament this year, nor are their basketball teams playing this week. The women's team, winners of 2 of their last 3, got an unexpected head start to the holiday break Friday when their game vs. Shaker at Siena College was postponed, the 2nd time in 3 weeks that the Lady Horses and Lady Bison were shuffled off to the side, but this time due to weather. It leaves the athletic directors at both schools with egg on their faces because they would've been better served playing the game as it was originally scheduled on December 8. Now, they have to scramble to reschedule the game again. Meanwhile, the Shaker boys will welcome Albany Academy on January 3, as that game was quickly rescheduled. Troy, on the other hand, was already committed on that night with a home game vs. Albany, the first of four games in a week (January 3-9). The Albany game is the 2nd of a 4 game homestand, which wraps with games vs. Bethlehem (January 5) & Lansingburgh (Jan. 8) before visiting Guilderland on January 9. By the time Paul Bearup's club faces Saratoga at home on January 12, they will be very fatigued. Trust me on that. Meanwhile, the boys will have been idle for 2 weeks before they travel to Bethlehem on the 5th.
Word from a reliable source is that after the success of an outdoor show at Joe Bruno Stadium in July, Northeast Wrestling will return there in July 2018. More details when they become available.
Saw a headline online that said that UCLA QB Josh Rosen would rather stay in school than be drafted by the winless Cleveland Browns. That says that Rosen would be better served finishing his college career the right way, but the Browns as an organization need some serious help erasing the perception of collective ineptitude. Would that more players would commit to spending the full 4 years in college before turning pro, but the lure of the big bucks, instant media gratification, et al, is too much to ignore, and whose fault is that? Some players, in both basketball & football, are surrounded by leeches and groupies putting the ideas in the players' heads that they're ready when in truth, more often than not, they're not. Just sayin'.

Classic TV: The Donna Reed Show (1958)

The Donna Reed Show was a staple of ABC's primetime lineup for 8 seasons (1958-66), a slice of life comedy about what was then considered the average American family. Reed, as Donna Stone, was the moral center as a housewife and loving parent to her two children, son Jeff (Paul Petersen) & Mary (Shelley Fabares), while husband Alex (Carl Betz) was the family bread-winner as a pediatrician.

After 4 seasons of 30 or more episodes per year, Reed wanted to end the series so she and husband/producer Tony Owen could spend more time at home. ABC & Screen Gems instead gave her a contract extension. Fabares scaled back her appearances after the 5th season to concentrate on films and music. Before headlining CBS' Hogan's Heroes, Bob Crane joined the cast around season 6 or 7. Around that same time, I think, reruns began airing on weekday mornings on ABC, a practice that would continue into the 80's with other popular primetime shows (i.e. Bewitched, Happy Days).

Here's the intro:

Paul Petersen took his shot at the charts via the series as well, but while he, too, cracked the top 10, he didn't reach #1.

After the series ended, it wasn't long before Carl Betz returned, this time in the courtroom drama, Judd For The Defense, which ran for 2 seasons (1967-9), also for ABC. Shelley Fabares made a TV comeback opposite Craig T. Nelson in Coach several years later.

Rating: A.

Monday, December 25, 2017

On DVD: The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)

As Christians the world over celebrate the birth of Jesus today, we take a look back at an epic feature film that served as a biography of the Son of God.

"The Greatest Story Ever Told" begins with the Three Wise Men, who, en route to Bethlehem, meet first with Herod the Great (Claude Rains, in his last film), who claims he wants to worship the newborn Jesus, but, as we would soon learn, he was actually interested in nothing of the sort. Betrayed by the wise men, he orders the mass slaughter of children 2 and under. Once that is done, Herod collapses and dies.

Over the course of just over three hours, "Greatest Story" moves forward in time to Jesus (Max Von Sydow) asking his cousin, John the Baptist (Charlton Heston), to baptize him, thus officially beginning His own ministry. Producer-director George Stevens filled the cast with a number of familiar names & faces, including Roddy McDowell as Matthew, Telly Savalas as Pontius Pilate, David McCallum (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) as Judas, and Jose Ferrer as Herod Antipas, who inherits his father's throne and unholy mission. Keep an ear, if not an eye, open for a one-line cameo from John Wayne as a Roman centurion.

Here's a trailer that should help things along:

Jesus' story would be retold again and again in the following decades, most recently in "Son of God". This, however, while a box office failure, is a more definitive bio piece.

Rating: A-.

Musical Interlude: White Christmas (1954)

From the movie of the same name comes a stirring rendition of "White Christmas", which had originally been introduced a dozen years earlier in "Holiday Inn".

For those who don't know, singer Trudy Stevens was the singing double for Vera-Ellen here, working with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, & Rosemary Clooney.

Rather fitting, considering that today really is a white Christmas, with the snow in the Northeast.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Classic TV: Dennis the Menace (1959)

Hank Ketchum's long-running comic strip, Dennis The Menace, was adapted for television by Screen Gems (now Sony Pictures Television) & CBS in 1959, lasting four seasons (1959-63)

Dennis Mitchell (Jay North) is your prototypical little boy of the time. Curious to a fault, well meaning, but while his intentions are good, his efforts often lead to chaos. That the strip is still running today, long after Ketchum's passing, speaks to its enduring charm with readers.

The one running gag that kept the show going was Dennis perpetually perplexing his next door neighbor, Mr. Wilson (Joseph Kearns). Dennis' parents (Herbert Anderson & Gloria Henry) had a difficult time keeping their only child in line, but part of the lure of the show was finding out what kind of mischief Dennis would get into next.

Unfortunately, Kearns, a radio veteran, passed away late in the series run, and Gale Gordon (ex-Our Miss Brooks) was brought in to play George Wilson's brother, John. Sylvia Field (Mrs. Wilson) left the show and was, I think, written out. Not sure if Gordon split time in season 4 between Dennis and The Lucy Show, though.

As our last Countdown to Christmas entry for 2017, we go to season 2 for "Another Christmas Story", in which Dennis is trying to find a horse he thinks is his. Poor Mr. Wilson was the last of a series of department store Santas that Dennis had asked about the horse......! At the end, Dennis sings "Silent Night".

After the series ended, Jay North would land one more primetime show, Maya, which lasted a few months in 1967, before turning to cartoons, and, after that, a stint in the Navy. Herbert Anderson became a dependable character actor, making a few guest appearances here & there. Mary Wickes (Miss Cathcart) also became a TV fixture, her last major series gig of note being The Father Dowling Mysteries with Tom Bosley & Tracy Nelson.

You'd think either Get TV (a Sony company) or Me-TV would put Dennis on their weekend schedules, but, not yet.

Rating: B.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Old Time Radio: The Big Little Jesus (Dragnet, 1953)

After "The Big .22 Rifle For Christmas" had aired for four straight years, Dragnet creator Jack Webb decided to create a new Christmas drama.

