Saturday, October 31, 2020

Sean Connery (1930-2020)

 This hurts.

Most of today's audience might think of Sean Connery in terms of how he was parodied on Saturday Night Live in spoofs of Jeopardy!, but his film career extended nearly 70 years, ending in 2012. Connery has passed away at 90.

Thomas Sean Connery, to use his full name, achieved icon status after starring as Ian Fleming's unflappable secret agent, James Bond, in 7 movies between 1962-83, the last of which, "Never Say Never Again", wasn't produced by Albert Broccoli and the usual team, which had, ah, decommissioned Connery nearly a decade earlier in favor of Roger Moore. "Never", however, proved that Connery was still capable of carrying the role, and that Broccoli had cut him too early.

Connery's other film credits, as diverse as they are, also included "The Longest Day", "Darby O'Gill & The Little People", "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure", "Robin & Marian", "Time Bandits", "The Hunt For Red October", "Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade", and, in 1987, Brian DePalma cast Connery in a remake of "The Untouchables", co-starring with Kevin Costner & Robert DeNiro.

In this clip from "Untouchables", Eliot Ness (Costner) meets Jimmy Malone (Connery) for the first time.

When Daniel Craig's final Bond film, "No Time to Die", finally hits theatres, expect it to be dedicated to Connery, the first big screen Bond, and, many say, the best of them all.

Rest in peace.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Old Time Radio: The Shadow in Murder in The Death House (1940)

 Let's return to the golden age of radio with The Shadow.

"Murder in The Death House" was first broadcast in January 1940, with Bill Johnstone in the title role, and Marjorie Anderson as Margo, who goes undercover to help the Dark Avenger smash a crime ring that has part of its base in prison.

Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

 Earlier this month, the National Hockey League held its annual draft, four months later than normal due to the pandemic. The Arizona Coyotes wasted a 4th round draft pick on Mitchell Miller. I say wasted because earlier this week, the Coyotes renounced their draft rights to Miller after the backlash over the selection.

Four years ago, Miller and a friend had bullied and harrassed a disabled African-American classmate, taking advantage of his disability. The friend has since apologized to the victim, something Miller hasn't done. Since he'd made the decision to turn pro, he's not likely to play in college, where he'd be under scrutiny again.
Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash is bringing his former coach with Phoenix, Mike D'Antoni, back to New York.

D'Antoni was hired by the Nets to serve as an assistant under Nash for next season, this after D'Antoni had been fired by the Knicks several years back, one in a series of coaches who could not co-exist with man-child owner James Dolan. Major boss move by Nets management, and if the Nash/D'Antoni combination leads Brooklyn to the playoffs next season, it's going to make Dolan look worse than usual. Karma, y'all.
After dismissing Rick Renteria following a 1st round playoff exit earlier this month, the Chicago White Sox decided to go back to the future, if you will.

On Thursday, Chicago hired Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa, whose first managerial job was with the White Sox in 1979, and netted him an appearance on To Tell The Truth a year later. The hiring comes 9 years after LaRussa had retired from managing following a World Series run with St. Louis. He's been in the front office with Arizona since then.

What's next? Luring Ken Harrelson out of retirement? 
Nebraska may not be long for the Big 10.

The Cornhuskers' game vs. Wisconsin was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns, so the school booked a non-league replacement without vetting it through the league in the first place, so the league cancelled that game.

In all honesty, Nebraska didn't feel like a perfect fit to begin with, moving from the Big 12 to chase the money, getting little in the way of success in return. I think school suits are looking to move out of the Big 10, and either move back to the Big 12 or to another league, and that may be true.
As reported on Wednesday, Dodgers 3rd baseman Justin Turner was removed from the World Series clinching game 6 on Tuesday night after testing positive for COVID-19. Now, Major League Baseball is considering investigating the entire scenario, as an earlier test came back inconclusive.

My take: the Dodgers let their quest for vindication get in the way of common sense. At the start of the season 3 months ago, Turner was the one reminding teammates to follow the protocols set by MLB, and then, he goes and violates them himself. Even with an inconclusive test, Turner should've been pulled sooner, and left out of the Game 6 lineup. The blame has to be shared between Turner, manager Dave Roberts and his coaching staff, and team management.
Turner's not the only high profile COVID case.

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence also tested positive, and will miss Saturday's game vs. Boston College, and possibly could sit out the November 7 game vs. Notre Dame, both important ACC games for the top ranked Tigers. Now, the question is whether or not there were any other players that were also infected. Stay tuned.
Mets fans have reason to cheer today.

Major League Baseball's other 29 owners approved by majority vote the sale of the team to billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, ending Fred Wilpon's ownership of the team, either whole or in part, after 41 seasons (1980-2020). Wilpon became majority owner in 2002 after buying out original partner Nelson Doubleday, but after the Bernie Madoff mess, Wilpon and son Jeff were villified by fans and media alike for taking the same cheapskate approach that the Payson family had until Wilpon & Doubleday bought the team in 1980.

Former General Manager Sandy Alderson will return as team president, but it looks like his successor as GM, former player agent Brodie Van Wagenen, may be done after 2 seasons. We'll see.
With his suspension over, AJ Hinch will be back in the dugout in 2021.

Hinch, on whose watch the Houston Astros ran their cheating scheme in 2017-18, was hired today by the Detroit Tigers to replace Ron Gardenhire, who retired last month. All that's left is for the other shoe to drop, and Alex Cora resurfacing either in Boston or elsewhere. And you know that'll happen.

On The Air: The Weakest Link (2020)

It was a popular series in its native UK, lasting 12 years. Its first run in the US lasted just a couple of years, tops, due to the networks flooding the airwaves with night time games and "reality" shows.

The Weakest Link is back in the US, even if it's for a short time this time, and back on NBC, which took a chance nearly 20 years ago. Jane Lynch (Hollywood Game Night, ex-Glee) takes over as series host this time around. The game is the same. 8 contestants must join forces to build a bank that could net up to a million dollars, but one by one, the players are eliminated until only one remains.

Here's a trailer for the 2020 edition:

NBC has placed Link on Tuesdays this time, hoping to generate enough ratings and viewer interest to warrant bringing it back. One thing we know, you can't gauge changing viewer tastes, so we'll see how this plays out.

Rating: A.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Musical Interlude: Boil Them Cabbage Down (1964)

 From season 4 of The Andy Griffith Show:

The Darling family (Denver Pyle, Maggie Peterson, & the Dillard brothers) are back, along with Charlene's husband, Dud (Bob Denver, who took over the role from Hoke Howell). This clip, I believe, closes the show, as we're hearing "Boil Them Cabbage Down". As usual, Andy sits in on guitar, and this time, sings, along with Charlene & Dud. Dud, Andy, & Barney (Don Knotts) take turns doing some do-si-do with Charlene.

I don't think Bob ever sang on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis or Gilligan's Island, but he did in a movie (and we've already got "Ho Daddy"). The Dillards did release three albums including the songs they performed on the show.

It's official: The man once known as America's Mayor is now America's Political Idiot

 I have often referred to the Republican Party, or GOP (Grand Old  Party) as the Geezers on Parade because, well, the most high profile members of the party today (i.e. President Trump, Mitch McConnell) are still working when they should be retired, collecting Social Security, and living out their sunset years in peace.

