Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Classic Reborn: The Outer Limits (1995)

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

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

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

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

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

Following is a sample season 7 episode:

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Old Time Radio: War of The Worlds (1938)

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

Rating: A.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Musical Interlude: I Fought The Law (1979)

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

Sports this 'n' that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Spook Rock: Remains of The Day (2005)

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

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

Weasel of The Week: Robert Bowers

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

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

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


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

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

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

Old Time Radio: The Great Gildersleeve (1941)

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

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

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

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

Rating: B.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: B.

High School this 'n' that

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

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

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

Friday, October 26, 2018

YouTube Theatre: Dragnet (1966-9)

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

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

Edit, 12/18/22: We've replaced the three part Dailymotion entry with a fresh YouTube post from Neil Martin.

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

Rating: A-.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, he wouldn't.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Old Time Radio: Halloween with the Shadow (1940)

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

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

Rating: A.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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

Oh, this was too good to resist.

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

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

Try this out at your next Halloween party.

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: A.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

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

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

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

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

Following is a sample clip with special guest Burt Reynolds introducing the show and the opening skit, plus commercials.

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

Rating: A.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Rockin' Funnies: Goodbye Earl (2000)

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

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

Saturday, October 20, 2018

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

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

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

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

Edit, 1/5/21: The only videos available now, even for the intro, are in foreign languages. Instead, we'll use a title card:

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

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

It was fun while it lasted.

Rating: B.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Musical Interlude: King of Pain (1983-4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sports this 'n' that

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

The boys finish an unsightly 0-15-2. The women close at 3-14. Gee, y'don't suppose the girls could've beaten the boys in a co-ed scrimmage, do you?
Speaking of Lansingburgh, the football Knights extended their losing streak, blown away by Mohonasen, 42-12, Thursday night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Musical Interlude: Garden Party (1972)

In 1971, there was a classic oldies concert at hallowed Madison Square Garden. Rick Nelson was on the card, and when he started playing some country music, the crowd took exception to it, and began booing. There are accounts that state the booing was actually caused by some rowdy fans being removed from the venue, but Nelson took the affront pretty personal, and abruptly ended his set.

A year later, Nelson's "Garden Party", which references what happened that night, hit #6 on the Hot 100.

Creepy TV: The Invisible Man (1958)

H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man has been adapted for movies or television several times, starting with the 1933 feature film starring Claude Rains in the title role.

While that film stayed relatively close to the original source material, television adaptations have gone in a different direction. In 1958, the first small screen adaptation aired in England. The hooks here were these:

1. The lead role was not credited to any one actor. The actors were kept anonymous by design. and, as you'll see in the video below, the actor playing Dr. Peter Brady (the character was named Griffin in Wells' novel) keeps his back turned to the camera to keep his identity a secret.

2. Dr. Brady ends up as a espionage agent for the British government. Harve Bennett's equally loose adaptation for NBC and Universal in 1975 followed a similar path, but lasted one season. We'll discuss that version another day.

The Invisible Man was last seen on American screens in 2012-13 on Me-TV. The Peter Rodgers Organisation, which acquired another ITC series, The Saint, among its current holdings, has the rights.

Here's the opener, "Secret Experiment".

The scenes with Peter's sister and niece were meant to make the show appeal to families, given the heroic nature of the character in this iteration.

Rating: C.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Creepy TV: The Wickedest Witch (1989)

ALF creator Paul Fusco delivered one last primetime special to NBC, 1989's The Wickedest Witch, which, when you think about it, was really more of a satire of Halloween cliches.

Rue McClanahan (The Golden Girls) has the title role as Avarissa, who was banished to a subterranean world 300 years earlier. The trolls that live there, the Greevils (Fusco puppets, with Fusco using his ALF voice for one of them), are more content playing Bingo and other games. Avarissa sends one of them to the surface to tempt a young human to perform an evil act to spring her from her prison.

Burgess Meredith narrates. There are commercials, with voiceovers by then-studio announcer Danny Dark, and Bill Wendell (Late Night With David Letterman) plugs shows for later in the week at the end of the broadcast.

This has never been rerun, or released on home video. I wonder why.

Rating: C-.

What Might've Been: Bronk (1975)

There are those of us who think that hosting Ripley's Believe It Or Not! in the 80's for ABC was Jack Palance's primetime debut. It wasn't. It was really his most successful of three primetime series.

The renowned screen legend first tried the small screen in the 60's with The Greatest Show on Earth, which lasted one season. Then, in 1975, Palance shifted gears and entered the already heavy crime drama genre.

Bronk was at the back of CBS' Sunday lineup for six months (September 1975-March 1976), following a pilot movie that aired in April of '75. The creative pedigree is most interesting. Bronk sprang from the mind of All in The Family star Carroll O'Connor, who served as co-executive producer with Bruce Geller, who'd left Paramount for MGM after Mannix & Mission: Impossible ended their runs. O'Connor and his business partner sold Bronk to MGM and CBS, but viewers inexplicably tuned them out. Airing opposite the final hour of NBC's Sunday Mystery Movie and ABC's Sunday Night Movie had a lot to do with that. CBS thought they were being clever by pairing Bronk with Telly Savalas' Kojak on Sundays, but it just didn't work.

After Bronk was cancelled, Palance went back to making movies until Columbia called, and signed him to host Ripley's. Repeats of Cannon filled the vacant space on Sundays for the rest of the season.