In "The Big Little Jesus", a portion of the Nativity scene is stolen from a Los Angeles parish. If you've seen either television version, be it the video version of this episode, made a year later, or "The Christmas Story", from 1967, you then already know about the twist ending.

The radio version would be replayed just once, the very next year, when the video version debuted. The radio Dragnet ended in September 1955 after six years and change on the air.

Rating: A.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Children Go Where I Send Thee (2015)

The a capella vocal group, Home Free, gained their fame winning the now-defunct NBC talent competition, The Sing-Off, a few years back. One big reward was teaming with music legend Kenny Rogers for a finger-snappin', toe-tappin', ravin' cover of "Children Go Where I Send Thee", using the same beat that Hall & Oates used for their 2006 version. Scope!

If you watched the Johnny Cash Christmas special we posted, you'll see that the Man in Black edited the song for time constraints or somesuch. There are more lyrics, rarely used, but, as noted, this follows the path of Hall & Oates. God bless.

Dick Enberg (1935-2017)

As host of the syndicated Sports Challenge in the 70's, Dick Enberg was billed as also being the voice of the then-California Angels and the Los Angeles Rams. Enberg finished his broadcasting career in 2016 after 10 years as the play by play voice of the San Diego Padres, retiring with less fanfare than fellow icon Vin Scully, even though both moonlighted as game show hosts during their careers.

It saddens me, then, to report that Enberg has passed away at 82 from a heart attack.

In addition to Sports Challenge, Enberg's fame as a play by play announcer led to two other game show gigs, both for NBC, Baffle, which was a remake of an earlier Heatter-Quigley game, PDQ, and Three For The Money. Enberg was also heard as an announcer in the short-lived CBS cartoon, Where's Huddles?, in 1970.

In addition to baseball & football, Enberg also covered college basketball & football and tennis during the course of his broadcasting career at NBC, CBS, & ESPN. His catchphrase, "Oh, my!", has long been co-opted by actor George Takei in commercials.

We'll honor Enberg with this 1972 episode of Sports Challenge:

Rest in peace, Dick. Your old NFL partner, Merlin Olsen, is waiting at the Pearly Gates.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Johnny Cash & Family (& friends)(1977)

40 years ago, Johnny Cash returned to television with a Christmas special. However, this one wasn't on ABC, which was home to his self-titled variety show (1969-71), but, apparently, on CBS. The all-star lineup included Roy Clark (Hee Haw), the Statler Brothers, and a reunion of the Sun records legends, as Cash joins forces with Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, & Jerry Lee Lewis for "This Train", after the others have performed their classics. A rousing rendition of "Children Go Where I Send Thee", though, appears to have been edited for time.

Additionally, Johnny & June Carter Cash visit Israel in segments mixed into the show.

One YouTube poster falsely claimed that Bing Crosby's last Christmas show aired on CBS the same night. No, it didn't. It aired, as memory serves, on NBC.

The reunion would've been even more complete had Elvis Presley not passed on earlier that year. He started his career at Sun, too, before moving to RCA.

We'll forego a rating this time.

Sports this 'n' that

Once the Green Bay Packers were eliminated from the NFL playoff picture via Atlanta's win over Tampa Bay on Monday, the team decided to place QB/State Farm agent Aaron Rodgers on season-ending injured reserve. After Rodgers had been activated last week, and played well enough to win in a loss to Carolina, Packer management felt it was better to put him back on IR rather than run the risk of reinjuring his collarbone in the final two games.

While I get the motive, I question the wisdom of taking a chance on Rodgers in the first place. One of Rodgers' most recent State Farm ads, in which Clay Matthews, Jr. steals the show, is in heavy rotation on the usual channels (Fox, FS1, ESPN, etc.). If Green Bay had beaten Carolina, would Rodgers be playing this week?
Monty Python's Flying Circus had a skit celebrating the "Upper Class Twit of the Year" back in the day. The modern-day American equivalent of said Twit has to be the runaway winner of Worst Stage Parent of the Year, LaVar Ball.

Ball just doesn't get it. He knows there aren't as many suckers as he thinks there are wasting money on his overpriced Big Baller Brand sneakers, even though he just opened a store in New York the other day. Now comes word he wants to start up a developmental-style league for kids who don't want to go to college or are dropping out of high school. The Junior Basketball League, as Ball has christened it, will be, as the kids say, an epic fail. The NBA already has a developmental league, plus the G League, which is what Ball is hoping to compete against. The G League will be streaming on something called Twitch soon. Ball's league is streaming out of the splinters in the windmill of his mind.
"Primrose" Lane Kiffin had no apologies for running it up as Florida Atlantic blew away Akron, 50-3, on Tuesday night in the Boca Raton Bowl. He claims it's because an Akron coach was talking trash. I say, Kiffin was out of line, and looking for style points he didn't get in the regular season, since Florida Atlantic finishes undefeated but far out of the playoff picture because they play in a mid-major conference. Akron's hardly the kind of tomato can Kiffin's former boss, Nick Saban, would schedule to play Alabama, but what Kiffin did was more out of the Bill Belichick playbook.
High school news: After winning their first game last Friday at home vs. Mohonasen, Troy High's women's basketball team fell right back down to earth Tuesday as another chapter was written in what has become a one-sided rivalry with Averill Park. The undefeated Lady Warriors blew out Troy, 66-35. For the 2nd time this season, no Troy player reached double figures in points. The Lady Horses are back home tonight vs. Schenectady, then visit Siena College to play Shaker tomorrow before the Christmas break.

Glens Falls High's 3rd generation star, Joseph Girard III, is just a junior, but he shattered the school points record set by Jimmer Fredette on Tuesday. Fredette, now playing professionally in China after his NBA career fizzled, was heard from via video in a pre-recorded message. Unfortunately, Scotia spoiled the party and beat Glens Falls, 47-46.

Troy's boys basketball team got back on the winning track as they completed a 2 game homestand Tuesday, beating Averill Park. Anthony Germinerio, cousin of former Troy & LaSalle star John Germinerio, led the Warriors with 28 points in a losing effort. Alonzo Alexander had 20 to pace Troy, which visits Schenectady tonight in their last game before the break.

Speaking of LaSalle, their basketball team is off to a hot start, now 6-0 after blowing out Ichabod Crane on Tuesday. At the same time, the skating Cadets dismissed Adirondack, 7-3. Ryan Murray and Thomas Ryan had two goals apiece for the Cadets, who host Queensbury on Friday.