Rudy Giuliani falls into this category.

The former Mayor of New York and Attorney General has debased himself repeatedly the last couple of years with interviews on various networks. He comes across now as the beloved grandfather who now has to be sent to a retirement home because his mental functions are shorting out.

The latest example of this came Tuesday night on Fox Business Channel when he was interviewed by Kennedy (full name: Lisa Kennedy Montgomery). The former MTV VJ had to take the heat when she questioned Giuliani on his off-the-rails attempt at dishing dirt on Hunter Biden a couple of weeks back.

Farron Cousins explains, and shows a clip of the interview.

No one is buying Giuliani's tall tale, not even FBC's sister network, Fox News, or its print cousins, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, which had a reporter choose to avoid a by-line to avoid embarrassment. It shows just how desperate the GOP is to ensure a 2nd term for Trump, and Giuliani is 78, same age as Joe Biden, who recently celebrated a birthday.

At best, this is a cautionary tale to Trump supporters, because as much as Trump tries to frame Biden as being mentally deficient, the same can be said for the President and Giuliani. They do so much deflecting on questions, there would be room for them on a senior tennis tour. NOT!

The bottom line? Giuliani, who earned a Dunce Cap recently, needs to be reminded that he is now a full time Dunce.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What hath Trump wrought?: Now his brainwashed minions want to kill Lesley Stahl

 It has been three days since 60 Minutes aired interviews with the candidates. Less than a week since America's Oldest Baby leaked out the contents of his interview on social media in a temper tantrum. 17 million people tuned in Sunday night, which proves President Trump is a draw. However, veteran journalist Lesley Stahl, who interviewed Trump and Vice President Mike Pence separately because of a tantrum thrown by the president 8 days ago, is getting death threats from some of Trump's more deranged, brainwashed followers. You can't convince these people that they've been lied to over the course of not four, but five years, dating back to the start of Trump's campaign in 2015.

Ring of Fire's Farron Cousins breaks it down:

What's going to happen if Trump loses next week? Will these drones go after Joe Biden? Kamala Harris? Other journalists? These hardcore Trumpian sheep gave up their brains to support Trump, and it's going to cost them big time. We've already seen how some of these people decided they wanted to grab Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, and got caught, earlier this month.

Whatever happened to the concept of free speech, people? Just because the president doesn't take criticism very well----his childish tantrums are proof of that----doesn't mean you can follow suit. If he told you to jump off the highest building in your city, would you do it?

The five year shell game could very well end in six days. Or it might not. And that's scary.

A little of this and a little of that

 In a season truncated by coronavirus, it seems only fitting that before the Los Angeles Dodgers could claim their first World Series title since 1988, a key player would be removed from the game.

Third baseman Justin Turner was removed in the 8th inning after the team learned that Turner had tested positive for the virus. Turner would return after the game to join the on-field celebration, which might not be the smartest of moves. At the time, Los Angeles led, 2-1. In the bottom of the frame, Mookie Betts, who was part of the Boston Red Sox team that beat the Dodgers two years ago, iced the game with a solo homer, making the final score 3-1.

For the Dodgers and their fans, this was about vindication, more than ending a 32 year title drought. After getting screwed, so they say, due to the Houston cheating scandal three years ago, and then to have ex-Astros coach Alex Cora (a former Dodger player, mind you) in the Boston dugout the following year, Los Angeles closed a chapter in their history they'd rather forget just as quickly.

With the Lakers & Dodgers winning championships within weeks of each other, fans in LA are hoping either of their NFL teams, the Rams or Chargers, could add the Super Bowl. Stay tuned.
While he's a villain in the ring at present, WWE's Elias is showing he really does have some musical chops.

The wrestler released his 2nd EP in 3 years on iTunes and Spotify on Monday. "Universal Truth" soared to the top of the sales charts on both online platforms before the day was over. The capper to the EP is a cover of the gospel standard, "Amazing Grace", the arrangement of which will recall the Animals' classic, "The House of The Rising Sun", back in the 60's.

As of now, Elias hasn't shot any actual music videos, but WWE released four videos to YouTube with the album cover as the visual, including "Amazing Grace":

Elias' vocals are a blend of Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker, and, given the Animals' connection, Eric Burdon. Mighty tasty.
Peacock's revival of the Saturday morning sitcom, Saved by The Bell, will drop on the platform on Thanksgiving Eve, November 25. Not everyone is back, though. Dustin Diamond (Screech) burned his bridges with a tell-all book a few years ago that made him toxic to his castmates. Lark Voorhies (Lisa) could still turn up, but doesn't appear in the current trailer. It's safe to say that Bayside principal Richard Belding (Dennis Haskins) retired, as Bayside has a new principal (John Patrick Higgins, America Says) overseeing the school in the new series.

And it's now official. Zack & Kelly Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar & Tiffani Thiessen) will return. Zack is now the governor of California in the series' canon. I'm assuming that Gosselaar will find a way to split time between Bell and ABC's Mixed-ish. Those of you jonesing for the original series can catch it on Peacock and on Me-TV, the latter on weekends.
Seems that Fox has parted company with comedian Rob Riggle, as they're using guests to fill his spot on Fox NFL Sunday. John Michael Higgins turned up this past Sunday, and, two weeks earlier, Jeff Probst parodied his CBS series, Survivor. Riggle has spent the last two summers co-hosting ABC's Holey Moley, and I'm guessing that his contract may have been up for renewal, and Fox decided they didn't need him anymore. He'll turn up somewhere soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

President Trump gets what he wanted-----and what he didn't want

 Monday was a case of good news, bad news for the Trump administration.

The good news? Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court, giving the GOP a 6-3 advantage heading into next week's election. Senator Pruneface (Mitch McConnell) bum-rushed the confirmation through, ignoring more important issues, like, you know, the coronavirus, so the court would be in a position to make significant rulings before and after the election. A vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, for example, would be on the docket in 2 weeks. Trump, obsessed with erasing anything and everything associated with his predecessor, made repealing the ACA part of his 2016 platform, but by the time the court makes a decision, it may already be too late for Trump, should he lose the election.

The bad news? Son-in-law Jared Kushner went on Fox & Friends Monday morning and, basically, did what the adult men in the Trump family tend to do. Grandiose embarrassment on national television.

Kushner had the gall to make disparaging remarks about African-Americans, leaning into an ages old stereotype suggesting that African-Americans need to be motivated to achieve their goals. This is a little dubious coming from a trust fund jackass who, like his father-in-law, bought his way into college, and if he wasn't a senior advisor, he'd probably be loafing at the nearest country club.

Whoopi Goldberg and the panel on The View took their shots earlier today.

Since we handed out Dunce Caps yesterday, jewels-for-brains Jared gets the Weasel of The Week award. This was just too easy.

Monday, October 26, 2020

America's Oldest Baby wants coronavirus coverage declared a violation of election law. It's official. He's nuts.

 With a little more than a week before election day, President Trump decided, for no other reason than to, as usual, call attention to himself, that media coverage of the coronavirus pandemic should be considered a violation of election law.


COVID-19 has been a major news story since the beginning of the year, and it's a topic that Trump doesn't want to address, knowing, of course, that he's been shredded for his intentional downplaying of the virus. However, it's also an issue that could very well cost him re-election next week, and he's not dealing with that very well.