Here's the intro, courtesy of The Rap Sheet:

Had it been on a different night, and with better promotion from the network, it might've worked.

No rating.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Musical Interlude: Black Betty (1977)

If you've ever been to a sporting event, be it pro or amateur, chances are you've heard this next track.

"Black Betty"'s recording history extends back many years. In the 70's, a band called Starstruck rose from the ashes of the Lemon Pipers of "Green Tambourine" fame, and recorded "Black Betty". However, it wasn't until another group with the same personnel, Ram Jam, not to be confused with a UK band of the same name, that the song rose up the charts.

The NAACP found the lyrics offensive and sought to, well, ban "Black Betty". It didn't work. Ram Jam ended up a 1-hit wonder as a result of this song.

Sports this 'n' that

The sun will set on Troy High's soccer season, at least for the boys, before the week is over.

Inexplicably, the winless Flying Horses are entered in the Class A sectionals, and will have a rematch with Ballston Spa in the first round. Troy has been shut out in 4 of their last 5 games, and 7 of the last 8. What were they thinking when they accepted a bid?

Conversely, the women, who were shut out in back to back games over the weekend, go across town to Lansingburgh tonight in a first round Class A matchup. A win here, and the Lady Horses would have a 3rd go-round with Averill Park, which beat them, 3-0, on Sunday.

For what it's worth, while Lansingburgh is a B school in football, they're an A in soccer, and I'm not sure about other sports. Trying to make sense of that gives me a headache.
El Cheapo Media's Joe Boyle gets a Dunce Cap, retroactive to Sunday, for some errors in his game report of Friday's Troy-Averill Park football clash. He miscredited AP's Carl Nitz with the Warriors' final TD (which was actually scored by QB Anthony Childrose), and apparently had trouble hearing the archaic public address system at Picken Field, else he'd have been able to properly credit Joe Milanese with his first quarter TD.

Now, I realize that the PA system needs to be upgraded, and that should've been done already, but the school board has other priorities.....
The Evil Empire of the NFL, the New England Patriots, made sure that the Kansas City Chiefs wouldn't embarrass them in Foxborough a second time, but had to sweat out a 43-40 shootout on Sunday. The problem I have? New England was not penalized. I didn't see the game, but I can guess that there were the usual suspects getting away with fouls because the refs were instructed to give them a free pass. New England QB Tom Brady won his 200th career game, but I don't want anyone ever again referring to him as the greatest of all time. He's not.

Patriots owner Bob Kraft, as we've noted, is on some influential committees in the league, and had to have arranged for this game to be played in Foxborough for the 2nd straight year, just to avenge what happened the last time the two teams played at Gillette Stadium. This shouldn't be permitted ever.

In high school leagues, such as the Suburban Council, for example, teams will alternate home field for matchups on a year-to-year basis. Granted, they've gotten away from that a bit, as Shenendehowa's women's basketball team will visit Troy for the 2nd time in as many seasons, but normally, it would be the other way around, with the boys at home vs. Shen.

Back to the Patriots. Since the league has slapped them on the wrist twice in the last 11 years, the appropriate punishment for them in the wake of those scandals would be to reduce the number of home games per year to just 4, the 3 games vs. divisional rivals, and one game vs. a non-conference foe, preferably not a sub-.500 club that the Pats could walk over and run up the score.

As for the league itself, it's past time to end the coddling of star players and call all penalties correctly. If you see it, call it. Don't hold your flag, especially in Foxborough.
This may actually be the earliest the NBA has started their regular season in recent memory, as the season starts tonight. The Albany Times-Union's Pete Dougherty reported last Friday that Atlanta, which drafted former Shenendehowa star Kevin Huerter out of Maryland in June, will only have 13 nationally televised games. That the Hawks were among the dregs of the league last season is a big reason why. Huerter's presence, however, ensures the Hawks will get some nightly highlight coverage here in town.
Reality has set in for the 2nd year Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL. At last check, last year's Stanley Cup runners-up are 2-4, one of those losses being in a rematch with Washington last Wednesday. Tonight, the Knights host Buffalo. It's still a long season, though, with plenty of time to catch up.
WWE is taking some heat for, at the very least, hesitating about pulling out of Saudi Arabia and rescheduling their November 2 Crown Jewel show in the wake of reports that the Saudi government had a lot to do with the death of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in Turkey. Other businesses have wasted little time cutting ties with the Saudis, but WWE, which signed a 10 year deal with the Saudis earlier this year, is moving forward, deleting any mention of Saudi Arabia in their promotion of the event, and while that leaves the door open to relocating the show, the heat is really on Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon for placating his bottom line, and not the health, both mental and physical, of his troupe, as there are also reports some of the troupe are a little skittish about a 2nd trip to Saudi Arabia in less than a year.

Crown Jewel would be the starting point, really, for the company's fall European tour, which has them doing television in England on November 5-6.

Maybe someone should strap Vince into his chair in the board room and make him watch the Clash's "Rock The Casbah" video in an endless loop for a month......

Monday, October 15, 2018

Origin of a Classic: Let's Make a Deal pilot (1963)

Let's Make a Deal is marking its 55th anniversary this year. In its various itinerations, including a short-lived primetime incarnation on Fox, it has aired on four networks, CBS being the current home.

Let's turn the clock back to the beginning, back to 1963, and a 37 minute pilot, prefaced with a pitch by host-executive producer Monty Hall (ex-Video Village).