The Colonial Council's website made a boo-boo when it came to this game. For some reason, the LaSalle page on the Colonial Council site had the LaSalle-Adirondack (listed as South Glens Falls) game scheduled for Wednesday instead of Tuesday. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that the box score for the game didn't appear in Wednesday's Albany Times-Union and, as of press time, hadn't been reported to The Record, either.
The Record and its sister publication, The Saratogian, are saying good-bye to horse racing columnist Michael Veitch, who writes mostly for the latter, after 38 years to spend more time with his family. Veitch's weekly column began appearing in The Record not long ago when they needed to share content with The Saratogian aside from the Pink Sheets that appear during the Saratoga summer racing season. Sports editor David Johnson is also leaving, but he's moving to the Times-Union. Whomever takes his place will have the task of trying to resolve the ongoing issues with Troy High in terms of interviews with coaches, not so much players. Those issues of distrust between the school and the hometown paper need to be resolved yesterday. The school's sports teams, aside from football, were already lacking in coverage before the embargo began in March.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The next step in elevating women's wrestling in the 21st century

It had been but a rumor for a few weeks. Then, on Monday, it became a reality.

"It", in this case, is the announcement of a women's Royal Rumble match at the namesake PPV on January 28 in Philadelphia. To correct Raw commissioner/WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, the current women's revolution began in July 2015. For some reason, WWE likes to round off to the nearest number, as if history were up for bids on The Price is Right. As with the men, competitors from both Raw & Smackdown, and some likely special guests, will vie for an opportunity to compete for a women's championship for one of the two main brands at Wrestlemania 34 in  New Orleans on April 8.

To my knowledge, only three women have competed in the main Royal Rumble match in the course of 30 years, the last being Kharma (Kia Stevens, aka Awesome Kong) a few short years ago. Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix and the late Chyna were the others, Chyna being the first in 1999. I may be wrong about the exact number, though.

Anyway, in somewhat edited form, here's Stephanie's announcement. She says it was 3 years since the revolution began, but that's WWE spin doctoring for you.

Already, some internet wise guys, aware that Stephanie fluctuates her character between heel & babyface on any given night, are thinking the heiress to the empire will suit up and compete, not content that husband Triple H has won 2 Rumbles (2002, 2016), and that her father won the 1999 Rumble under questionable circumstances. I say, no, that's not going to happen. She's content with shepherding the current women's roster, despite what her detractors will tell you to the contrary.

Gone are the days when women wrestlers were treated as second class or worse. The work that Triple H has done in shepherding NXT in recent years includes some ground-breaking women's matches, headlining the Takeover periodic specials on WWE Network. Sasha Banks & Charlotte Flair have headlined Raw and the 2016 Hell in a Cell event. Stephanie, in fact, was one of the first women to headline Raw, losing the women's title to Lita in August 2000, but that milestone has long been forgotten, or so WWE spin doctors would have you believe.

Will a women's match be the headliner at Wrestlemania? That's the next, perhaps final, step.

Weasel of the Week: George Zimmerman

Yep, he's back.

George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin 5 years ago, is back in the news, just because he's seemingly opposed to rapper JAY-Z filming a documentary miniseries about the incident. Zimmerman has gone so far as to threaten JAY-Z (Shawn Carter) and/or anyone associated with him by feeding them to the alligators. Apparently, Zimmerman & his family were not treated very well during early production.

Here's the thing. It's been 5 years. Black Lives Matter was created in the wake of Martin's murder and the subsequent acquittal of Zimmerman, followed by a series of similar incidents involving other African American young men, police, and/or self-appointed vigilantes such as Zimmerman. What JAY-Z is seeking to do is tell the story in a way that the mainstream media hadn't prior to this point. Zimmerman, in this writer's view, may be over-reacting, because you don't know if he's going to be allowed to tell his side of the story in the miniseries. I can understand not wanting to be dragged through the mud again after all this time, but when you're threatening a prominent rapper/businessman who wants to set the record straight shall we say, then you're only making yourself out to be the villain we all assumed you were in 2012.

Enjoy the Weasel ears, Mr. Zimmerman. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Musical Interlude: They Don't Know (1983)

British comedienne Tracey Ullman first landed on American shores in 1983 with her debut CD, "You Broke My Heart In 17 Places". Yep, she's a singer, too, and a good one. Tracey channels 60's Motown with an 80's bent on "They Don't Know", which peaked at #8 here in the US. The album also included a cover of Irma Thomas' "Breakaway", which we'll serve up another time.

Oh, and watch for the twist ending to the video, with some fella named McCartney........

Paul McCartney's cameo wasn't a real surprise. At the time, he & Tracey were filming the movie, "Give My Regards to Broad Street", and 30 years later, Tracey would return the favor by appearing in one of McCartney's videos.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Celebrity Rock: Blowin' In The Wind (1969)

From Gomer Pyle, USMC:

Gomer (Jim Nabors) encounters a trio of hippies, and, upon invitation, joins them for a rendition of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind". Leigh French (The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour) and a pre-All In The Family Rob Reiner are joined by the lesser known Christopher Ross on guitar.

I've never had any of Nabors' albums, but I'd not be surprised if he'd recorded this himself at some point, especially since Dylan was a label-mate of his at Columbia. A folk album from Nabors would've been perfect during this period.

Sports this 'n' that

Troy High's women's basketball team snapped a 5 game losing streak, dating back to the 2nd round of the sectionals last winter, in beating Mohonasen on Friday night. Jenalyse Alarcon & Alaina Holmes had 14 points apiece to lead the Lady Horses, who now will try to break the hex Averill Park has over them on Tuesday, starting a stretch of three games in four nights. They're home to play Schenectady on Thursday, then back on the road at Siena College to play Shaker in the first half of a holiday doubleheader (Shaker's boys will play Albany Academy in the nightcap), which explains why the Troy-Shaker game on December 8 wasn't played.
Speaking of doubleheaders, there was one in Colonie on Saturday in hockey, and both games ended in draws (they don't have shootouts in high school hockey). Burnt Hills & CBA played to a 1-1 standoff, and Shaker-Colonie vs. LaSalle ended in a 3-3 tie. LaSalle stays on the road, hitting the North Country to play Adirondack (formerly Tri-Falls) Tuesday before coming home to play Queensbury on Friday. At 2-2-1 overall (1-1-1 in league play), the Cadets know they have a huge target on their collective back after winning the Section II title in February.
The infamous "Calvin Johnson rule" came into play again Sunday, costing Pittsburgh the #1 seed in the AFC in a loss to New England.

For those that don't know, some know-nothings in the NFL office decided to redefine the act of making a catch after one of Johnson's circus catches turned into an incomplete pass per the judgment of the referee working the game via replay. In Sunday's game, Pittsburgh's Jesse James appears to have scored a game-winning touchdown, but, as replay shows, once his hands and the ball hit the ground, even though the ball is still cradled in those hands, it's moving, and, as referee Tony Corrente, who negated a Jets touchdown vs. New England at the Meadowlands earlier in the season, explained, James "didn't survive the catch".