"WAAAAHHHHH!! I should be on the front page every day! WAAAAAAHHHH!!"

Sorry, Mr. President, but a global health crisis is, in fact, much more important to the American public than a 70-something man-child with self-esteem issues who can't go a day without being the center of attention. He embarrassed himself on national television yet again as his now-infamous interview with Lesley Stahl aired last night on 60 Minutes (if you missed it, it's available On Demand on cable, and streaming on CBS All Access), which he himself leaked on Facebook three days prior in a petty tantrum. He can't deal with the tough questions that America wants answered because, well, let's face it. He may, for all we know, be emotionally disturbed to the point where his mental capacity has lapsed to that of a child, and that the scrutiny that goes with the office of President is actually too much for him to bear, despite his faux tough guy posturing.

But to claim that media coverage of a more important national issue is a violation of election law?!?! Like, seriously? If that doesn't scream out, "I'm in over my head!" to his vacuous, brainwashed supporters, what will?

Between Trump and Chief of Stupidity, "Easy" Mark Meadows, making equally stupid remarks about the pandemic, they both get the Dunce Cap this week. While we're at it, Since Trump has "won" several Caps, he can loan a pair for Ivanka & Jared.....!

Sports this 'n' that

 The Los Angeles Dodgers have waited 32 years to win another World Series. This morning, they're on the verge of doing just that.

As Clayton Kershaw continues to exorcise the postseason demons of his past, the Dodgers now have a 3-2 lead in games over the Tampa Bay Rays following a 4-2 win on Sunday night, memorable only because Tampa's Manuel Margot, a former San Diego Padre whom Kershaw has faced many times before, was caught trying to steal home.

The last time someone tried stealing home in the Fall Classic? Brad Fullmer, then with the Angels, in 2002, against----wait for it---Kershaw. The Angels went on to win the Freeway Series that year.
Two more teams fell from the ranks of the undefeated Sunday in NFL play.

NFC West leader Seattle dropped a 37-34 overtime decision to resurgent Arizona, tightening the division race even more, as the Los Angeles Rams will take the field tonight vs. Chicago.

In a battle of unbeatens in the AFC, North leader Pittsburgh defeated South front-runner Tennessee when old nemesis Stephen Gostkowski missed a game-tying field goal with 11 ticks left on the clock.
Dallas Cowboys owner/GM/President Jerry Jones is just as stubborn as some of his fellow geriatrics (i.e. Vince McMahon, President Trump). His refusal to hire an actual, full-time general manager is a big reason why the 'Boys keep falling short.

More proof of this came with the hiring of former Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who is no longer the game manager he was with the Packers. At the end of his run there, and so far this season with Dallas, McCarthy is coaching like he's Charlie McCarthy, but Jones is no Edgar Bergen.

Dallas was blown out by the Washington Deviants, 25-3, Sunday, but the big story was a late hit on QB Andy Dalton, who probably thinks he's back in Cincinnati this morning, by Washington's Jon Bostic, who was rightfully ejected for his stupidity.

Image courtesy of Yahoo!

Now, the Deviants and Cowboys are tied for 2nd in the NFC Least at 2-5 behind Philadelphia. Barring a late winning streak, the division winner is assured of the #4 seed in the conference come playoff time. As you can see above, Dalton was helped off the field, and went through the concussion protocol. Status for the next game is questionable at the moment.
Somehow, ye scribe went the entire day without a Peytonville ad from Nationwide Insurance. Unfortunately, Peyton Manning was still heard from.

Manning is the new shill for Tide detergent. Apparently, Procter & Gamble realized that Rob Gronkowski might've accidentally ate some detergent pods like they were candy (actually, his contract with P & G expired), so Gronk's been replaced by the Mayor of Simpleton, who apparently doesn't know thing one about remote control equipment.
We joke about how the Patriots' game day catering now consists of yogurt (due to Cam Newton doing ads for Dannon) and sub platters (Bill Belichick is one of the NFL shills for Subway). Unfortunately, at 2-4 after getting blown out at home by San Francisco, maybe the menu needs to change. Newton was benched in the 3rd quarter, replaced by Jarrett Stidham, after throwing three interceptions. Meanwhile, it's beginning to look like Tom Brady will have the last laugh.

Brady, Gronk, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dispatched Las Vegas, frustrating Jon Gruden even more. Tampa is 5-2, atop the NFC South, a half-game up on New Orleans, which would own the tiebreaker if they complete a season sweep of the Bucs later this season.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Musical Interlude: You Learn (1995-6)

 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Alanis Morissette's major label debut, "Jagged Little Pill". "You Learn" was the 5th single off the CD, and, because it was coupled on CD singles with "You Oughta Know", shares credit with the latter track in peaking at #6 on the Hot 100.

Picked this song because some genius at CBS chose this as background music leading into a commercial break during today's Patriots-49ers game after Cam Newton played his way onto the bench with three interceptions.

Before joining Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins was Morissette's drummer, hence his appearing in the pie fight scene.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Creepy TV: The Elvira Show (1993)

 Popular cable horror hostess Elvira, Mistress of The Dark was a hot enough commodity such that she got to star in her own feature film in 1988. There are those that say that the movie was meant to be a back-door pilot for an NBC series, but it never materialized.

Five years later, Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) finally landed, at the very least, a pilot for a sitcom, partnering with 20th Century Fox for The Elvira Show. However, network suits were turned off by the sex jokes and other innuendos, as apparently, this was aimed to air during "family hour" time (8-9 pm ET), so the pilot never made it to air, and has circulated online and on the convention circuit.

Katherine Helmond, fresh from Who's The Boss?, co-stars, with John Paragon (ex-Pee-Wee's Playhouse) as the voice of the cat.

If the whole idea of a young woman discovering she has powers while living with her aunts sounds familiar, well, three years later, Archie Comics' Sabrina, The Teenage Witch was adapted for television, first as a TV-movie for Showtime, and then, kicking off a 7 year run on ABC & WB as a family friendly sitcom. Go figure.

No rating.

The First Family of Shame gets served cheese with their whine

 The Trump administration loves to dismiss certain avenues of mainstream media as "fake news" because they can't take criticism. We've known that for the last few years.

So it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one when Trust Fund Barbie (Ivanka) and her husband, Kenny Korrupt (Jared Kushner), whined like little babies when the anti-Trump Lincoln Project bought ad space in Times Square, carefully editing a certain picture of Barbie from this summer, editing off a can of Goya beans, to suggest she, and her father, for that matter, revel in the number of lives lost to coronavirus. The Project also took use of a quote Kushner made in reference to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, who looks like a genius next to the unstable genius in Washington after Cuomo raised a stink to America's Oldest Baby over his (Trump's) mistreatment of his native New York.

It's gotten to the point where this filthy rich Barbie & Ken decided to file a lawsuit. What a surprise. Expect to see that thrown out right before election day.

Later Friday, as the defiant President held another rally at a senior citizen community in Florida, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow took issue with Trump and his literally unhealthy obsession with adulation in the face of the pandemic.

As usual, most, if not all, of the brainwashed attendees were unmasked, and not employing social distancing. Bear in mind, Trump signed off on these guidelines, but won't use them himself. His vanity won't allow it. He won't cop to any recent tests that would prove he has fully recovered from his own bout with the coronavirus, but he's more than willing to put innocent people at risk to satisfy his need for attention.