Announcer-sidekick Wendell Niles was gone after a short while. Most of us remember the late Jay Stewart as Hall's partner.

Rating: A.

The last round-up for a classic team (?) (The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams, 1977)

This one's for Hal Horn over at The Horn Section:

From season 2 of The Life & Times of Grizzly Adams:

Adams (Dan Haggerty) & Mad Jack (Denver Pyle) meet a pair of bumbling gold prospectors in "Gold is Where You Find It". Forrest Tucker & Larry Storch (ex-F-Troop, Ghost Busters) team for what was probably the final time.

I remember seeing this one at home with the parents, and getting a few laughs.

Rating: A.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Classic TV: Studio One (1948)

Here's something that we need more of on television in this day and age.

In the early years of television, anthology shows were commonplace, just as they were on radio. In fact, Studio One made the transition from radio to television in 1948, and spent 10 years on CBS. Recently, the series spent some time on the Decades network, airing at least twice a day at one point. A number of episodes are stand-alone classics, including an adaptation of Reginald Rose's 12 Angry Men.

With Halloween approaching, we present, from 1957, "The Night America Trembled", which offers a dramatization of the events of October 30, 1938, and the Mercury Theatre's adaptation of H. G. Wells' War of The Worlds. While Orson Welles is not mentioned, nearly 20 years after his production caused such a stir, his spirit is there.

Our cast includes a number of future stars, including Warren Beatty, Warren Oates, Edward Asner, James Coburn, and an uncredited John Astin, who turns up at the 16 minute mark. There's no mistaking his profile. Alexander Scourby is our "host", but the framing sequences are done by Edward R. Murrow.

18 years later, the events of that night were dramatized anew in an ABC Movie of The Week, "The Night That Panicked America".

Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

Saturday was Homecoming at Bethlehem High, despite the drizzling conditions by the time their women's soccer match vs. Troy took place. By the time it was over, not only had the skies cleared, but Troy's two game winning streak had gone by the boards. Grace Hotaling notched a hat trick while sister Ruth had three assists, and the Lady Eagles handed Troy their worst loss of the year, a 12-0 shellacking that Justin Haviland's club has to recover from quickly, as the regular season ends today in Averill Park.

Unfortunately for Bethlehem, it was not all smiles at the end of the day, as their football team dropped a 26-17 decision to Niskayuna.
For the second time in three weeks, a reporter for El Cheapo Media, in this case sports editor Joe Boyle, covered a Troy High football game, and, due to the ongoing sports media blackout imposed by the school district, could only talk to the losing team, in this case Averill Park.

I stress that this isn't Boyle's fault. He inherited this problem, and has to find a way to convince Troy superintendent John Carmello to end the blackout. On Carmello's end, he has to recognize that El Cheapo doesn't have the resources they once did, and their quality of reporting has taken a hit in recent years. El Cheapo's parent company is run by a hedge fund which is only concerned with their bottom line. Not a good way to do business.
Shaker grad Wahid Nabi returned home Saturday as Ithaca paid a call on UAlbany. The Bombers won, and, in a way, that allows Nabi a small measure of revenge on the Great Danes' freshmen, Joe Casale & Dev Holmes (Troy), who bedeviled Nabi and the Bison the last two seasons.
Sad to report the passing of Canadian wrestler Don Leo Jonathan, who, while a beloved fan favorite in his native land, was used as a heel (villain) in the World Wide Wrestling Federation in the 70's. Didn't appear all that much, and I was looking for footage of him on WWWF weekend programming, but as of now, none can be found.

It just begs to ask, again, why the McMahon family, starting with Vincent J. (Jess) McMahon, have this preference for using Canadian wrestlers mostly as heels, as if Canada was just as foreign as, say, Uganda.
It must suck to be a NY Giants fan these days.

Big Blue is 1-5 after getting shellacked by Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Eagles have owned the Giants in recent times, having now won eight of their last nine meetings, and despite the changes in the offensive line, the real problem may in fact be the declining skill set of QB Eli Manning, now in his 15th season. The Giants keep trying to develop quarterbacks to succeed Manning, and ended up wasting a pick last year on Davis Webb, who went to the Jets in preseason.

Here's an idea. If you can convince Eli's telegenically challenged brother, Nationwide salesman Peyton, to stop ruining Brad Paisley's career (the new commercials suck) and give Eli some help, maybe there's an outside chance Big Blue makes the playoffs. At this rate, that ain't happening.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Musical Interlude: Another One Bites The Dust (1980)

"Another One Bites The Dust" was the first single from Queen's 1980 album, "The Game", and burned up car radios throughout the summer.

Coming up in a few weeks, there will be a feature film biography of the band, and more specifically, singer Freddie Mercury, "Bohemian Rhapsody". This will be on the soundtrack.

Friday, October 12, 2018

High School Fridays: Averill Park @ Troy (football), 10/12/18

Less than 24 hours after their boys' soccer team spoiled Senior Night for Troy High, Averill Park sought to do the same to the Flying Horses in football, and clinch the Class A Capital Division in the process.

Let's put this in perspective. Since taking over as head coach at Troy three years ago, Bob (The Builder) Burns just doesn't lose at home. That made the task that much more formidible for the Warriors, who came into the night undefeated at 6-0. Yes, there's also the matter of collecting a three year old receipt from the last time they were here, but that was secondary to the job at hand.