Pittsburgh supporters and the Patriots' legion of detractors will tell you that it's a stupid rule and a typical late game BS call to favor the reigning Super Bowl champs. Oh, by the way, Corrente's crew only called two accepted penalties on New England for 4 yards, purposely ignoring repeated offensive pass interference fouls by Rob Gronkowski, just because of his star status. Sorry, but that is not acceptable.

Bottom line: The "Calvin Johnson rule" needs to be expunged yesterday.
Congratulations to Albany native and former radio personality Dalton Castle, who won the Ring of Honor World title Friday night in New York, defeating Cody "The American Nightmare" Rhodes, ending Rhodes' reign. Just a couple of weeks earlier, Rhodes dropped the Northeast Wrestling title to Travis "Flip" Gordon, who, like Castle, is an alumnus of Dynasty Pro Wrestling, or, as they'd prefer, The Dynasty. Where did aspiring actor Cody fail? He came to the ring with his hair newly bleached blond in memory of his late father, Dusty. While he uses some of his dad's moves, Cody doesn't have the commanding presence "The American Dream" had.

As for Castle, he is the first wrestler from the Capital Region to win a World men's singles title in any promotion.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Musical Interlude: You're Only Lonely (1979)

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

Classic TV: Newhart (1982)

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: B.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

Despite the manpower shortage, Troy ran out to an early lead on Kingston in the first quarter, forcing coach Ron Kelder to call a timeout. He adjusted his defense, going to a heavy pressure defense for much of the game. This strategy seemed to work, as the Tigers contested just about everything. In contrast, no matter what Troy tried, the Flying Horses couldn't contain Kingston's Damani Thomas, who led all scorers with 27 points. Similarly, Mohonasen's Duncan Tallman led all scorers with 17 points in a losing effort last night. Chris Wright, held to 2 points in the first half, came to life in the second half, scoring 24 in all, to back up Thomas. It was Wright who forced overtime with a key three pointer in the 4th quarter.

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

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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Celebrity Rock: In The Jailhouse Now (2000)

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

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

High School this 'n' that

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

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On The Air: Happy! (2017)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: B--.

Musical Interlude: Too Much Passion (1991)

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: The last Christmas episode of I've Got a Secret (1966)

Toward the end of its initial CBS run, I've Got a Secret ended a long standing tradition of Christmas episodes. This one's from 1966, with special guests the Salvation Army band and Durward Kirby.

Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

The Yankees made news again Tuesday, shipping infielder Chase Headley back to San Diego in exchange for some prospects. Headley became expendable when the Bombers acquired Todd Frazier from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline, and they also have a couple of infield prospects of their own they want to look at to share time with Frazier at third in 2018. The Yankees acquired Headley from the Padres at the deadline in 2014.
In the space of the last five nights, LaSalle Institute completed a sweep of in-city rivals Catholic Central & Lansingburgh to go to 5-0 in the Colonial Council in basketball. The teams will meet again next month to complete each home-&-home series. While the Cadets have made a smooth transition into the league, Catholic Central has struggled ever since prodigal son Chuck Mack and son Anthony departed.

Just the same, I still believe that at some point down the road, the athletic directors at LaSalle, Catholic Central, and Lansingburgh should meet with Troy High AD Paul Reinisch about reviving the long-dormant Uncle Sam basketball tournament, which was discontinued in the early 80's, the operative thing being to keep it as a pre-season tournament. Problem is, from Troy's POV, that would be nigh impossible given the length of the football team's season of late.

Of course, we wouldn't mind a women's tournament, subbing Emma Willard for LaSalle, too......
Meanwhile, LaSalle's hockey team is finding out how hard it is to duplicate the success of last season. The skating Cadets are 1-2 headed into their home opener tonight vs. Shenendehowa, assuming the game gets played, as it is snowing as I write these words. Shen had to cancel some activities yesterday due to inclement weather, and they were in the minority in that regard.
Add Troy. Coach Greg Davis' boys team is 2-1 after dispatching Christian Brothers Academy on Tuesday, as the transition from the Richard Hurley-Daniel Buie era has been smoother than expected. Hurley, as it turned out, chose to step down altogether as head coach six months ago, and that may very well have prompted Buie's decision to transfer to Gould Academy in Maine. So far, though, it's been No Buie, No Problem for Troy, which now will head off to Mohonasen on Friday before coming home for a non-league game vs. Kingston on Saturday night.

For what it's worth, James Allen's account of the Troy-Shaker game in the 12/9 Albany Times-Union revealed that Hurley stepped down altogether as head coach in June for the same reasons stated when he decided three months earlier to take a year off. That, in effect, would explain Buie's subsequent decision to transfer.
Lavar Ball just doesn't get it, and doesn't want to get it.

Ball decided to jumpstart LaMelo & LiAngelo's pro careers by having them sign with brother Lonzo's agent, Harrison Gaines, who promptly managed to place the two teens in a pro league----in Lithuania. We all know La Loudmouth is all about making as much money as possible as soon as possible, to make up for what he didn't achieve in his own career.

On Tuesday's Skip & Shannon-Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe expressed his doubts about La Loudmouth's plans, and correctly diagnosed exactly what the problem has been all along.....

Translated: La Loudmouth can't cut the apron strings, and feels he has to "control the situation", as Sharpe put it. If things don't work out in Lithuania, the kids'll be home by the NBA All-Star break at the earliest, because Gaines & the elder Ball are just chasing the money a wee bit too soon. Let these kids grow up, for cryin' out loud.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Snoopy's Christmas (1967)

Believe it or else, the Royal Guardsmen were actually an American pop group, whose biggest hit featured America's most famous cartoon dog, Snoopy. Making use of Snoopy's daydreams of using his dog house as a "Sopwith Camel", the Guardsmen reached #2 on the charts in 1966 with "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron". A year later came "Snoopy's Christmas", which, unfortunately, failed to reach the Top 40.

Well, "some other day", we'll serve up "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron".

DC-TV mid-season report, part 3: The Flash (2017-18)

"You can't fix stupid"--Ron White.

"Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it."--George Santayana.

After three seasons of fighting speed-based villains, The Flash was given a more cerebral opponent this season, but Team Berlanti fumbled the ball with the Golden Age villain, the Thinker.
Subject: The Flash.
Season: 4th.
When it airs: Tuesdays, 8 pm (ET), returning January 16.
Original rating: B.

Where we are: Clifford Devoe (Neil Sandilands) was rebooted as a sort-of cyborg, using a modified "Thinking cap" and a floating chair, which had comics fans thinking Devoe was merged with the New God Metron, since the floating chair is known as a Mobius chair. However, Devoe was dying, and there was little his wife could do to help in that regard. Their criminal operations should've had a more sympathetic bent, but that's where the writers fumbled.