Genocide, anyone?

Friday, October 23, 2020

A Classic Reborn: Supermarket Sweep (1990)

 13 years after the original version had ended on ABC, independent producer Al Howard revived Supermarket Sweep, this time for cable.

Lifetime launched the series in 1990, with actor David Ruprecht ("The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island") as host, and veteran Johnny Gilbert (no relation to ye scribe) taking a break from Jeopardy! to serve as announcer. Instead of setting things up in a real supermarket, which would be totally rad today, Howard opted to create a supermarket set on a soundstage in Hollywood.

That same approach is being taken with the new Sweep, which launched last weekend, back on ABC, with actress Leslie Jones ("Ghostbusters", ex-Saturday Night Live) as host. We'll review the 2020 version another day.

Lifetime cancelled the series in 1995, but after a 5 year break, the series, returned, complete with Ruprecht, but with Randy West as announcer, on Pax (now Ion) for another three years. (2000-3). The format of the new show is the same as the Lifetime/Pax version, so let's show you a 1993 episode to get an idea of what to look forward to.

For what it's worth, the new version uses a retro hip hop beat with Salt 'n' Pepa's "Push It" as the opening theme, while the closing theme reportedly was co-written by Kinks lead singer Sir Ray Davies. Unfortunately for Jones and Sweep, as was the case with a remake of Kids Say The Darndest Things last year, being placed on Sundays doesn't do this show any favors opposite Sunday Night Football and post-season baseball. The 90's-00's version didn't have such worries.

Rating: A.

A little of this and a little of that

 I'd read before last night's debate that President Trump was being "heavily coached" by his advisors. Good thing, but they still could not convince him to deal in something he's allergic to. Truth.

At Belmont University in Nashville, Trump and Joe Biden were engaged in a more traditional civil discourse, moderated by NBC's Kristen Welker. Unfortunately, Trump still pushed the same debunked lies about Biden and his son, and misrepresented facts on other topics, including COVID-19.

Why does he lie so much? Because even though he is talking to the entire country, his remarks are directed at his base of supporters, who will believe anything this spray-tanned con man will sell them.

To that end, MSNBC's Brian Williams & Ari Melber break down some of those misstatements:

It's going to take a miracle for Trump to attain re-election.
NBC viewers expecting to see Tampa Bay at Las Vegas on Sunday will find another channel.

That's because the Buccaneers-Raiders game has had its start time moved up to 4 pm (ET), airing on Fox, instead of NBC. Not sure exactly what the story is, but Fox benefits because this game would be a strong lead-in to game 5 of the World Series, and having the Tom Brady-led Bucs in a showcase game for the 2nd week in a row, after routing Green Bay last week, makes some sense.
Sure, the Giants lost again at Philadelphia Thursday night, but what everyone is talking about is QB Daniel Jones' 80 yard run, which set the Big Blue up with 1st & goal. Jones had a clear path to the end zone, but ran out of gas, stumbled, and fell to the turf, allowing the Eagle defense to catch up. And, yeah, by default, Jones was the Giants' leading rusher for the night. It's that kind of year.
The Big 10 is the last of college sports' "Power 5" conferences to begin football season, which kicks off tomorrow. Shorter schedule, they'll still have a chance at a spot in the playoff, yadda, yadda, yadda. At this point, does it matter?
Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the green light for movie theatres in the 518 to re-open, and today, Regal Cinemas' multi-plexes at Colonie Center & Crossgates Mall are among those opening at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people per screen. We'll see how it affects the box office numbers by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Celebrity Rock: Maxwell J. Friedman (& friends) sing the hits (2013)

 Current AEW star Maxwell J. Friedman made his television debut in grade school, appearing on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and performing "You Are My Sunshine". Fast forward a few years, and Max is now in a high school vocal group, the Acafellas. At their 2013 talent show, Max takes center stage around the 4 minute mark to cover Sugar Ray's "Someday", then returns to help with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop".

Why are we showing this? Because Max pulled out his singer card last night on AEW Dynamite, along with that other well known musical cad, Chris Jericho. 

To think that this was 2 days after WWE's Elias performed a mini-concert with a full band put together for him to promote an album that drops next week (for reals) means it was anything but a coincidence. Max does a good job here, nailing a faithful rendition of "Someday" in particular.

An "interactive" commercial with Boris Karloff (1966)

 Ever hear of Butter-Nut coffee? You haven't? Neither did I until I ran across this next item.

A small, independent company, Duncan Coffee, put Butter-Nut coffee on store shelves in the mid-60's at the very least. It's not around today, in a market where the biggest names in coffee remain Maxwell House, Nescafe, and Chock Full O'Nuts.

In 1966, movie legend Boris Karloff, who had recorded How The Grinch Stole Christmas around the time this was produced, I'd assume, stars in what amounts to an "interactive" commercial, encouraging the viewer to read the lines that appear on the screen, as if he/she were acting out a scene with Karloff.

A very clever concept, indeed.

America's Oldest Baby embarrasses himself again and again

 On Tuesday, President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes, to air this Sunday. Stahl, a veteran reporter, picked up where NBC's Savannah Guthrie left off five nights earlier, and pressed the President on his persistent downplaying of coronavirus, as well as his own condition after contracting the virus last month. According to media reports, Trump walked out of the interview, once again showing he is unwilling to own up to the truth. He ripped into Stahl for not wearing a mask, which is funny considering he refuses to mask up 99% of the time.

"WAAAAAAHHHHH! She's mean to me!"

The truth hurts, doesn't it? Of course, it does. Trump has piled on lie after lie after lie to conceal the truth about just about everything, because he's afraid people will see him as weak. Unfortunately, that horse left the barn a while ago.

And if that sounds remotely familiar, well, I've used such phrases to describe Vince McMahon's TV alter-ego, who was similarly afraid of showing weakness in front of the cameras. That said, we can conclude that Trump might've modeled his faux tough guy persona from The Apprentice after "Mr. McMahon", and has run with the facade since beginning his run for office in 2015.

Also Tuesday, Trump recorded a "town hall" interview with Sinclair Broadcasting's Eric Bolling, which aired last night. Still salty after the Stahl interview, which Trump has threatened to leak before the Sunday broadcast, the president nearly cut Bolling short as well. Someone should've given him a sedative before meeting Bolling.

NBC's Kristen Welker moderates tonight's debate, and has a mute button available to keep the Bloviator in Chief from overstepping his bounds again. As if that'll stop him.

"WAAAAHHH! I wanna do things my way! They won't let me! WAAAAAAHHHHHH!!"

That's because a debate is meant to be a civil discourse between the candidates, and since you won't adhere to the rules, your street corner pitbull mentality has to be, well, neutered. You purposely humiliated Chris Wallace, and you can't stand it when a female journalist calls you out, which Ms. Welker is likely to do tonight.

Good thing there are alternatives to this horror show. Like Thursday Night Football, for example.......

Update, 2:01 pm (ET): America's Oldest Baby has carried out his threat, posting the uncut interview on Facebook. He was supposed to be joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who ended up being interviewed separately.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Spook Rock: (Ghost) Riders in The Sky (1998)

 "(Ghost) Riders in The Sky" has been recorded by artists as diverse as Burl Ives, Vaughn Monroe, Johnny Cash, Debbie Harry, the Outlaws, and the Blues Brothers.

Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) and Mighty Mack (John Goodman) are on vocals for the Blues Brothers' cover, from 1998's "Blues Brothers 2000". When Buster (J. Evan Bonifant) pulls out a harmonica, the actual playing is performed by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper, who appears in the movie, in addition to dubbing Bonifant's harp playing.

When I first heard "Riders", it was Johnny Cash's version in 1979, while I was in high school. The chorus is flipped just a wee bit, but Elwood messes up the 1st chorus ("Ghost herd in the sky"? Seriously?). Cash and the Highwaymen went with the reversed lyrics in the chorus in concert a few years earlier.

Dunce Cap Award: Eric Trump

 You would think that by now, Eric Trump, aka Stupid-E, would get a clue and realize that social media is tiring of his family using doctored images to get a distorted message across.

The latest example of this stupidity came when Trump shared on Twitter a photoshopped image of rapper-actors Ice Cube & 50 Cent, who were supposedly sporting Trump 2020 hats. In reality, Cube was representing Big 3, as in his annual basketball tournament, which has aired on Fox Sports. 50 Cent was rocking a Yankees cap. The photoshopping was because Cube had been working with President Trump on a project, while "Fitty" endorsed the President's re-election campaign.

Predictably, Cube wasn't having it, and let Stupid-E know about it on Twitter, though I doubt Eric would understand. He probably thinks that between Ice Cube & 50 Cent, and the mentally-challenged Kanye West (bi-polar disorder), the rap community would try to encourage African-Americans to support his father. Don't be so sure about that.

In fact, last week, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, a vocal critic of President Trump, debunked America's Oldest Baby's claim that the majority of African-Americans would vote for him over Joe Biden (which is why Cube is working with Dumb Donald I, because he's opposed to Biden's tax plan). President Trump will say anything to get his base behind him, but 99% of his claims are in fact as phony as the spray tan he wears 24/7/365/52.

Stupid-E gets the Dunce Cap this week, joining his father, who has several, and brother Dumb Donald II.

Come to think of it, the Republicans have considered drafting Fox Shmooze's Tabloid Carlson for 2024. Screw that. Cube has more on the ball than Carlson and the Trump brothers put together. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Creepy TV: Alias The Scarf (Green Hornet, 1967)

 The Green Hornet (Van Williams) is on the trail of what seems to be the wax replica of a notorious serial killer brought to life. Movie legend John Carradine guest stars in "Alias The Scarf":

I first saw this when FX had the rerun rights back in the 90's.

Rating: A.

World Series preview


If I were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, I'd pay close attention to this year's World Series, which begins tonight at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Yes, they're still playing in a bubble because of COVID-19, because they don't have a choice.

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, they're still trying to win their first Series since upsetting Oakland in 1988, avenging a defeat in the 1974 Series. Adding Mookie Betts hasn't hurt, of course, and they can always, if they haven't done it already, send thank you cards to AL Champion Tampa Bay for eliminating Houston from the picture. Takes away a lot of unnecessary drama.

The Dodgers' offense is just fine, thanks. Rookie catcher Will Smith will never be confused with the Atlanta pitcher of the same name, whom the new iteration of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air took deep in the NLCS, or the original Fresh Prince, for that matter (and I'm shocked there haven't been enough references to that popular 90's series, other than that Will Smith's solo hit, "Getting Jiggy With It", playing into a commercial break the other night), but this has been a coming of age period for him. The same can be said for Tampa Bay's Randy Arozarena, whom the Rays heisted from St. Louis in the off-season. Sports card speculators are going batshizzle insane, I'm sure, over these guys.

However, the Rays' offense is more than just Arozarena, although you can't tell by the anemic batting averages, and the fact that outfielder Kevin Kiermaier has been hurt. Tampa took advantage of Manuel Margot's familiarity with his former home park in San Diego (Margot & Hunter Renfroe were traded from San Diego in the off-season) in the ALCS, but now, they're back in an AL park they haven't seen this season. 1B Ji-Man Choi returned from injury, and gave the Rays an extra weapon.

Clayton Kershaw gets the game 1 start for LA, but if past history is any barometer, it's not an automatic win. Renfroe & Margot are familiar with Kershaw, of course, and both could be factors. 

Since Sunday, I've gone back & forth on this series. The popular trend the last few years is for long title droughts to end. Tampa has waited 12 years to get back to the big dance, while the Dodgers squandered recent opportunities, and they will argue that, yes, they were screwed by Houston and perhaps Boston in 2017-18. Problem is, the Rays are hungrier and younger. Big difference.

The pick: Tampa Bay in 7.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Celebrity Rock: Who Needs Wings to Fly? (1967)

 In the late 60's, it seemed as though if you had a hit show, chances were you'd also entertain the idea of cutting an album.

Flying Nun star Sally Field was one of the ones who did just that.

While Field has later admitted not being proud of her work on Flying Nun, she did take the time to record the show's theme song, "Who Needs Wings to Fly?", in reference to her character, Sister Bertrille. Apparently, the sting of Gidget having been cancelled still bothered the actress, since she considered it to be some of her best work.

While no actual video exists of Field performing the song, a wise YouTuber found the track.....!

Hard to believe, but Sally is the last surviving cast member from the show, after Marge Redmond's passing earlier this year.

Sports this 'n' that

 Now, we are down to two, with the World Series set to start tomorrow.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have advanced for the 3rd time in 4 years, needing a late homer from star outfielder Cody Bellinger to put away the Atlanta Braves, 4-3. This now sets up a match of the top seeds in each league, as the Dodgers will play the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays, in the series for the first time in 12 years. Full preview tomorrow.

The hearts of newly minted Braves fans in the 518 were broken, as Shenendehowa grad Ian Anderson went just 3 innings due to a high pitch count (73 pitches), giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.
If the NFL season were to end today, Tom Brady would have the last laugh on his former coach, Bill Belichick.

Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spotted Green Bay an early 10 point lead, then shut out the Packers the rest of the way in a 38-10 rout. Meanwhile, Denver used 6 Brandon McManus field goals to beat New England, 18-12. The Patriots (2-3) got QB Cam Newton back, but their kicking game was missing in action. Newton scored both touchdowns for the Pats (1 rushing, 1 passing), but also threw two interceptions as New England suffered its 2nd straight loss. Tampa Bay (4-2) is staying within shouting distance of NFC South leader New Orleans, which was idle this week.

The Jests are now 0-6 after eating a 24-0 shutout at the hands of Miami. It just doesn't matter who's at QB, as Joe Flacco, in his second start subbing for Sam Darnold, showed why Baltimore dumped him in favor of Lamar Jackson three years ago.

On the other hand, the Giants finally won one for 1st year coach Joe "Here Comes The" Judge, clipping the Washington Deviants, 20-19. Big Blue will play Philadelphia next.
Speaking of the Deviants, there are more reports coming out of team suits, including owner Daniel "Napoleon" Snyder (or, maybe, we should rename him Caligua?) making lewd remarks toward the team's cheerleaders. If the NBA could force Donald Sterling to sell the LA Clippers a few years back, there's no reason why the NFL can't take similar action to force Snyder out, too, if all he really is behind the scenes is a half-pint Hugh Hefner wanna-be.