After Troy went three and out on their first possession, Averill Park drew first blood when Joe Milanese raced 70 yards to paydirt against the porous Troy run defense. However, the Warriors chose to go for two, since QB/P Anthony Childrose doesn't have the confidence to kick PAT's or field goals, or so it would seem. The 2 point conversion failed, and Averill Park had a 6-0 lead.

That didn't last. Troy answered right back when Xavier Ward ran for a game-tying touchdown. Troy had the same problem with conversions, and their 2 pointer failed. The Warriors then marched back the other way, and Childrose helped himself by running it in from in close. Unfortunately, the 2 point conversion failed yet again. Averill Park was back up, 12-6, but that would be their last lead of the night.

Troy came back, as Xavier Leigh tied things up, but---wait for it---the 2 point conversion, which wasn't intended to be that way, failed, as Alex Wolfe's pass fell incomplete after a poor snap.

On the next possession, Childrose coughed up the football, and Tyrell Penalba, one of last week's heroes, recovered. A few plays later, Troy averted disaster when Keyshawn McMorris fumbled, but Jalen Elbert was Johnny-on-the-spot to recover and complete the run for a touchdown. Troy led, 18-12, at the break.

After a scoreless third quarter, Burns reached into his bag of tricks to ice the game in the fourth. Makai (Don't Be) Cruel, on the halfback option, hit Leigh for an 81 yard score. The defense bent, but didn't break, and Averill Park ran out of time, and magic. Troy wins its 4th straight division title, 2nd in Class A over that span, 24-12.

Next week, Troy begins its quest for a 3rd straight state title by hosting Scotia in the first round of the Class A playoffs. The Tartans locked up the #4 seed in the Grasso Division by disposing of Gloversville. Averill Park will host Ballston Spa.

The Class A playoffs shape up like this:

LaSalle at Queensbury (October 20).
Columbia at Burnt Hills.
Ballston Spa at Averill Park.
Scotia at Troy.

It's going to be interesting the next two weeks.
High school sports mavens have one less outlet now. WRGB/WCWN has cancelled Upstate Sports Edge after three years on the air. The stations have opted to expand the 10 pm newscast to a full hour, leaving Spectrum News' Sports Night as a nightly option.
More Troy High: The boys' soccer team ended a historically bad season Thursday night, as noted above, with another shutout loss at the hands of Averill Park. Coach Mike Murnane's club finishes 0-14-2, having lost their last eight, seven by shutout, including their last five. The women's match between Troy & Averill Park was postponed to Sunday due to poor field conditions. I suspect Averill Park has a grass field, and we're seeing more postponements in soccer than I can remember. I suppose student health is a paramount concern these days, but you'd never see a football game rained out unless it was under hurricane conditions.
The Daily Gazette reported on Wednesday that LaSalle was forfeiting their two non-league wins over Ravena and Ichabod Crane due to the use of an ineligible player, which the school self-reported, chalking it up to a clerical error. Thus, LaSalle advances to the playoffs as the #4 seed in the Capital Division with a 2-5 record. Ichabod Crane has the same record after beating Lansingburgh, 32-0, ending a miserable, winless season for the Knights.

What Might've Been: The Snoop Sisters (1973)

Following the success of McMillian & Wife, producer Leonard Stern sold NBC a second entry for their Mystery Movie wheel, which proved to be less successful.

The Snoop Sisters began with "The Female Instinct", in December 1972. Stars Helen Hayes & Mildred Natwick had made an earlier film, "Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate", playing completely different characters, although the profession remained the same, a year earlier for ABC. In this case, though, being mystery novelists, they were the forerunners of Angela Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote, and that lasted a long time.

Only 4 Snoop Sisters episodes aired on NBC before the plug was pulled. There were some changes from "The Female Instinct". Art Carney had co-starred in "Instinct", but didn't return. I think he might've been shooting "Harry & Tonto" when Snoop went to series, so Lou Antonio, later of Dog & Cat, stepped in to replace Carney. Also, the part of Lt. Ostrowski, played by Lawrence Pressman originally, was recast with Bert Convy, who, of course, would move on to Tattletales after the series ended.

Perhaps the only thing that worked in the series favor was that it aired on Wednesdays. CBS' original Hawaii Five-O, in which Hayes' son, James McArthur, co-starred, was airing on a different night at the time, as memory serves.

So why did it fail? I honestly don't know. I never saw the show, so there won't be a rating. In the spirit of Halloween season, we serve up the series finale, "Black Day For Bluebeard", with Vincent Price & Roddy McDowell.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Origin of a Classic: The very first Tonight Show (well, part of it, anyway)(1954)

Next year, the Tonight Show franchise will have its 65th anniversary. Whether or not the network and/or current host Jimmy Fallon will acknowledge the occasion is not known at the present time.

Anyway, what follows now is part of the very first episode of Tonight, hosted by Steve Allen, with announcer and newsreader Gene Rayburn.

Allen was right about one thing. The show is still going, just not the way he wanted you to think.

Allen cut back his schedule when NBC gave him a Sunday night berth in 1956, to the point that he and Ernie Kovacs would alternate. Both left Tonight the next year, with Allen continuing with his Sunday show. The network then decided to make the show more like Today, and that flopped, leading to Jack Paar beginning his run.

Rating: A.

High school this 'n' that

Well, this is it. Last game of the regular season at Troy High for their boys' soccer team. If there's any semblance of sense, athletic director Paul Reinisch and coach Mike Murnane would be wise to pass on the sectionals when they start next week.