In the midseason finale, we are introduced to Dominic Lanse (Kendrick Sampson), whom modern comics fans know as Brainstorm, an enemy of Mister Terrific. We barely get to know Dominic before Amunet Black (Katlee Sackhoff, ex-Battlestar Galactica) sells him off to the Devoes, all so Clifford can download his consciousness into Lanse, making Brainstorm, in effect, the new Thinker. Meanwhile, in his final act, Devoe frames Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) for his murder.....

Let's just cut right past the BS, ok? During last season, I felt very strongly that the Arrowverse family of series had to get away from the season-long story arcs because it exposed some flaws in the overall writing. Unfortunately, these dullards haven't gotten the message. It would have been nice to have the end game for Thinker and move on, but Clifford Devoe's story hadn't been fully told, nor had the character been realized, a problem also evident with villains on Arrow & Legends of Tomorrow, not so much with Supergirl, which appears to be the best of a sorry lot right now. The most recent Thinker in the books, a 1-shot villain who fought Batman 20 years ago, was a telepath, as is Brainstorm. The original Thinker was not. Once again, in order to tell the story they want us to see, the writers are mixing elements of different versions of the same character. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, as in this case, it doesn't, and makes for sloppy storytelling. I don't know if I want to invest 5 more months in such garbage writing.

Updated rating: B--.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Origin of a Classic: Gomer Pyle joins the Marines (The Andy Griffith Show, 1964)

The season 4 finale of The Andy Griffith Show served as a pilot for the spin-off series, Gomer Pyle, USMC, which bowed the following fall, as Griffith began its 5th season.

"Gomer Joins The Marines" begins with Gomer (Jim Nabors) visiting Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith), singing the Marine Hymn in his sing-song Southern drawl. Gomer had lost his job at Wally's Filling Station earlier in the season, only to, I presume, get it back, but this time, his job would be filled by cousin Goober (George Lindsey) once Gomer left for Camp Henderson, the setting for the spin-off. Frank Sutton debuts as Sgt. Carter, and, as you'll see, it takes a conversation between Carter and the sheriff to change Carter's mind about letting Gomer go on ahead to camp......

Edit, 9/24/19: Dailymotion deleted their video due to a copyright claim from CBS. YouTube has this excerpt, which runs 4:45:

Nabors, of course, was really from Alabama, and got 5 seasons out of Gomer before ending the series and trying his luck with his own variety show. In a way, Aaron Ruben's concept may have been partially inspired by the production that made Griffith a star---"No Time For Sergeants", which ABC picked up as a sitcom that fall, only to see it fall flat.

Rating: B.

Sports this 'n' that

As the saying goes, the rich get richer.

Former Yankee star Derek Jeter is now part of the ownership group in charge of the Miami Marlins, and one of his first trades benefits his old club, with outfielder and reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton going to the Bronx for 2B Starlin Castro and 2 minor leaguers. There go the Marlins' chances of landing a postseason berth in 2018, as there are rumors their other stars, outfielders Marcell Ozuna & Christian Yelich, could be next to go.

The problem for the Yankees, though, is this. Where do you fit Stanton in the lineup? It's one thing if he's a DH batting alongside Aaron Judge & Gary Sanchez, but Stanton is also a very capable defensive outfielder. Can the Yanks afford to put Jacoby Ellsbury and/or Brett Gardner on the bench to accomodate Stanton? Or are there other moves coming? Stay tuned.
If you've wondered why there was no account of a girls basketball game between Shaker and Troy High on Friday night, wonder no more. According to Dave Johnson of The Record, the game was postponed (reason unknown), and pushed back 2 weeks to December 22. The venue has also been switched, as the game will now be played just up the road at Siena College's Alumni Recreation Center. The Lady Horses, unfortunately, are off to an 0-4 start after losing to Baldwinsville in a non-league tilt on Sunday, 49-30, and are now off until Friday, when they host Mohonasen.

Updated, 12/13/17: Shaker is hosting a charity double-header at Siena on 12/22, as the Blue Bison's boys will play Albany Academy in the nightcap.
The USGA has finally done away with a controversial rule that allowed home viewers to contact them about perceived rules violations during televised tournaments. You know, the sort of thing that cost Lexi Thompson an LPGA tournament earlier this year. This way, Joe & Jane Sixpack can't influence the outcome of a tournament any longer. Why that practice even started, I'll never know.
Former WWE Cruiserweight champion Rich Swann flushed his chances of regaining the title down the chute on Sunday when he was arrested and charged with domestic abuse and unlawful imprisonment----of his own wife. WWE has suspended Swann indefinitely, but if recent cases of sexual harrassment in other workplaces are any barometer, consider Swann gone if he's convicted. He faces up to 5 years in prison if convicted.
The Philadelphia Eagles locked up the NFC East Sunday, defeating the West leading Los Angeles Rams, but at the expense of losing QB Carson Wentz for the season with a torn ACL. Luckily, the Eagles had brought back former starter Nick Foles as a backup, and Foles likely will be the starter the rest of the way, which includes rematches with the Giants & Cowboys over the final three weeks.

Add the Giants. After losing, 30-10, to Dallas on Sunday, Big Blue may be inviting more criticism after flushing another lead down the tubes. It's a lost season, everyone knows that, but it may be time to cut bait on Eli Manning after the season and let him test the free agent market. After 14 seasons, and gradual regression over the course of the last 3, it may be time for Manning to take his talents elsewhere, like, maybe, to Denver, where brother Peyton retired after winning the Super Bowl a couple of seasons back.

Add the Cowboys. Yes, they've woken up just in time, but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed a playoff spot just yet in a stacked NFC playoff pool. And they get Ezekiel Elliott back in time for the holidays.
Saturday's Albany Cup basketball games between Siena and the University at Albany may be the last ones for a while. Per WNYT's Rodger Wyland, writing in the Albany Times-Union today, Siena seemingly wants no part of playing another Albany Cup at the University's SEFCU Arena, which doesn't have the capacity of the cavernous Times-Union Center, which drew more than 9,000 fans on Saturday as Albany defeated Siena, winning the Albany Cup for the 5th time in 6 years. Well, here's a compromise. Why not use the Capital Center, just up the hill from the T-U Center? Or the ancient, acoustically challenged Washington Avenue Armory, which will be shaking anew next month when the Albany Patroons return to play in the North American Premier Basketball League? The T-U Center is Siena's home, and they're comfortable playing downtown. UAlbany should think about claiming the new Capital Center for their alternate home......

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Classic Reborn: Classic Concentration (1987)

Nearly a decade after its last run, Concentration returned home to NBC in 1987, still produced by Mark Goodson, who now was going it alone after long-time business partner Bill Todman had passed away.