Or are they afraid they'll all be exposed as being deviants, too?

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Classic TV: Lassie Meets The Lone Ranger (1959)

 Lassie was near the end of its 5th season when producer Jack Wrather decided to try something noble, and that was having America's most famous dog meet the Masked Rider of The Plains----The Lone Ranger!

Apparently, there was a promotion tied to the latter series, by this point in syndication after production ended two years earlier. To that end, Clayton Moore reprises as the Ranger to promote "Peace Patrol".

This video also appears at Saturday Morning Archives. No rating.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Creepy TV: Lights Out (1946)

 Lights Out was one of an endless stream of radio series that transitioned to television. At first, producer-director Fred Coe adapted the series, created by Wyllis Cooper for radio, and made into an icon by Cooper's successor, Arch Obeler, with a four episode miniseries in 1946. Three years later, NBC took it national for a three year run (1949-52).

From 1950, "The Martian's Eyes" stars Burgess Meredith in one of his first television roles.

Meredith and co-stars David Lewis & J. Pat O'Malley would later work together, although O'Malley appeared in only one story arc, on Batman. Lewis played Warden Creighton opposite Meredith's Penguin, while O'Malley appeared in an election-themed Penguin story. Lewis would later resurface on General Hospital in the late 70's and early 80's.

It is said that "Martian's Eyes" was later remade, although the source material was different, into John Carpenter's feature film. "They Live", with Roddy Piper and Keith David.

No rating.

Now the crybaby president wants a town hall do-over

 President Trump is planning a dinner of verbal junk food on Wednesday.

After getting the smack laid down on him in the ratings after Thursday's town hall with NBC's Savannah Guthrie, and the resulting whining and crying from Fox Shmooze's Laura Ingraham, Spam Hannity, and Tabloid Carlson (last night), America's Oldest Baby is holding another town hall on Wednesday, right before his last scheduled debate with Joe Biden at Belmont University in Tennessee.

"WAAAAHHHHHH! I wanna do-over! WAAAHHHHH!"

Former Fox Shmoozer Eric Bolling, now the anchor of Sinclair Broadcasting's America This Week, will moderate what amounts to a twinkie munch buffet, because you and I know he's only going to make things easy for Trump, unlike Guthrie, who did what a responsible journalist (and in her case, a former lawyer) would do, and force the President's feet to the fire. Trump's pitbull-esque approach to the first debate threw moderator Chris Wallace off his game, which no one expected, but this is a case of Trump needing to salve his bruised ego.

This much we know is certain. Trump wants to control the debate narrative, and be the irresponsible man-child his base has fallen for. However, every time he's been handed an opportunity to redeem himself before undecided voters or supporters who've abandoned him, he's fumbled. The general public is all too aware of his self-first handling of COVID-19, which has been a disaster, especially with the virus resurgent in a number of states in the first few weeks of autumn.

Wednesday night will not tell us anything we don't already know, and the debate the next night will be more of the same bluster and lying from Trump.

Bear in mind, too, that Trump's behavior will reflect badly on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, as if it hadn't already. And we know what'll happen if Trump flops in the next debate......

Friday, October 16, 2020

Spook Rock: The Witch Queen of New Orleans (1971)

 The Native American rockers Redbone made their first run on the charts in 1971 with the haunting "Witch Queen of New Orleans", which landed them on Beat Club. Scope!

As we all know, Redbone would return three years later with "Come & Get Your Love", their last top 40 hit.

It's not exactly Town Hall Tonight, but a study of contrasts

 After President Trump refused to do a virtual debate with his opponent, Joe Biden, each side decided to do a town hall special Thursday. Even before these programs began, NBC was taking heat from a fair number of talents, including Sterling K. Brown & Mandy Moore (This is Us), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Debra Messing (ex-Will & Grace), and producer Greg Berlanti, for airing Trump's town hall meeting directly opposite Biden's, over on ABC.

Not surprisingly, Trump also took umbrage with his former home network and moderator Savannah Guthrie (The Today Show), but for entirely different and predictable reasons.


According to media accounts, Trump's town hall was predictable hot garbage, as he insisted on perpetuating lie after lie, even though most of his lies have been debunked many times over, proving once again that Trump has the attention span of a dead gnat, and the reactionary skills of a toddler.

Just for the sake of saying so, I'd insert a musical clip from Josie & The Pussycats from 50 years ago ("Lie, Lie, Lie"), but to then associate that with Trump would be doing the comic book icons a disservice.

Meanwhile, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who did a town hall with America's Oldest Baby last month, moderated for Biden, who resisted the temptation to clarify his position on "court packing", as in, the Supreme Court. Biden took his shots at Trump, after the President had mocked Biden for abiding by COVID-19 guidelines and wearing a mask, something the vain Trump is unwilling to do on a consistent basis.

After Trump's town hall ended, Fox Shmooze's Spam Hannity and Laura Ingraham, among others, because they're so accustomed to conducting "softball" interviews with Trump, the kind that NY Daily News columnist Bob Raissman refers to as "twinkie munch" interviews, expressed shock and disgust that Guthrie would actually, you know, do her job, and press Trump on a number of issues, including his aversion to the truth.

To that, we say, jealous much?

The candidates will meet in a debate--we think---next Thursday, to air on Fox Shmooze and likely other outlets. Why bother? Trump's not going to change the way he sees things, especially after claiming that COVID-19 is on its way out, when it clearly isn't. Muting him, as if he was on, say for example, Around The Horn, is the best way to even things out.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Now you know why they're called tabloids

 For years, the New York Post was, and might still be, one of Rupert Murdoch's holdings.

Of late, it's been in the tank for President Trump, and, like Fox Shmooze, is resorting to supermarket tabloid tactics to try to sway public opinion toward America's Oldest Baby, and away from former Vice President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the Post allegedly broke an "exclusive" story claiming it had obtained e-mails dating back at least three years claiming that Biden's son, Hunter, had been involved in some business dealings with China as well as Ukraine. However, the story raised a few red flags, leading to Twitter and Facebook taking action to alert users that the Post's attempt at modern day political "muckraking", if you will, was little more than yellow journalism in the 21st century. 

White House press shill Kayleigh McEnany shared the story on her Twitter account, and had it blocked because the piece violates the social media giant's rules regarding misleading information. I guess the Duchess of Dumb doesn't know the difference between real and fake news anymore, like most of the Trumpian sheep.

On the cover of today's editions, the Post editors are whining about censorship. Whatever happened to responsible journalism? Occasionally, I buy the Post, and jump right to the sports section. For now, they're standing by their "story", which is nothing more than a tall tale. Given how the Trump administration never lets facts get in the way of the stories they're trying to spin, we should not be surprised that a newspaper that traces its lineage to the colonial era (founded by Alexander Hamilton, they used to boast proudly) would join the GOP hyperbole machine.

We would be remiss if we didn't point out that the chain of possession of those alleged e-mails includes this week's Dunce Cap winner, Rudy Giuliani, who has also been tapped by his buddy, President Trump, to head up the legal fight if Trump does lose the November 3 election. He's got a better chance of reserving a suite for 2 at Bellevue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Musical Interlude: Hurt so Bad (1965)

 Released at the end of 1964, "Hurt so Bad" became the 2nd straight top 10 hit for Little Anthony & The Imperials off their "Goin' Out of my Head" LP.