When Murnane's Flying Horses hit the pitch at Picken Field tonight for their Senior Night clash with Averill Park, it, by all rights, should bring down the curtain on what has been one of the worst seasons, if not the worst, in school history. A putrid 0-13-2 (0-11-2 in the Suburban Council) record would suggest to Reinisch and Murnane to do right by the players and pack it up after tonight.

Personal note: When I was a student at Troy back in the day, their boys' soccer team was among the best in the Big 10, usually in contention for the league title. It was the football team, back then, that was the laughingstock of the campus. Oh, how times and fortunes have changed.

The Troy women will be at Averill Park tonight. The Lady Warriors already own one victory over Troy this season, as they're playing home & home matches this season to fill the void in the schedule created when Mohonasen jumped to the Colonial Council after last season. Justin Haviland's club has won 2 in a row, a modest winning streak, but with 3 wins on the season, the ladies may be coming together at just the right time to play spoiler during the sectionals. The girls close at Bethlehem on Saturday morning.
According to Schedule Galaxy, it looks like Troy's boys' basketball team will play in a holiday tournament closer to home this year, that being at old rival Catholic Central in Lansingburgh. Tournament dates are December 28-29. More details as we get closer to the date.

Meanwhile, the women will open their season before the boys do. The ladies' first game is November 30 at home vs. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. Even though Paul Bearup's club struggled last year, the Lady Spartans haven't exactly scared anyone in recent years.
Speaking of Averill Park, their football team will return to Picken Field for the first time since 2015 tomorrow night, hoping to spoil Troy's Senior Night in much the same way they did to Columbia two weeks ago. The Warriors are a vastly improved club compared to their 2015 edition, which left Troy battered, bruised, and beaten. Troy coach Bob Burns is hoping to remain undefeated at home, and at the same time collect the team's fourth straight divisional title.

One note of caution that I didn't mention in last week's report on the Troy-Columbia game. Troy threw caution to the wind, and risked fate by moving the band's position in the bleachers to the left side of the stands, as opposed to the right side, where they usually are. I suppose the point of this exercise was to make sure they were heard by the players as they raced out onto the field. Hopefully, this is just a one-time thing, because if it's the same thing tomorrow night, well, I don't want to think about it right now.
The Albany Times-Union is reporting today that officials at Niskayuna are looking into allegations that students shouted racial slurs at members of the Schenectady women's soccer team during their match with the Lady Silver Warriors on Tuesday.

Here's my take:

1. It's a traditional border war between the two schools, and sometimes, things can get out of hand, especially with a few rowdy students, likely boys, showing no respect.

2. Schenectady has one of the worst teams in the Suburban Council in women's soccer, and the slurs won't help the players' self-esteem and confidence as the season winds down. In fact, according to one parent, it only makes things worse.

3. One wonders if there'll be any carryover during the winter, when the two teams play basketball, and some of the same women might also be on the court for the Lady Patriots. Something to watch for.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Classic Reborn: Halloween With The New (?) Addams Family (1977)

The Addams Family had ended its first run in 1966, but it lives on via syndication and cable 52 years later, spawning not only a cable revival and two feature films, but also this little-seen (and subsequently forgotten)
TV-movie that aired not on ABC, the series' original network, but NBC.

Not only that, but the show's original producer, Filmways, had nothing to do with the movie. Instead, independent producer Charles Fries, who'd also adapted Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man for television that same year, for CBS, had acquired the license. The original cast had been reunited, save for Blossom Rock (Grandmama), who was ailing. Jane Rose (Phyllis) stepped in to sub.

Why is it called Halloween With The New Addams Family? Because Gomez (John Astin) & Morticia (Carolyn Jones) have had two more children, naming them after their initial offspring, Wednesday & Pugsley. Anyway, Henry Darrow (ex-The High Chaparral) joins the cast as Gomez's brother, Pancho in a tale of mistaken identity, deception, and danger---on Halloween.

Never got to see this when it first came out, so there's no rating. Just a public service.

2018 League Championship Series preview

Now, we are down to baseball's answer to the Final Four.

The National League Championship Series begins Friday in Los Angeles, while Boston hosts the ALCS on Saturday. Let's take a look and see who goes to the World Series.

Milwaukee vs. Los Angeles: The Dodgers have reached the NLCS for the 3rd straight year. having split the last two with the Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee hasn't gotten this far since entering the NL, and, as noted when we discussed the Division Series a week ago, they haven't reached the World Series since they were in the AL in 1982 (lost to St. Louis).

The pitching favors the Dodgers, and the only question in terms of the roster is whether or not they will activate infielder Chase Utley, in his final season, ten years after he won his first ring with Philadelphia. They could certainly use the veteran presence on the bench even if he doesn't play. Utley was left off the NLDS roster, and, as it turned out, LA didn't need him then, but having that extra bat off the bench in a slightly longer series will help.

Milwaukee has a bit of an identity problem. Aside from Ryan Braun, if you asked Joe Average to name someone on the Brewers, the first name they could think of is radio announcer Bob Uecker. That's the problem with being in the midwest and playing in a division with the Cubs, Reds, & Cardinals. Their no-name pitching staff has gotten them this far, but no further.

Pick-Los Angeles in 6.

Houston vs. Boston: The defending champions have had time to sit back and assess Boston's four game series win over the Yankees. There's nary an easy out, really, on either team offensively. Locally, fan interest will be split due to the Astros being the parent to the NY-Penn League champion Tri-City Valleycats. There've always been Red Sox fans in the home district.