Classic Concentration, as it was known, ran for four years of first run episodes (1987-91), with reruns continuing until the end of 1993. During this entire period, Alex Trebek not only hosted Concentration, but the syndicated Jeopardy! (which he still does today), and had taken over another Goodson revival, To Tell The Truth, for the end of its NBC run.

The puzzles were reduced in size from 30 tiles to 25, and, as you'll see in this sample video from Christmas Eve, 1987, the puzzles were also a little easier.

A choice of 8 cars in the bonus round? Yep. It was more than what they were doing over on Hollywood Squares at the same time (the John Davidson era ended in 1989). After acquiring the rights to the franchise shortly after the departure of co-creators Jack Barry & Dan Enright in 1958, NBC still owns the series nearly 60 years later.

Rating: A.

On The Shelf: Is Batman ready to take the plunge?

I'm sure you've heard by now that, in current comics, the Batman is engaged to his on-again, off-again frenemy/girlfriend, Selina Kyle, aka the Catwoman. And, yes, Bruce Wayne revealed his dual ID to Selina. Been there, done that. However, this is the furthest any writer has taken the Bat-Cat relationship in decades.

Back in the day, on what would become Earth-2, Batman & Catwoman ultimately became husband & wife, with Selina having renounced her criminal ways. Over the last 20-plus years on Earth-1, Catwoman has been more of an anti-hero. Her first ongoing solo series cast her as more of a costumed, female version of Robert Wagner's Alexander Mundy (It Takes a Thief, 1968-70), stealing not so much for herself, but to help the downtrodden.

Current Bat-scribe Tom King's current arc offers a glimpse of what the future could hold for the Bat & the Cat in Batman Annual 2 (the actual number of annuals dating back to years past escapes me), drawn by Lee Weeks in a style that recalls David Mazzuchelli, circa the late 80's. It's a wonderful read, and for long time fans who've hoped, even dreamed that the Dark Knight would settle down with the Princess of Plunder, it gives hope that like their Earth-2 counterparts, theirs will be a lasting union.

Meanwhile, DC has taken the "Rebirth" tag off their books after nearly a year and a half, and it's just as well, rather than beat the point into the ground any further than it already has. In the first regular issue of Batman since the annual, King explores just how Bruce has to go about explaining his engagement to his closest allies in the Justice League, particularly Superman, himself happily married, and Wonder Woman. King's arc, "Super Friends", uses the familiar logo of the 1970's cartoon series in chapter 1. One wonders why this hadn't happened sooner, but it's a great way to put a light through the grim-darkness of recent years.

Rating for both issues: A.

Word on the street is that when Action Comics reaches issue #1000 in March, DC will release a special hardcover commemorative edition with a retail price of roughly $30. Expect the same thing when Detective Comics reaches the same milestone a year later. However, I doubt you'll see either book at Barnes & Noble. The retail chain has pulled all of DC's current books from their shelves. Earlier this year, Barnes & Noble began charging an extra buck per issue. Whereas the semi-monthly books (i.e. Batman, Superman, The Flash) are $3 at direct shops, Barnes & Noble would charge $4. The monthly $4 books went up to $5 at Barnes & Noble. Apparently that decision wasn't making the registers go any faster, so.....!

The other story that has made the rounds, of course, is that of writer-producer Brian Michael Bendis leaving Marvel and signing with DC. Just what exactly he'll do at DC is unknown at this point, but Marvel, unsurprisingly, has cancelled Bendis' creator-owned series, Powers & United States of Murder. I'd think both of those books will land at DC sometime in 2018. Bendis is largely responsible for a lot of Marvel's "events" the last few years, so expect more of the same at DC, at a time when we need to slow things down and cut back on the "events" to let the books breathe for a while. Just sayin'.

DC-TV Midseason report, part 2: Legends of Tomorrow (2017-18)

Don't worry, we'll get to The Flash in part 3.

Legends of Tomorrow is the anomaly in Greg Berlanti's DC-TV universe, a collection of heroes and anti-heroes traveling through time to repair chronological anomalies. It's not exactly like time travel shows of the past (i.e. Time Tunnel, Quantum Leap, Voyagers!) because our heroes do get to go home from time to time. So, let's just get right to it:
Subject: Legends of Tomorrow.
Season: 3rd.
When it airs: Mondays at 8 (ET), beginning February 12.
Original rating: B-.

Where we are: Firestorm, the Nuclear Man, a composite of Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), has left the team following the death of Stein and Jackson's decision to depart in the last episode. Taking their place are Citizen Cold, the Earth-X version of Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller, also on Prison Break), and John Constantine (Matt Ryan), the latter at least in the short term. Unfortunately, one of the writers' favorite villains, Damian Darhk (Neal McDonough), a villain who just won't go away, has returned, seemingly as an ambassador for a big bad named Mollus (voice of John Noble, ex-Sleepy Hollow).

I refer to the 4 Arrowverse shows as a tetralogy, and that's because Legends, which only links up with the other shows at least once a year, isn't like the others. Is it too campy? Not really, but the writers decided that Nate Heywood, aka Steel (Nick Zano) and Ray "Atom" Palmer (Brandon Routh) had to be comedy relief some of the time, same with Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell). Nate comes off as being too dim for someone who's a historian when it comes to non-historical issues. Mick has become a fan favorite as the resident cynic, and couldn't be happier teaming with Prison Break co-star Miller once more, although Miller figures to be leaving at the end of the season.

Original captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) started the season in charge of the Time Bureau, which is just a rip-off of Lowell Cunningham's Men in Black, but dealing in time instead of alien threats. Darvill, it seems, is slowly being phased out as well.

Note the date listed above for the show's return from winter hiatus. Supergirl will be bumped to make room because Legends is losing its Tuesday berth to Black Lightning next month. CW programmers, just like the writers on this show, have small brains. However, fans of Constantine will be happy to see their hero return, as he made his season debut in the last episode. Constantine vs. Darhk should be fun, if but to wipe the smirk off Darhk's face permanently. Here's a trailer for the next episode:

Three seasons, three different nights. Not good for a show's long-term future. Those of you who need to catch up with Constantine can do so online on CW Seed.

Updated rating: B-.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

DC-TV midseason report, part 1: Supergirl (2017-18)

Beginning today, we're taking a look at CW's 4 DC Comics adaptations as they hit the holiday break. We won't discuss Fox's Gotham & Lucifer, as we haven't followed either series of late.
Subject: Supergirl.
Season: 3rd.
Airs: Mondays, 8 pm (ET), returning January 15.
Original rating (2015): A-.