This performance is from The Ed Sullivan Show:

Four years later, The Lettermen would chart with their cover, and Linda Ronstadt hit the top 10 in 1980.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Dunce Cap Award: Rudy Giuliani

 Over 215,000 Americans, and counting, have died from complications resulting from coronavirus.

Apparently, Rudy Giuliani stopped counting, or just doesn't want the facts to get in the way of the story he's selling to prospective voters.

Giuliani was in Pennsylvania on Columbus Day, on the stump for his pal, President Trump, claiming that there haven't been any more deaths from coronavirus. He's even gone so far as to claim he's taken hydroxychloroquine, the "cure" Trump touted after he himself got some bad advice.

The deterioration of a once proud American continues.

Apparently, Giuliani's personal physician comes from the clinic of Drs. Howard, Fine, & Howard, because, as we've said before, Giuliani has lost his marbles, and every time he goes out in support of fellow geriatric Trump, unmasked, just like the President, he embarrasses himself even further. What more needs be said for someone who picked up another Dunce Cap?

Classic (?) TV: Four Star Revue, aka All Star Revue (1950)

 An appropriate analogy to describe NBC's Four Star Revue, later retitled All Star Revue, would be that it was television's answer to the children's book, The Little Engine That Could. It was one of the first, along with Colgate Comedy Hour, anthology-style variety shows in that a different host appeared each week, some in a rotating fashion.

That first year had four rotating hosts---Jack Carson, Jimmy Durante, Danny Thomas, and Ed Wynn. In season 2, the network was able to bring in additional hosts to the series, hence the change to All Star Revue, but, as ratings began to fall, after the series shifted from Wednesdays to Saturdays in season 2, it was reduced to a monthly series, to give its former Wednesday partner, Your Show of Shows, a breather. Martha Raye eventually took over the show, which would bear her name for the rest of the run.

From season 2 comes the Ritz Brothers headlining a show that includes a send-up of Dragnet, complete with Jack Webb, who swaps out his monotone narrative voice, showing a flair for comedy that would surface years later when he did skits with Jack Benny and Johnny Carson.

The Dragnet skit is also available on its own, although it appears that copy was the victim of some poor editing. The Ritzes' pantomiming over Webb's narration is worth the price of admission.

No rating.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Forgotten TV: Goodbye, Charlie (1985)

 Goodbye, Charlie began as a Broadway play by George Axelrod, then adapted into a feature film with an all-star cast that included Debbie Reynolds, Walter Matthau, Tony Curtis, & Pat Boone.

Some 20-odd years after the movie, 20th Century Fox decided to reboot it as a prospective ABC sitcom. And I do mean reboot.

Suzanne Somers (ex-Three's Company) takes over the title role, essayed in the movie by Reynolds, only this time, Charlie has been reincarnated into a woman (Somers) after drowning in a hang gliding accident. Charlie'd been murdered in the movie, and, presumably, the play. John Davidson assumes the role played by Curtis, except that he's now in the television business. Had this succeeded, Davidson probably doesn't get to do Hollywood Squares the next year.

We all know what happened next. Somers rebounded two years later with She's The Sheriff, and, as we know, Davidson got three years out of hosting Squares.

No rating.

Sports this 'n' that

 The Dallas Cowboys may have 1st place in the NFC Least, but at the cost of star QB Dak Prescott.

Prescott suffered a dislocated ankle in the Cowboys' 37-34 win over the Giants Sunday, as Andy Dalton, who came over from Cincinnati in the off-season, rescued Dallas, which is now 2-3 on the season. How long Prescott will be out hasn't been determined, but the probability is that he'll go on 6-week injured reserve to allow time for the ankle to heal. Dalton is a proven, capable starter, and this could be the spark the 'Boys need.

Update, 11:50 am (ET): Prescott has had surgery to repair the ankle, and is out for the rest of the season, as his recovery time is expected to be in the range of 4-6 months.

As for the Giants, well, at least they played their hearts out, unlike the Jests, who spoiled Joe Flacco's 1st start by turning in another snoozer in a loss to Arizona. There are online commentators calling for Adam "Hard" Gase to be the next coach to be fired. If that happens, he would be the 3rd in 2 weeks, after Atlanta sacked Dan Quinn following Sunday's loss to Carolina, leaving the Falcons also at 0-5. 

If I'm Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer, I'd start hearing footsteps. Yep, the Vikings are also 0-5 after losing to Seattle.
Regardless of where they've played, the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders is one of the oldest in the AFC, starting in the old AFL in 1960.

To that end, the oddsmakers may have proven their stupidity again, leading to yesterday's game, installing the Raiders as a near-two-touchdown underdog against the Super Bowl champs. Vegas ended up winning the game, 40-24, tightening the AFC West race.
If there's any solace for the Chiefs, they now have more than a week before they play Buffalo, as that week 6 game, originally set for Thursday, has been moved to next Monday due to coronavirus concerns. The Bills play Tennessee---we think----tomorrow.
We would be remiss if we didn't address another sports legend's passing.

We touched on the fact that Yankee Hall of Famer Whitey Ford had passed away following the Bombers' game 4 win Thursday, only to be eliminated from the playoffs the next night vs. Tampa Bay. Ford, 93, nicknamed "The Chairman of The Board", not so much because of his dominance on the mound, but rather, because the Yankees' detractors in the 50's & 60's likened rooting for the team to rooting for General Motors, for example, played his entire career in New York. As noted on Saturday, the Yankees hastily stitched Ford's #16 on the sleeves of their uniforms prior to Friday's game, but those heavy hearts couldn't jump start their leaden bats.
I found it amusing that Alabama coach/AFLAC agent Nick Saban questioned whether or not Mississippi might've been stealing signals during Saturday's game, won by the Crimson Tide. New Ole Miss coach "Primrose" Lane Kiffin denied the charges, saying it was next to impossible. The Rebels have been a tough out for Alabama in recent times, but the pinball-style scoring looked more like it belonged in a Big 12 game.
While Allstate Insurance has retired Mayhem (Dean Winters)--we think--Dr. Pepper is into season 3 of its Fansville series, starring ex-Oklahoma and Seattle Seahawks star Brian Bosworth as the county sheriff of an unnamed state. We think Dr. Pepper would be wise to offer the series on DVD as an incentive to sell more soda. Just sayin'.
So the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA title Sunday, dispatching Miami in 6 games. It will be fun to see Screamin' A. Cosell (Stephen A. Smith) whine his way through today's episode of First Take. Until Screamin' A. decides to swap his microphone for a coach's job, he's got nothing to say. Just sayin'.
Update, 11:51 am (ET): Another baseball Hall of Famer has passed away.

Joe Morgan, the stalwart 2nd baseman who was a vital part of Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" in the 70's after coming over from Houston, and moved on to a broadcasting career after his playing days ended, has passed at 77 from nerve issues. Morgan played in four World Series in the 70's with Cincinnati (1970, '72, '75, '76). After retiring, Morgan swapped his glove for a microphone, and called both MLB and College World Series games for three networks (CBS, ABC, ESPN) before retiring from broadcasting in 2010. He then moved into a new field, starting an auto dealership in 2012.

Rest in peace, Joe.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Tom Kennedy (1927-2020)

 If you grew up watching game shows during the 60's, 70's, and 80's, like I did, you became accustomed to one particularly steady presence.