Houston's pitching rotation figures to be already set, since they needed just three games to dispatch Cleveland. Justin Verlander will start Game 1 Saturday night, likely vs. Chris Sale, who had a hold coming out of the bullpen last night vs. the Yankees. Boston's bullpen, including closer Craig Kimbrel, has been shaky. Kimbrel nearly blew the save last night, giving up 2 runs with the bases loaded in the 9th.

All I can say is, get ready for a World Series rematch.

Pick-Houston in 7.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Spook Rock: Welcome To My Nightmare (1978)

From season 3 of The Muppet Show:

Alice Cooper is the featured guest, and kicks things off with his 1975 hit, "Welcome To My Nightmare", sans Vincent Price, whose spoken word portion isn't used. Price had appeared on the show in season 1.

Sports this 'n' that

In the wake of Saturday's loss to Texas, Oklahoma dismissed defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, brother of former coach Bob Stoops, earlier today. The annual Red River Showdown, which was won by the Longhorns Saturday in Dallas, is the Sooners' answer to traditional baseball rivalries such as Yankees-Red Sox or Cubs-Cardinals. The in-state rivalry game vs. Oklahoma State, played next month, is otherwise known as Bedlam. Well, they do know how to market games, don't they?
Speaking of the Yankees and Red Sox, game three of their ALDS will commence in about an hour as I write this in the Bronx with the series even at 1-1. Two storylines emerged coming out of Saturday's game, neither of them really of any significance.

A New York Daily News reporter misinterpreted TBS (and Mets) announcer Ron Darling's remarks about Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka as a racial slur, and Darling ended up apologizing for something that he really didn't have to apologize for. Bear in mind that these are hypersensitive times we are in, and the tabloid, which dismissed several of their staff earlier this year, has lost a bit of credibility as a result.

Meanwhile, Boston's David Price failed to get out of the 2nd inning on Saturday, and online reporters are suggesting the BoSox would be nuts to send him back out in a crucial game 5. Price's Boston run may be coming to an end.

News flash: I don't think Boston would use Price anyway, even out of the bullpen. They still have Nathan Eovaldi, the former Yankee, as well as Rick Porcello and game 1 starter Chris Sale. All it is, really, is just a bunch of hot air to fill space.
As of press time, Saturday's soccer matinee at Picken Field between Troy & Colonie's boys teams had not been reported. Troy has just 2 games left, both at home, tomorrow & Thursday vs. Bethlehem & Averill Park, respectively, under the lights at Picken Field. We just have to assume Colonie won, and move on.
Back to the playoffs. Defending champion Houston swept Cleveland, winning today, 11-3, behind two homers from ex-Valleycat George Springer. The Astros now await the Yankees-Red Sox winner on Saturday. If the Yankees win the series, the ALCS will start in Houston. If it's Boston, then the series will start at Fenway Park.

Over in the National League, Milwaukee completed a sweep of Colorado on Sunday, and now will wait for the conclusion of the Atlanta-Los Angeles series. Atlanta avoided a sweep on Sunday night, but that may be just prolonging the inevitable.

Of Recent Vintage: Mysteries & Scandals (1998)

It wasn't all that long ago that E! had a compact documentary program that covered the seamier side of Hollywood.

Mysteries & Scandals, hosted & narrated by former NY Daily News gossip columnist A. J. Benza, ran for three seasons. It could've continued, but low ratings doomed the show in 2000-01.

It made a perfect complement for the hour-long E! True Hollywood Story, the network's answer to Biography, which had been revived on A & E. However,  because it was a half-hour show, and the fact that E! aired it so frequently during the week, a programming practice networks use to this day to even worse extremes, viewers would be burned out rather quickly.

Here, Benza takes a look at the tragic end of Our Gang's Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer.

Rating: A.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Kanye West gets what he deserves

One week after multi-time Weasel of the Week winner Kanye West decided to be a jerk after Saturday Night Live went off the air, the venerable sketch comedy series answered back via their Weekend Update segment. Pete Davidson, the fiancee of singer-actress Ariana Grande (whom West replaced last week), unloaded a hilarious rebuttal to the delusional West.

I think Pete hit the bullseye in his commentary. I've suspected West of being on drugs, but, sorry, Pete, they're not the prescription kind. The last I checked, they don't give out prescriptions for heroin, crack, or marijuana.

Friday, October 5, 2018

High School Fridays: Columbia @ Troy (football), 10/5/18

13 months ago, former Troy High assistant Bob Treacy came to Picken Field as a visiting coach for the first time. Columbia ended up absorbing a 55-14 beatdown that started Troy off on another run to the state title.

This season, Columbia jumped out to a 3-0 start, and two weeks ago were tied for first with Averill Park. However, the Blue Devils, it can be said, could've been looking past Schuylerville and planning ahead to a meeting with the Warriors. The end result? Columbia hasn't scored in two weeks.

Troy coach Bob Burns can relate. His team could've also been guilty of looking past a Class B foe---Schalmont---and paid for it on opening night. The Flying Horses have won four in a row going into tonight's Homecoming game.

Making things even more interesting was the fact that one of Columbia's offensive stars a year ago, Ari Holmes-Parsons, now wears Troy purple & gold, having transferred over the summer. That meant that Treacy's defense could key on their former teammate, hoping to short-circuit Troy's explosive offense.

Well, it worked. For three quarters.

