Friday, December 31, 2021

Old Time Radio: New Year's Eve with The Great Gildersleeve (1944)

 We'll close out 2021 with a trip back to 1944 with The Great Gildersleeve (Harold Peary). Seems Gildersleeve is feigning an illness to get out of a previous commitment.


Walter Tetley (Leroy) is better known to cartoon fans as Sherman, the human sidekick to canine time-traveler Peabody on Rocky & His Friends, but he started his toon career years earlier, with a resume that includes some early Felix The Cat shorts and Andy Panda.

Rating: B.

The Last Golden Girl: Betty White (1922-2021)

 17 Emmy nominations. 7 Emmy Awards. A television career that spanned 8 decades. Betty White was 2 1/2 weeks away from her 100th birthday. News came over the wires earlier today that Betty had passed away at 99.

Like many of her contemporaries in the 50's, Betty began her career in radio, then transitioned to television. A pair of self-titled sitcoms. Life With Elizabeth. A Date With The Angels. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Pet Set. Just Men. The Golden Girls. Hot in Cleveland. A zillion game show appearances, usually on Password (with then-husband Allen Ludden) or Match Game. Just Men, her only daytime game show hosting stint, was also producer Rick Rosner's first game show, in 1983. Rosner went on to revive The Hollywood Squares three years later, after Mark Goodson's fusion of Squares & Match had bombed on NBC.

Pet Set, a syndicated weekend series, highlighted Betty's animal rights activism, as she and her Hollywood friends shared their pets. Ludden served as an executive producer, and guested on the show. Betty also made some movies, including "Lake Placid", a horror movie, which would be the last thing her fans expected, and 2009's "The Proposal".

She kept working, and was working on something to mark her centennial when she passed.

In her memory, we present a 1975 episode of Password, from its ABC run. The series had been tweaked some during its 4 years on the Alphabet Network, as you'll see.


You can bet there will be marathons on the cable of either Golden Girls or Sue Ann Nivens-centric episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, or Betty's earlier works.

Rest in peace.

When Father Time partied like the rest of us (1972)

 Ah, the 70's, when commercials could be cheesy and entertaining.

Take, for example, this Canada Dry bit with Father Time.


Not entirely sure who the actor is as Father Time, like, for example, Dallas McKennon (ex-Daniel Boone), but if anyone knows, let me know!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Maha? Aha! Three Little Pirates (1946)

 Credit goes to fellow blogger Chuck Miller for inspiration.

Five years after they first performed their "Maharajah" sketch in front of the cameras in "Time Out For Rhythm", the Three Stooges brought the bit back in "Three Little Pirates". The boys start off as sailors, wearing modern naval attire of the period, but they're in the 17th century.

Curly's health was in decline at this point, but they protected him, and he shined brightest as the "Maharajah".

The skit would later be reprised in later years, if memory serves me correctly, with Joe DeRita.


I don't think they invented pinball machines in the 17th century. Suspension of disbelief, yo'.

Rating: A-.

The final Dunce Cap of 2021: Rudy Giuliani

 The fall from grace of the man formerly known as America's Mayor 20 years ago continues unabated.

Rudy Giuliani went on Steve Bannon's podcast to whine that Fox Shmooze doesn't want him on their programming anymore, and claims they've turned fascist, even going so far as to name-drop George Soros, the wealthy financier that the right wingers insist on tying to every left wing activist group under the sun.

The truth is, aside from what Farron Cousins will share in the following video, that Giuliani is not a good look for Fox or Newsmax or One America or even NewsNation. It's not just because he's a reason Fox News is being sued for defamation, a suit they can't get out of, by the way. It's the simple fact that time has eroded Giuliani's communicative skills to next to nothing. Yes, fellow geriatric Donald Trump is headed in that same direction, but at a slower pace.

Here's Farron:


Giuliani's unhinged claims of election fraud indirectly torpedoed son Andrew's chances of gaining the Republican nomination for Governor in New York in 2022. As Farron points out, television viewers have grown tired of Rantin' Rudy, Empty-G, Lauren Bow-Wow, and the rest of the GOPer clowns, to the point where their only outlet for talk show appearances is with Bannon, who may not have his podcast too much longer himself.