Where we are: During season 2, we were introduced to Mon-El, rebooted from the comics as a Daxamite prince (Chris Wood). He & Kara (Melissa Benoist) fell in love, but at season's end, Mon-El, because of a bomb laced with lead (Daxamites are weakened by lead the same way Kara is vulnerable to Kryptonite) used to drive off an invasion fleet from his homeworld led by his mother (Teri Hatcher), who'd killed her own husband, Mon-El's father (Kevin Sorbo) to further her own agenda, was sent off-world in a pod. It veered off course an into a black hole, which landed Mon-El in the 31st century.

Comics fans know that the 31st century is home to the fan-favorite Legion of Superheroes. In a twist only Greg Berlanti and his team could come up with, it was decided that Mon-El would marry Imra Ardeen, aka Saturn Girl. Comics fans know that Imra actually was married to Lightning Lad in the books, but we're not sure if Garth Ranzz will appear here.

Meanwhile, Kara's adoptive sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh) came out of the closet in season 2, and entered a relationship with National City police detective Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). That came to an end a few weeks ago, as Lima had been previously reported as leaving the series. Aside from a brief hookup with Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) during Crisis on Earth-X nearly 2 weeks ago, Alex is still dealing with that split, so both sisters are dealing with heartbreak, but Kara's got it worse now.

See, a new face on the scene, Samantha Arias (Odette Annable), recently discovered she's really from Krypton, too, as the Worldkiller, Reign. Reign & Supergirl engaged in their first battle in the mid-season finale, leaving Kara in a coma.

When the series returns on January 15, well......

Unfortunately for fans of Supergirl, CW has screwed the pooch, if you will, with the announcement that Legends of Tomorrow, displaced from its Tuesday perch come next month to make room for Black Lightning, and, presumably, after that, the returning iZombie, will share the Monday berth with Supergirl for the rest of the season. Legends returns February 12 after 4 weeks of Supergirl, and the plan seems to be for 9 weeks of Legends, which means Supergirl would then return to finish out the season on April 16, and if it's a 20-episode season, Supergirl would have 7 episodes left by April, meaning it would end its season on Memorial Day. I for one don't like this move, as it says that CW is unwilling to break up its Friday combo of Jane The Virgin & Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, when plugging Legends in on Fridays would be a perfect counter to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD over on ABC.

Meanwhile, J'onn J'onzz (David Harewood) was reunited with his father (Carl Lumbly), with each having assumed the other had passed on. This goes against the long-established comics canon that J'onzz was the Martian equivalent of Superman. The idea here was to try to put some depth to the character, and it's working, actually.

Pros: J'onn's backstory being deepened is a welcome change. Samantha/Reign was developed nicely over the first 2 months of the season. Thing is, most folks can anticipate the ending.

Cons: Kara should not have had to deal with so much drama and negativity so quickly. The season's other big bad, Morgan Edge (Adrian Pasdar) is so 1-dimensional, it isn't funny. He's being posited here as an analogue for Lex Luthor, which is why Edge is targeting Lex's sexy sister, Lena (Katie McGrath). Lena, in turn, may have developed feelings for Kara's ex, James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks), per the last episode. And all that sisterly bonding among Kara, Samantha, & Lena will dissipate, sooner rather than later.

Creatively, Supergirl is trying to avoid the same pitfalls that befell The Flash & Arrow in their 3rd seasons. However, ending the 1st half on such a downer was only a harbinger of what would come the rest of the week.

Current rating: downgraded to B-.

Countdown to Christmas: Patty Duke's unwelcome Christmas Present (1963)

From season 1 of The Patty Duke Show:

The Lanes are preparing for Christmas when Martin (William Schallert, ex-The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis) is surprised by the appearance of his boss, J. R. Castle (John McGiver), who informs Martin that his twin brother, Kenneth (Schallert again), is to be fired for abandoning an assignment overseas. "The Christmas Present" is also the first half of a holiday 2-parter.......

Co-creators William Asher and Sidney Sheldon would move on to Screen Gems over the next two seasons (Bewitched & I Dream of Jeannie, respectively),  but I think now you can see where and why they had the idea to use the twin gimmick on those shows. Not sure if Sheldon stuck around for the 3rd & final season, which was the year Jeannie debuted.

Rating: B.

Friday, December 8, 2017

High School Fridays: Shaker @ Troy (boys' basketball), 12/8/17

It may have been the home opener for Troy High tonight, but it felt like old home week between the Flying Horses and Shaker, considering that some of the players on both teams had just seen each other on the football field just 2 months ago.

Troy's Joe Casale, Hunter Redden, & Avery Curley are coming off the school's 2nd straight state title in football. Jack Bush, Raveon Burt, Connor McHugh, & Devin Mahoney were on the Shaker football team that dropped a 40-15 decision to Troy on October 6 in Latham. In effect, the Blue Bison were looking for a little measure of revenge on two fronts, since Troy has owned them on the court as well as the gridiron in recent years.

A couple of minutes into the first quarter, Mahoney put Shaker on top, but it wasn't long before Latyce Faison answered back for Troy, and so it went. Back & forth, all night long. Mahoney finished with 15 points. Sloan Seymour had 17, and Burt finished with 12 to lead Shaker.

On Tuesday, in a narrow loss to Shenendehowa, Troy senior Alonzo Alexander had a breakout game with 19 points. Tonight, it was Faison and Nazaire Merritt who led the Flying Horses. Merritt, a junior, led all scorers with 21 points. Faison added 19.  Casale had 7 for the 2nd straight game, and Alexander had 11.

As was the case on Tuesday, it came down to the final play. 3 seconds left. Troy up by 3. Shaker is playing for a potential game-tying shot that could send it to overtime. Burt heaved up a 3 point shot that rimmed out, and time ran out for the Blue Bison, as Troy escapes with a 63-60 win to square each team's record at 1-1.

Troy also won the junior varsity game, 58-53. That game ran a little long with an epidemic of late fouls and time outs, delaying the start of the varsity game, advertised for 7 pm, to 7:30. There was a decent crowd for a Friday night, and Troy boosters went home happy after the final buzzer sounded just before 9 pm. Up next for Troy will be old foe CBA on Tuesday at home, then at Mohonasen next Friday before a quick return to Troy for a non-league game vs. Kingston, the first half of a home-&-home series, as Troy travels to Kingston next month.

Sounds of Praise: The Lord's Prayer (1973)

In 1973, Sister Janet Mead cracked the top 10 with a musical interpretation of "The Lord's Prayer". As a result, she became the first female artist from Australia, about a year or two ahead of Olivia Newton-John, to sell over a million copies here in the US.

Sister Mead gave her proceeds for the single to charity, and I wonder, nearly 45 years later, how many people's lives were touched with this recording.

I bring it up because in the news today, Pope Francis has said he'd like to amend one line from the Prayer, as it is written in the Bible. Allow me, then, to quote it for you from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, in the King James Bible:

"Our father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors,
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

I emboldened the line the Pope wishes to amend. He believes that as it is presently interpreted, it would suggest in error that God would lead us into sin, which is not His intention. In France, the Catholic Church there has amended it to "do not let us fall into temptation", which Pope Francis believes may be an appropriate alternative.