Holmes-Parsons, now known simply as Ari Holmes, was bottled up for most of the night, and didn't find the end zone. Defense ruled in the first half, as the teams went to the break in a scoreless tie.

It was Columbia that drew first blood in the third quarter, as Garrett McDonald broke the Blue Devils' 2 1/2 game scoring drought with a TD toss to Darryl Williams. Ryan Kelson added the extra point, and Columbia led, 7-0, entering the final frame.

Troy promptly answered back on their next possession, as Xavier Leigh put Troy on the board. However, a bad snap forced an improvised attempt at a 2 point conversion that failed, leaving Troy down by one. Later in the fourth quarter, the other Xavier---Ward, that is---put Troy in front for the first time. Alex Wolfe then hit Hunter Redden for the 2 point conversion, and Troy led, 14-7, with about 2 1/2 minutes left, which was more than enough time for McDonald to bring Columbia back down the field.

However, sophomore defensive back Tyrell Penalba forced a fumble, which he recovered himself, and Troy, despite some penalties, ran out the clock to run their winning streak to five in a row. Columbia has now dropped three straight, but they have a moral victory in that they finally scored.

That sets up Troy's Senior Night showdown with Averill Park. The Warriors blew away Amsterdam, 54-27, to maintain a one game lead in the Capital Division of Class A. Columbia closes at Bleecker Stadium against Green Tech.
Schalmont became the latest Section 2 school to fall victim to Coxsackie virus, aka Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease, the same affliction that forced Amsterdam to postpone their game with Broadalbin-Perth a couple of weeks back. It's the same disease that sidelined a pair of major league baseball pitchers, the Mets' Noah Syndergaard and the Yankees' J. A. Happ, earlier this summer. Schalmont's campus was disinfected, with classes and a Homecoming night game cancelled. The game will be made up at a later date to be determined.
Back at Troy, basketball player Juliana Valenti was crowned Homecoming queen at halftime of tonight's game. As often happens, the cattle herd thinned out of the bleachers after the ceremony, making it easier for everyone else to make it off the campus safely at game's end.

Funny thing, though. Neither the Albany Times-Union nor El Cheapo Media published pictures of the candidates for Homecoming queen, ending a years long tradition. Given the present environment de-emphasizing the sexualizing of young women, that would explain why the pictures didn't appear in the papers. El Cheapo hasn't run the pictures since 2016, but, then, there's other issues there.
Troy's women's soccer team has won two in a row after shutting out Albany on Senior Night, 1-0. Coach Justin Haviland's club made a similar run to the postseason a couple of years ago, and will close on the road with games at Averill Park and Bethlehem next week. The boys' soccer team, meanwhile, has been shut out in four of their last five games, falling by a 2-0 count on the road at Albany on Thursday. Coach Mike Murnane's winless squad comes home tomorrow to begin a season ending homestand with a brunch special vs. Colonie.

On The Shelf: The Lone Ranger rides again, and other news you can use

Dynamite Entertainment has brought back The Lone Ranger in an all-new series, which for now is solicited as an ongoing title, but invariably it ends up being scaled down to a miniseries when initial orders don't meet company expectations. Either that, or Dynamite just likes to swerve readers.

Anyway, the Ranger takes a hand when some greedy landowners decide to create their own system of law & order, if ya will. Writer Mark Russell comes over from DC, and creates a tale where there has also been some friction between the Ranger and Tonto. Topps Comics tried that tack 25 years or so ago. It's been a while since Dynamite put out a Lone Ranger book, so figure that this is to keep the license in effect. Should be a good read.

Rating: A.

DC Comics made a splash at the NY Comic-Con Thursday, the biggest news being the launch of yet another imprint, Wonder Comics, which is being curated by Brian Michael Bendis. That doesn't mean Bendis will write every book (he won't), but he is introducing some new characters into the mix, including a present-day descendant of Jonah Hex and a teenage Green Lantern, the latter of which will tie into Grant Morrison's take on the Emerald Crusader, which begins next month.

Wonder Comics will also have an online presence with a book based on this....

Young Justice: Outsiders will launch on DC Universe soon, and the above trailer should whet your appetite. Wonder Comics will also serve as home to another revival of Dial H For Hero, which dates back to the Silver Age, and, for the first time ever, the Wonder Twins, Zan & Jayna, will star in their own book, written by Mark Russell (Lone Ranger, The Flintstones), drawn by Stephen Byrne.

Translated, there's something for everyone. January solicitations will go online October 22, so stay tuned.

Archie Comics decided to recap everything that has happened in the current series, while at the same time reverting to the series' original numbering. That means the new issue is #699, with issue 700, out next month, setting up a new story arc that figures to continue the series' change in direction, pulling it closer to the CW's Riverdale, which begins its 3rd season later this month. Nick Spencer, who has gotten a mixed reaction for some of his controversial work at Marvel, takes over as writer. I didn't feel enough of a vibe to return. Instead, I was left on a down note.

Rating: C (down from my original rating three years ago).

Archie is also pitting two of their horrorific alternate worlds against each other next year when Vampironica (Veronica) is pitted against Jughead: The Hunger. Frank Tieri, the scripter for the latter book, is writing the miniseries. At least those books are out regularly, since they're not being written by Riverdale show-runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who's refused to continue the books he was writing (Afterlife With Archie & Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the latter being adapted for television by Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti, and debuting in three weeks on Netflix) with other writers picking up the batons. That could prove costly down the road.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Musical Interlude: Peter Gunn (1986)

England's Art of Noise served up a cover of Henry Mancini's theme from Peter Gunn, aided and abetted by guitar icon Duane Eddy, in 1986. Eddy had recorded his own version back in 1959. Rik Mayall (ex-The Young Ones) appears in the video as a Gunn parody.