Rudy's getting another of these:


Fittingly representative of the GOPers, collectively the Dunces of The Year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

John Madden (1936-2021)

 He walked away from coaching after winning a Super Bowl in Oakland, and forged a 30 year career in broadcasting with four networks. His boundless energy and straight-forward analysis put him in the Hall of Fame.

Today, we remember John Madden, who introduced "terducken" into the American Thanksgiving lexicon, inspired a long-running video game series, and was the gold standard for NFL game analysts. Madden passed away suddenly at 85.


It was Madden who was coaching the then-Oakland Raiders when they fell victim to the infamous "Immaculate Reception" against Pittsburgh. However, the Raiders would eventually recover from that, and won the Super Bowl following the 1976 season, beating Minnesota.

Madden made his broadcasting debut for CBS sometime after, and, at first, was assigned a regional game. One of his first broadcast partners was another sports icon in Vin Scully. After Tom Brookshier left CBS, Madden was promoted to succeed him as Pat Summerall's broadcast partner, turning their headline games on CBS & Fox into must-see TV. Madden eventually left Fox, and signed with ABC/ESPN, working with Al Michaels on Monday Night Football until they were signed away to NBC for the launch of Sunday Night Football. Michaels will certainly have something to say in memory of Madden on the season finale of SNF on January 2.

It was Madden who introduced America to a bizarre hybrid of turkey, duck, & chicken----terducken---one Thanksgiving. Amazingly, no one has ever tried to market it. Madden also did commercials for Tinactin, and appeared in a music video with Paul Simon, who reissued one of his 70's classics, "Me & Julio Down by The Schoolyard". Madden was actually parodying his own coaching style, trying to draw up a play for some kids playing playground basketball.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Image reparation is a difficult thing

 Last week, right before Christmas, Donald Trump appeared to offend his own base when, while on tour with fellow geriatric Bill O'Reilly, he revealed that he was in support of people being vaccinated against COVID-19 and its current variants, Delta & Omicron. He is just opposed to mandates making it mandatory to get the vaccines.

The crowd in Orlando booed. They felt betrayed.

Later that week, he was interviewed by right wing commentator Candace Owens, and repeated his support for the vaccines. Owens has since moved on to touting another phony treatment, claiming collodial silver, whatever the blue hizell that is, is preventive medicine against COVID, claiming she takes a teaspoon a day. Right, sure, and cows can actually jump the moon. Research tells us that use of this ersatz "cure" can turn a person's skin blue. In the case of Owens, an African-American, I'm not sure what the result would be from repeated usage.

Conspiracy theorists, like those in the Q-Anon cult, went bananas. They felt betrayed.

But, there are those who considering the long game with Trump, a con artist who has had millions of people snowed under for so long. He knows he's in major legal trouble and if he can snake his way out of the various lawsuits brought against him, the road clears for him to run again in 2024. As if he'll actually run. It's more likely he'll end up in prison or in a psychiatric hospital by then.

For those of us who are looking for positives, we can say he's trying to repair an image irretrievably shattered over the course of the last several years, between his support of the birther movement during the Obama years, and being exposed as a misogynistic, whiny man-child who throws major tantrums when things don't go his way.

After losing his re-election bid nearly 14 months ago, Trump tried to claim that 5,000 dead people voted in Georgia. The Georgia Board of Elections found just four votes from deceased voters, and, to the surprise of absolutely no one, those votes were for Trump. Every time Trump has tried to claim fraud, it gets debunked so easily, it's a waste of time to go back to the well again. He got drunk on power in Washington, and, because he was pampered for so long, conditioned to believe he's never wrong by his late father, he can't reconcile himself to the truth. He conned the evangelical Christians into believing he is one of them, but in truth he is not. Son Donald, Jr. proved to be just as Biblically illiterate the other day, and it was revealed a short time prior to that debacle that Ivanka helped arrange that now-infamous church photo op last year.

No matter how much work Trump does to try to repair his image going forward, there are going to be those stories and revelations about what really happened on January 6, 2021, and the image of Trump we'll see is the one that has been ingrained in our collective psyche.