Tom Kennedy (born James Narz) began as an announcer for Betty White's sitcom, Date With The Angels (brother Jack Narz had the same gig on White's previous series, Life With Elizabeth) and ex-Dragnet co-star Ben Alexander's lone game, About Faces, whose producer, Ralph Edwards, later signed Kennedy to host Name That Tune when that series was revived in the 70's.

Kennedy's resume also included Dr. IQ, Big Game, You Don't Say, Split Second, To Say The Least, Whew!, a night-time version of The Price is Right, and Password Plus, in which he succeeded Allen Ludden upon the latter's passing in 1981. Kennedy also tried his hand with a talk-variety show, The Real Tom Kennedy Show, which lasted 1 season around 1970-71 or so, and is lost to the mists of time.

Kennedy passed away at 93 on October 7. As of press time, the cause of death has not been determined. In his memory, we will serve up a choice episode of Name That Tune, from the period where Kathie Lee Johnson (later Gifford) was one of the show's singers.

Rest in peace.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Creepy TV: Lizard's Leg & Owlet's Wing (Route 66, 1962)

 Movie legends Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, & Lon Chaney (no longer Jr.) are the special guests for a season 3 episode of Route 66 that happened to air five days before Halloween.

In "Lizard's Leg & Owlet's Wing", the three appear as themselves, and revisit their most famous roles (i.e. Chaney as the Wolf Man, Karloff as the Monster of Frankenstein), and Chaney also appears as one of his father's most famous creations, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, early on. Lorre had tried comedy a year earlier, acting opposite Gertrude Berg in Mrs. G. Goes to College, aka The Gertrude Berg Show. Chaney had filmed a pilot for The Phantom, also in 1961, three years after co-starring in Hawkeye & The Last of The Mohicans, and Karloff had finished a 2 year run on NBC in the anthology series, Thriller

Comes complete with a teaser for the next episode:

I remember seeing this on cable once. Too bad no one has Route 66 currently on the schedule.

No rating. Just saw only portions, not the whole episode.

No rest for the weary: League Championship Series previews


Ah, the cruelty of no days off in the baseball post-season of 2020. At least in the American League.

Tampa Bay, fresh from eliminating the Yankees in an exhausting 5 game series, are right back at it tomorrow against Houston on the ALCS, with the Astros having just 2 days rest after eliminating AL West champion Oakland in four games. The idea, of course, is to ensure they finish the season on time, meaning right before Halloween, which is three weeks out.

However, the NLCS doesn't start until Monday, enabling the East & West champions, Atlanta & Los Angeles, respectively, to have enough time to rest and reset.

ALCS: Tampa Bay vs. Houston:

The Rays have momentum carrying over from Friday night, having slain the mighty Yankees. They're young, they're hungry, and they're looking for their 1st World Series berth since Joe Maddon took them to the Fall Classic 12 years ago, only to lose to Philadelphia. Current skipper Kevin Cash was left off the postseason roster with the Yankees the next year, when the Bombers unseated the Phillies, but he has a ring nonetheless.

With a limited number of fans in the bleachers for the LCS, Houston will experience what they've been expecting all season, universal resentment after it got out that they had cheated their way to the 2017 title. However, the offensive core (i.e. Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa) is still there, even if the pitching isn't what it used to be.

I have felt all along that the window was closing for Houston, and it finally gets slammed shut. Then again......!

The Pick: Tampa Bay in 6.

NLCS: Atlanta vs. Los Angeles:

Are the Dodgers prepared to break the hearts of their fan base yet again? 32 years after their last title, and Dave Roberts' club is still the class of the NL West. They made one really necessary move in the offseason, getting Mookie Betts & David Price, with the latter opting out of this season, from Boston for Alex Verdugo. The emergence of Dustin May as a starter made Hyun-Jin Ryu expendable, and he was shipped off to Toronto. Clayton Kershaw is the #2 starter for the postseason, which takes some pressure off him, given his track record of postseason flops.

Do I really have to say it? Atlanta's pitching is their strength once again. Mike Soroka went down with an injury in July against the Mets, but Max Fried and newbies Kyle Wright & Ian Anderson have picked up the slack. Now, however, they need a 4th and/or 5th starter, because they won't sweep away the Dodgers like they did Cincinnati & Miami, nuh-uh, and asking Fried & Anderson in particular to go on short rest is not going to work. Bear in mind, too, that ex-Brave John Smoltz will likely be in the booth for Fox calling the games, looking down approvingly at the new generation. To be fair, former Dodger ace Orel Hershiser is part of the team's broadcast unit, too, but, eh...! This will be fun to watch.

The Pick: Atlanta in 5.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Friday, October 9, 2020

You can save your ears and your sanity: Next week's debate has been cancelled

 It is tantamount to taking your ball and going home.

President Trump whined like a baby, as we documented yesterday, after the organizers of the Presidential debates decided to go virtual for round 2, set for next Thursday in Miami.

"WAAAAHHHH! I wanna be in Miami with Biden! WAAAAAHHHH!!"

So, today, the organizers decided to scrub next week's debate, with Biden holding a town hall instead, while Trump continues to embarrass himself by booking rallies and risking more innocent lives.

Campaign manager Bill Stepien claimed the debate organizers "bailed Biden out".

BOLLOCKS & BALDERDASH TO YOU, SIR! Your boss is ill, and made a fool of himself on the telephone, coughing while being interviewed by Spam Hannity last night. He is not well enough to travel, and yet you aren't doing a thing to stop him. It will be a miracle if he's able to be available for interviews (or throwing tantrums) on November 3.

The problem is, Trump has gotten this far on bluster, lies, and deceptions, and can't change course, because he's afraid of the truth. If he goes ahead with weekend rallies, despite his health, he is putting more people at risk, and if anyone attending those rallies gets sick, it's on both them (for showing up) and Trump.

For all the times that Trump has claimed Biden was not all there, it has been the opposite. It is as Robert Burns wrote years ago, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, and in Trump's case, he has only himself to blame.

The Postal Service fights back!

 The United States Postal Service is weathering the storm of sabotage under its new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoyless, under the command of President Donald Trump. Trump, in turn, is trying to scam the public into thinking there is voter fraud as a means of discouraging voting by mail ahead of the November 3 election. Even though Trump's claims have been debunked over and over again as being products of his warped imagination, borne out of paranoia that he'll lose his bid for re-election, he persists with these lies, not realizing that the voters outside his brainwashed base aren't falling for this particular con.

To that end, the USPS called on actor Wayne Knight, best remembered as rogue mailman Newman from Seinfeld (his resume also includes "Space Jam", "Jurassic Park", and 3rd Rock From The Sun), to fire back at Trump & DeJoyless.

The only real reason the mail would be slow this time of year would be inexperienced personnel, under normal circumstances, but Trump has made things worse.

Bellevue awaits Mr. Trump, come January.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Musical Interlude: Hunters of The Night (1984)

 Mr. Mister's 1st and only single from 1984's "I Wear The Face", "Hunters of The Night", failed to crack the top 40, peaking at #57. Scope the video, listen to the lyrics, and try to figure out why this fell short of chart success.

Of course, the band's follow-up, "Welcome to The Real World", released the next year, turned out to be their big breakthrough.