Baseball Division Series final preview

We're standing pat with the picks in the Division Series, save for one.

We see Boston & Houston advancing to the ALCS, and we see Los Angeles over Atlanta. That leaves.....

Colorado vs. Milwaukee: Should've remembered that Miller & Coors merged a long time ago, but nonetheless the suds will be pouring at Miller Park & Coors Field over the next week.

Be that as it may, the Brewers are looking to get back to the World Series for the first time since 1982, when they were an American League team (lost to St. Louis). The Rockies haven't waited as long, as they fell to Boston in 2007. Matt Holliday, a key component of the 2007 Colorado club, is back in Denver after signing a minor league contract earlier this year (finished last season with the Yankees), but there's every reason to believe this could be the last round-up for Holliday, though you just never know in this crazy business anymore.

I'm just begging Fox (FS1 is carrying the NLDS) to let Milwaukee radio voice and Hall of Famer Bob Uecker get some time in the TV booth. Give the guy his props already.

This is tough to call because both teams don't have the star power of, say for example, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, or the Yankees. Ryan Braun is on the downside of his career, and wouldn't mind finishing with the championship in hand. News flash. It ain't gonna happen.

Pick: Rockies in 5. Call them Destiny's Children.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Everything you never knew about the Munsters....and were afraid to ask (Biography, 2002)

From A & E's Biography:

It got to the point where the venerable documentary series was doing episodes on other TV shows. Case in point: A 2002 episode covers the history of The Munsters. Bill Mumy (Lost in Space, Babylon 5) narrates.

We've already reviewed 1981's The Munsters' Revenge (w/Sid Caesar), so 1995's Here Come The Munsters will be along if we can find it. Ditto for 1966's feature film, "Munster Go Home".

Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

Well, after I posted my playoff picks on Monday, I'm already 0-1, with Colorado needing 13 innings to dismiss Chicago last night. Updated picks tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the annual ritual of managerial departures has begun.

10 days before the season ended, Texas bounced manager Jeff Banister. The Rangers underachieved, and dropped all the way to the AL West cellar. Apparently, signing Bartolo Colon didn't help matters after all.

After the final outs were recorded on Sunday, the carousel began spinning.

In Los Angeles, Mike Scioscia has chosen to step down after 19 years as Angels manager. He leaves with 1 World Series title (2002), and plenty of near-misses. Next stop? Probably Fox.

Minnesota parted company with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor after a disappointing finish. As per usual, management looks to go in a different direction. Worse, the Twins will need to fill a gaping hole in their offense with the retirement of catcher-first baseman Joe Mauer.

Finally, Batlimore decided to dispose of Buck Showalter, whose teams have routinely been near the bottom of the AL East, including a historically bad 2018 campaign which mght've been the final straw. The Orioles also need to replace a veteran power bat, as Adam Jones apparently is saying good-bye.

I don't think we're done, but we'll see.
Another night, another loss for Troy High's boys' soccer team. They played through the raindrops at CBA Tuesday afternoon, with the Brothers winning, 2-0. Troy is now 0-10-2 with four games left. They'll finish the current road trip in Albany tomorrow before coming home Saturday to play Colonie.
Reading that they're looking to put a NHL team in Seattle. After lack of fan interest in recent years ran an NBA team out of town (to Oklahoma City), I can't see the logic here. Then again, Las Vegas hit the jackpot (pun intended) last year as the expansion Golden Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals before losing to Washington.

Of course, Seattle would probably be the only team to have the Winter Classic rained out.........
It amuses me to no end to read people's reactions on message boards to WWE's seasonal ratings issues.

Monday Night Raw posted record low ratings for the 2nd straight week opposite a killer AFC West matchup between Kansas City & Denver.

We all know the root of the problem lies with WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon, who has grown complacent with the perception that his company has no true competition within his own line of work, and the repetitive matches and recycled storylines don't resonate with viewers like they used to. McMahon, 73, doesn't realize that his audience doesn't have the sound byte mentality that he has long thought they had. Monday Night Football routinely outdraws Raw this time of year, especially with edge-of-your-seat thrillers like Chiefs-Broncos, which Kansas City won in the final 2+ minutes.

McMahon doesn't care, either. He's long ago boasted that he tells the audience what they want to see, even if it isn't the truth. It's his vision that he's imposing on the rest of us, and part of the reason that he stays off television now is because it's finally dawned on him that his value as a performer is nil due to his age and his on-air persona having long gone insane. He won't accept the inevitable end game (forced retirement in character), because in his mind he feels the company will collapse without him.

No, it won't. It will undergo a period of transition, and life will go on. McMahon's ideas are behind the times, and updating those ideas in the 21st century hasn't worked. While "Mr. McMahon" should have been sent off to Happy Acres years ago, McMahon refused to do that because it would make him look weak. Either that, or he saw how WCW botched things with fellow geriatric Ric Flair 18 years ago, and decided he didn't want to do something like that. At his age, McMahon is still working tirelessly at a time when he should be at home enjoying the sunset years. The man just cannot accept that his time in the wrestling business has long since ended. Everyone loses.