Leopards can't change their spots, and 70-something man-babies are forever stuck in an eternal second childhood.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Musical Interlude: Blue (1995)

 From The Late Show With David Letterman:

The Jayhawks earned a ton of radio airplay with 1995's "Blue", the first single off "Tomorrow The Green Grass". Musical director Paul Shaffer appears to be lending some assistance on the keyboards off to the side.


The playoff picture starts to take shape in the NFL

 After tonight's Miami-New Orleans game, there will be two weeks left in the NFL's regular season. Remember, it's a 17 game, 18 week schedule now, so the playoffs now start in the 3rd weekend in January. 


In the AFC, only one division title has been decided, and, of course, it was Kansas City, which beat Pittsburgh, 36-10 to wrap up its 6th straight division crown. Andy Reid's club wants to reach the Big Game for the 3rd consecutive year, and wouldn't mind facing anyone other than Tom Brady and Tampa Bay. In all, four games separate the four teams with two to play. Denver, Las Vegas, & the Los Angeles Chargers are all jockeying for 2nd place. The Chargers & Raiders are tied at 8-7, with Denver, at 7-8, having an outside chance, should they beat the Chargers next week.

Los Angeles:

Week 17: Home finale vs. Denver, Week 18 at Las Vegas.

Las Vegas:

Week 17: @ Indianapolis, Week 18 vs. Los Angeles.

Denver:

Week 17: @ Los Angeles, Week 18 vs. Kansas City.

Prediction: None of the three will advance. The Chargers are fading. Indianapolis is hot right now, and if the Raiders can't stop Jonathan Taylor, fuhgeddaboutit. Denver could get a charity win if the Chiefs wrap up the #1 seed and a bye. Only the top seed gets a bye this season in a new playoff format.

Final records:

Raiders: Most likely will finish tied with the Chargers at 9-8, and would claim 2nd on a tiebreaker.

Chargers: 3rd place at 9-8.

Broncos: Most likely will finish 8-9 if they get the charity win over KC. Otherwise 7-10.

In the AFC South, Tennessee holds a slim one game lead on the hard charging Colts, who have beaten New England & Arizona the last two Saturdays. The Titans will close the home schedule next week vs. Miami, and finish at Houston, which upset the Chargers on Sunday. The Colts, after hosting Las Vegas, finish with luckless Jacksonville.

Final records:

I see Tennessee going 1-1 in the final two weeks, but the Colts will sweep the final two games, and both teams will finish at 11-6. Tennessee will claim the division title based on sweeping the Colts in the regular season, and Indianapolis will claim a Wild Card berth.

Two games separate the four teams in the AFC North. Cincinnati holds a one game lead over Baltimore, which needs Lamar Jackson and/or Tyler Hundley back ASAP after getting blown out by the Bengals on Sunday. Cleveland has faded, and will play Pittsburgh & Baltimore the next two weeks. The Steelers will close with the Ravens. Cincinnati will play AFC West champ Kansas City next, then Cleveland. Baltimore will play the Rams, followed by Pittsburgh.

Final records:

The Bengals will clinch the division, as they & the Ravens will each go 1-1 the final two weeks. Cincinnati will finish 10-7, Baltimore 9-8.

In the East, Buffalo reclaimed 1st place via tiebreaker (better division record) in beating New England to gain a season split. Both are 9-6 heading into the final two weeks. Buffalo closes the season at home against Atlanta and the Jests. New England will get a breather next week, as they're next up for Jacksonville, and close with Miami. A Dolphins win tonight puts them within a game of the leaders heading into a Week 17 meeting at Tennessee.

Final records:

Buffalo will claim the division title for the 2nd straight season, finishing 11-6. New England will finish 10-7. Miami, including tonight's game, could go 2-1 and finish 9-8, stuck in 3rd place.

In contrast to the AFC, 3 NFC titles have been decided already, with two weeks left.

Dallas wrapped up the East by destroying the Washington Generics, 56-14, in a game that was over after the 1st quarter. The Cowboys can still play for the top seed in the conference and that all-important bye. They'll finish the home schedule against the fading Arizona Cardinals, then finish at Philadelphia.