The question then is, what do you believe is appropriate?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Deck the Halls w/Dobie Gillis (1959)

For your viewing pleasure, we present a Christmas episode of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis from the 1st season (1959).

Dobie's dad, Herbert, decides to spend Christmas in jail. The episode, "Deck The Halls", explains why.

No rating. Just a public service.

Sports this 'n' that

The NFL, ignoring the fact that commissioner Roger Goodell should've fallen on his sword long ago for inconsistent disciplinary policies, decided to extend Goodell's contract by an additional five years, meaning he'll still be the commissioner until 2024. What the league needs is someone who can define their disciplinary policies, and stick to them. Goodell, after all this time, is not the answer.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Giants reversed field and reinstated Eli Manning as the starting quarterback for the rest of the season after Ben McAdon't was finally shown the door on Monday. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who should've had the head coach's job in the first place, was promoted to replace McAdon't. Unfortunately for Big Blue, up next is a rematch with the rival, resurgent Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Giants have already been eliminated from post-season consideration, and are assured of a top 5 draft pick unless they win their final 4 games, which, considering they also have to play Washington & Philadelphia again, won't happen.
The Albany Times-Union named its all-area---well, Section II, anyway--soccer teams for boys & girls today. Troy High is represented by senior Kevin Vargas on the boys' side. Vargas was also tapped as the Player of the Year, tallying 23 goals in 17 games. Next stop could be UAlbany or Siena or an out-of-town school. Maddie Rifenberek was named to the women's 1st team as goalkeeper, leading the Suburban Council with a whopping 86% save percentage. Congratulations to both players.
Unfortunately, Troy High has gone back to not allowing The Record to talk to their coaches as we begin basketball season. Make up your minds, folks. I thought this was behind us.
One of last year's stars on Troy's women's basketball team, Sabrina Wolfe, is now a freshman at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology). Wolfe will have a "homecoming" when RIT visits RPI on Friday, January 26 to complete a home-&-home series for the season. Don't be too shocked if The Record whiffs on covering the game, since press coverage of local sports is soooooo spotty.
Not long after the Yankees welcomed back former infielder Aaron Boone as their new manager, Arizona State hired former Jets & Kansas City coach Herman Edwards as their new football coach. Edwards, like Boone, is leaving ESPN for his new gig, rather than run the risk of being laid off, as ESPN cut more than 150 people the other day to save money. However, there are those online who feel as though ESPN is unwilling to part with First Take rabble-rouser Stephen A. Smith, perhaps afraid that the bloviating Howard Cosell wanna-be would bolt to Fox or Turner Sports at first asking. Actually, since he has a face for radio......!
Add former CFL/NFL Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon's name to the list of those accused of sexual harassment. What's next? An owner gets outed? If I'm, say, Jerry Jones, I'd worry.
Before losing the Intercontinental title and leaving to shoot "The Marine 6" in England, Michael "The Miz" Mizanin returned to his cable roots at MTV, as he's hosting The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars. The show made headlines on Wednesday when former NFL primadonna Terrell Owens (Eagles, Cowboys, 49ers, Bills) quit the competition when he had his trash talking thrown back in his face by one of the reality stars. The Challenge was taped earlier this year, just to set the record straight. We wouldn't mind MTV reviving Celebrity Deathmatch, just so we can see a claymation version of Miz getting his just desserts......

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Celebrity Rock: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)(1973)

You might recall that on The Partridge Family, only Keith (David Cassidy) did any actual singing. The rest of the family band, including Shirley (Shirley Jones), had their singing voices dubbed over by studio musicians, this despite the fact that Shirley was a trained vocalist herself.

Before the series was over, Danny Bonaduce had released a solo album, and, to support it, appeared on a American Bandstand primetime special, Rockin' The Palace, in June 1973, hosted by the comedy team of Skiles & Henderson.

Here's Danny performing a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)".

Well, at least now we know why Danny had to have someone sing for him on Partridge.

It's going to be a long winter at Troy High

When the Suburban Council basketball schedules came out earlier this year, the coaches at Troy High could see their teams facing a virtual gauntlet right from the jump. It didn't help on the boys' side when it came out a week ago that their leading scorer, Daniel Buie, had transferred to Gould Academy in Maine, part of the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC), in an effort to boost his chances of landing at a Division 1 college. Buie, as reported, has reclassified as a junior, so he'd be part of a Class of 2023 in college.

Interim boys' head coach Greg Davis found that his job had just gotten tougher with Buie gone. Fortunately, he found Buie's successor in Alonzo Alexander, who led Troy with 19 points (5 3 point goals) in a 57-56 loss to Shenendehowa last night. The road, though, won't get easier going forward, as Troy has their home opener Friday vs. Shaker, which beat Albany on Tuesday. Next week, CBA makes their annual visit to Zotto Memorial Gym before Troy goes on the road at Mohonasen. After that is a Saturday home game vs. Kingston in a non-league tilt.

Meanwhile, women's coach Paul Bearup, in his 13th season at Troy, starts 0-3. The Lady Horses knew they'd have trouble replacing their two-woman scoring machine (Shallie Frierson & Sabrina Wolfe) from last season, but there were signs of life last weekend in the Anthony Drago pre-season tournament in Oneonta. Even though Troy finished last in the tournament, it served as a showcase for sophomore Abby Burns, the leading scorer for the women's soccer team during the fall. Not sure if Abby was on the JV team last year, probably was. Troy was blown out by Horseheads, 55-21, on Friday, then dropped a 48-43 decision to Haland Patent in the 3rd place game on Saturday. Jenalyse Alarcon, a returning starter from last season, led Troy with 11 points in the Saturday game.

However, reality struck in the home opener vs. Shen, and did it ever. After playing a tough game vs. the Lady Plainsmen in January at Zotto Memorial Gym, the Troy women were blown off the court last night in a 79-12 demolition. Burns was held scoreless, and Alarcon had only 1 basket. Troy was shut out in the 3rd quarter, held to just 2 points overall in the 2nd half, as Shen had their way the entire night. It was so bad, that on Sports Night on Spectrum News, anchor Marissa Jacques opted not to have the score posted on the screen to save the Lady Horses from further embarrassment.

The Troy women will play at Shaker for the 3rd time in 2017, and the 4th meeting between the 2 schools in a calendar year, dating back to New Year's weekend last year, on Friday. Then, it's right back home for a non-league matinee vs. Baldwinsville before Mohonasen comes in on the 15th.

It's too early to project how deep either Troy team will go in the sectionals in late February-early March, but as of now, the prospects don't look good. Troy High Nation has to prepare for a long, cruel winter.