Projected finish: 12-5. Philly always plays Dallas tough, and will cost them the #1 seed.

North champ Green Bay will finish the season with divisional play against Minnesota & the pathetic Detroit Lions. It's going to come down to Green Bay & Tampa Bay for the #1 seed, so the Packers will finish 14-3.

Defending champion Tampa Bay, after winning the Super Bowl as a Wild Card last season, clinched the South, and after routing Carolina on Sunday, will have a rematch with the Panthers in the home finale, but before that, they get the Jests at the Meadowlands, and Tom Brady has owned the Jests for years. Tampa will finish 13-4.

The only divisional race left in the conference is in the West. As noted, the Cardinals are choking away any chance of making the playoffs. They will be at Dallas next, then finish at home against Seattle, which can play spoiler. The Rams will play Baltimore next, then finish with San Francisco. Should Los Angeles run the table, they will edge out Tampa for the #2 seed by virtue of beating the Bucs in the regular season.

Of course, I could be wrong.



Sunday, December 26, 2021

Musical Interlude: A World of Our Own (1969)

 "The Southern Gentleman" Sonny James doesn't get a lot of airplay on oldies channels these days, even on country stations. More than a decade after his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Sonny returned in 1969 with a cover of The Seekers' "A World of Our Own", which would hit #1 on the country charts.



Saturday, December 25, 2021

You can't say you'd get nuttin' for Christmas (2021)

 This tuneful Planters ad premiered last month, starring Reginald VelJohnson (ex-Family Matters). Equal parts commercial and music video, an ordinary schlub is pulled into his TV set and onto the set of "Together, Together".


Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: The Most Wonderful Time of The Year (2015)

 From the short-lived The Muppets:

Mindy Kaling joins the gang for a rendition of "The Most Wonderful Time of The Year". Kermit is content with being behind the scenes until being prompted by Scooter to join the party.



A little of this and a little of that

 It must've been a slow news day somewhere on Thursday.

A story came out on Yahoo!, alleging that two well known brands of deodorant contain cancer-causing chemicals, to the point where the company is facing---get this---17 different lawsuits.

Old Spice, now part of Procter & Gamble, and Secret, a long time P & G staple, are the brands in question.

Before we go further, let's take a trip back in time to before P & G acquired Old Spice from Shulton. The latter company commissioned this Christmas ad many moons ago.


Most consumers are paranoid already over COVID-19. Why give them something else to stress out over? Apparently, a scientific study had been commissioned. Take it with a can of salt if you don't believe it.
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The late Andy Warhol said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

So along comes another desert dimwit to inform us how stupid he is.

Blake Masters, a Repugnant candidate for US Senate out of Arizona, went on Tabloid Carlson's garbage hour, and made the outlandish claim that Tesla & Space X founder Elon Musk, a native of South Africa, is African-American, making the mistaken distinction that a white South African falls under the same heading as African-Americans, since Musk emigrated to the US as a teenager. Carlson went into hysterics, laughing at Masters.


You can tell which one of these two is death warmed over, can't you? Hint: It's the idiot on the left.

Masters, during his interview, also took aim at Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling them corrupt. Please, it's not like they've heard that before. Masters, predictably, was roasted on Twitter for his remarks about Musk. Someone check and see if this clown is color-blind.

What he is, of course, is a dunce. And, so, we're making sure this gets rushed to the desert.......


Merry Christmas to you, jackass.
===========================================
8 months after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder, a suburban Minnesota officer has been found guilty.

Kim Potter tried the emotional approach of crying on the witness stand, since it worked for Kyle Rittenhouse, but this time, the jury wasn't buying her claim that she confused her service revolver with her taser. Potter will be sentenced in February, but is spending the holidays in jail, her bail revoked.

Speaking of Rittenhouse, Fox Shmooze's Toni Lahren went on the air the other night, and tried to convince the GOPers to just back off on Rittenhouse, and let the dude live his own life. He was a guest, complete with a WWE-style entrance, at Charlie Kirk's AmericaFest event last weekend, which suggests certain GOPers are luring him with money. They want him to enjoy his 15 minutes as much as possible, likely enabled by his mom, for all we know.

The GOPers are mostly false patriots, willing to exploit a kid like Rittenhouse, and piggy-back off those 15 minutes. Spare me.

Kyle, get thee to the nearest confessional. Yesterday.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Sonny & Cher (and friends)(1972)

 With Christmas Eve right around the corner, let's spend some time with Sonny & Cher, with guests Bernadette Peters, William Conrad (Cannon) and Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo

In one sketch, Conrad shows his flair for comedy as he & Freeman King play rival sidewalk Santas. Announcer Peter Cullen, now better known as a voice actor (i.e. Transformers) had the same gig on another of Allan Blye & Chris Bearde's series, The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Comedy Show two years later.

The poster mistakenly labeled this as airing in 1976, but by then, Van, King, & Cullen weren't on the show anymore. In fact, when Sonny & Cher decided to revived their series after Cher ended her solo series, Frank Peppiatt & John Aylesworth (Hee Haw, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine) took over as producers.


No rating. Just a public service.

A little of this and a little of that

 Here's a simple truism of officiating that fans don't often comprehend.

If your team is having a bad season, you're not going to get the benefit of late game calls from the officials. It's that simple. I pointed this out a ways back when the Giants seemed to get screwed in a home loss to Tampa Bay.

This selective officiating came into play again on Tuesday, and this time the Seattle Seahawks were the victims. The beneficiaries? The Los Angeles Rams, who are grappling with the Arizona Cardinals for first place. Seattle, meanwhile, in a down year, is trying to avoid falling into the division basement.

Late in the game, a defensive pass interference call wasn't made against the Rams, who went on to win the game, 20-10. Seattle coach Pete Carroll and his players were, understandably, upset. It's been nearly six years since the Rams benefited from a no-call in the playoffs against New Orleans.

Of course, the Seahawks were called for a penalty after the play, when receiver DeeJay Dallas booted the ball, drawing a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The referee? Second generation zebra Shawn Hoculi (Ed's son). In reality, the fouls should've offset, if Hoculi's crew had seen fit to get the initial play called correctly.

Dallas' post-play stupidity aside, we saw a similar scenario in the NFC title game last season between Green Bay & Tampa Bay, and it was clear then that the league office was directing preferential treatment to the eventual Super Bowl champions. This bias needs to be expunged from the league yesterday, but it won't, because there's advertising dollars involved (i.e. endorsement deals for "protected" players), as well as, of course, television ratings.

In case you wonder, they have the same problem with the college game. Same in basketball, too.
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Are you tired of seeing Jackson State coach Deion "Prime Time" Sanders chillin' with Alabama's Nick Saban in an AFLAC ad currently in heavy rotation? They even went back and dug up Sanders' 1-shot on the charts, "Must be The Money", from the 90's.
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We've known for some time how wrestlers are also comic book fans.

Former ECW champion Raven (Scott Levy) landed a 1-shot deal with Marvel nearly 20 years ago to do a Spider-Man story that revisited a key piece of the webhead's history. CM Punk, now with AEW, has written for DC & Marvel, while wife AJ Mendez (formerly AJ Lee) has done miniseries for IDW.

Add former AEW women's champion Nyla Rose to the list.

Rose, the first transgender wrestler to hold a major championship, makes her comics debut this spring, writing an X-Men one-shot for Marvel, co-authoring with Steve Orlando a tale of former X-Man Thunderbird, who was initially killed off after the "new" X-Men's first mission 46 years ago. Of course, depending on the storyline, no one really stays dead in a Marvel comic.

Check it out when it comes out.
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The omicron variant of COVID-19 has forced the NHL into a total lockdown, if you will, until after Christmas weekend. One gets the feeling this won't be the end.

In fact, the College Football Playoff might not come off as scheduled on New Year's Eve if there are COVID outbreaks on the teams entered in the tournament, and there is talk that if 3 of the 4 teams can't play, the one remaining team will be declared the champion.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Weasel of The Week: Marjorie Taylor Greene

 Speaking at some conservative conference last weekend, hosted by conservative pundit Charlie Kirk, Georgia Misrepresentative Marjorie Taylor Greene, or, as we refer to her in this space, Empty-G, told the audience that there was a bill being passed here in New York where unvaccinated people could be forcibly detained.

As usual, Empty-G got it wrong. The bill, sponsored by Brooklyn Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, has been brought up for a vote 4 times, but has not been passed. It's in the political equivalent of turnaround in Hollywood. In other words, it's being held in committee.

Farron Cousins explains:


As usual, Empty-G refused to let the facts get in the way of her tall tale. In reality, she put the cart before the horse, so to speak, for the specific purpose of fear-mongering and frightening her audience. Not only that, but Perry's bill, I believe, deals with a different kind of health issue, such as mental health, not COVID.

You know what that means, pilgrims. Empty-G picks up another set of Weasel ears this week, plus a tail. She deserves it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Jingle Bell Rock (2008)

 "Jingle Bell Rock" was made famous by Bobby Helms back in the 50's, and has been covered by a zillion different artists over the years, including Hall & Oates in 1983. 

In 2008, Billy Idol took his turn, using an old school microphone in the following video. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Will The Real Santa Claus....? (Nancy Drew Mysteries, 1977)

 From season 2 of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries:

An elderly drifter (Dan O'Herlihy) who thinks he really is Santa Claus, shows up in River Heights, pursued by two gunmen. Nancy (Pamela Sue Martin) and her father (William Schallert, ex-The Patty Duke Show) pick up the case. John Ericson (ex-Honey West) and Rick Springfield are among the guest stars, which also includes early roles for a pair of child actors, Sparky Marcus, later of The Bad News Bears and the 1st Richie Rich cartoon, and Missy Gold (later of Benson).


This series was beset with casting changes throughout. In season 1, Nancy's beau, Ned, was now rebooted as a paralegal assistant to her father. Second generation actor George O'Hanlon, Jr. played Ned then, but was let go after the first season, and it looks like the part was taken over by Rick Springfield here. This, then, might have led to Rick being cast on General Hospital about 2-3 years later.

No rating. Just a public service.

Meet the poster child for permanent brain freeze

 That, of course, would be former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was at a conservative conference over the weekend, and brazenly declared that she wasn't getting the COVID-19 vaccines, or that she would, 'over my dead body".

Let Farron Cousins break down the Eskimo Airhead's latest gaffe:


There is dumb, and then, there is Sarah Palin. "Mama Grizzly" is now little more than another GOPer airhead.

We attempted to get a statement from her publicist:


"No comment at this time."

What a surprise.

Countdown to Christmas: Freddie & The Yuletide Doll (The Red Skelton Show, 1961)

 From season 11 of The Red Skelton Show:

Freddie the Freeloader (Skelton) is in a normal (for him) position at Christmas. Homeless, sleeping on a park bench. He soon finds a Raggedy Ann doll, which magically comes to life in the form of guest star Cara Williams (Pete & Gladys).

Here's "Freddie & The Yuletide Doll".


In memory of Cara Williams, who passed away on December 9. No rating out of respect.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

House of Windsor cigars and the many faces of Red Skelton (1978)

 Red Skelton had been off primetime television for seven years when he was hired by US Tobacco to do some commercials for House of Windsor cigars. Thanks to some video trickery of the day, Red appears in these three ads as himself, as well as Freddie the Freeloader, George Appleby, Sheriff Deadeye, and Clem Kadiddlehopper.


You just don't see tobacco product ads anymore, but you do see how anti-tobacco activists have been trying to educate viewers, extending to discouraging vaping.

Countdown to Christmas: A Christmas Place (Here Come The Brides, 1968)

 We also have this over at Saturday Morning Archives, as this episode of Here Come The Brides is back in circulation. "A Christmas Place" was taken down some time back when the YouTube poster lost her account. She's since started a new one, and edited off the open & close, so you won't hear "Seattle".


In memory of Bridget Hanley, who passed away earlier this week at 80 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Donald Trump says he "saved" Christmas. No, he didn't. It was never in danger

 We are one week away from Christmas. Unfortunately, one man lives in a fantasy world where he thought the holiday was imperiled, and "saved" it.

Ol' Pecos Pampers himself, Donald John Munchausen Trump spun his latest fairy tale in an interview conducted by former Arkansas Governor-turned-Christian talk show host Mike Huckabee.

Here's the reality. Everyone alternates between saying "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays". The latter, conservatives claim, "replaced" Merry Christmas. No, it didn't. The reason there's "Happy Holidays" on Christmas cards is because Hallmark, American Greetings, et al, want to market their product for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc., to cover all of the cultural holidays during the month of December, not just Christmas. The cards are being marketed for everyone, regardless of religious preference.

Of course, a faux "Christian" like Trump doesn't comprehend any of that. He's pandering, as usual, to his low information base.

Here's Brian Tyler Cohen's take:


And Farron Cousins offers this:


It's easy to mock Trump, because he leaves himself wide open for parody, and he deserves it. This is where ye scribe wishes the whitecoats would've already taken him to Bellevue, and made him watch the Twilight Zone episode, "Night of The Meek", in a continuing loop, up through Christmas Day, one week from today.

Our Countdown to Christmas has been an annual feature here and at Saturday Morning Archives. Unfortunately, we're too sophisticated for a 70-something man-child with self-esteem issues.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Dunce Cap Award: Ron DeSantis

 Florida's power-drunk governor, Ron DeStupid, is at it again.

Pandering to his low information base, DeStupid signed a law that intends to ban the teaching of "critical race theory" in public schools. But, as Farron Cousins explains, that really isn't happening after all, because "critical race theory" is a college-level program.


DeStupid is putting his personal agenda, including future political ambition, ahead of the needs of his constituents. I'd be willing to guess that he doesn't know what "critical race theory" really is, but he's feeding into the paranoia he's manufactured for his base. He wants future generations of children to be kept ignorant about important subjects in American history (i.e. the Civil War). He's encouraging parents to sue based on a false ideology. Guess what the dumbest governor in the country gets, a week before Christmas:


The perfect gift.

Why would you want to encourage a copycat of a tragedy?

 Like most social media outlets, Tik Tok has become a magnet for unsubstantiated rumors and troublemakers.

We're learning this morning of a threat or challenge issued that suggests copycats of the shootings at Oxford High in Michigan last week.

I mean, do you really, really want to go there???

Some are dismissing the "threats" as being fake, a sick practical joke. I wouldn't be so sure about that, as there are quite a few kids with issues similar to that of Jacob Crumbley in Michigan, whose unrepentant parents virtually enabled & empowered his actions last week.

Closer to home, the Troy school district issued this notice to parents:


And, then, there is this, courtesy of the New York Post:


If this is someone's idea of a sick joke, it really is sick, and not in a positive way, either. How morbid can you get to do something this heinous?

Don't you wish your kid was more like Bart Simpson or Dennis the Menace?

Thursday, December 16, 2021

A little of this and a little of that

 When will NFL owners stop hiring coaches from the college ranks? It hasn't worked in recent years, and, this morning, Urban Meyer may be looking more for another TV gig, if he can find one.

Meyer was cut loose by Jacksonville Wednesday, with four games left in the season. The Jaguars are 2-11, not even close to where they thought they should be after hiring Meyer and drafting Trevor Lawrence to be their franchise quarterback. Allegations by a former player that Meyer kicked him were the final straw.


Photo courtesy USA Today via Yahoo!.

Meyer, who's been a studio analyst for both Fox & ESPN in between coaching gigs, might not be hearing from them right away, but we wouldn't be surprised if he does.
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The Omicron variant of COVID-19, coupled with the Delta, has led to college & pro sports teams shutting down, at least in spurts. A few NHL teams, including the Islanders and Chicago, have had games postponed already. There've been outbreaks on NBA & NFL teams, too.
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The GOP and right wing media have made it their mission to purposely misinform their base about COVID, the January 6 insurrection, and other issues. They want to keep their base ignorant.

Then, it gets out that former presidential aide Mark Meadows received texts from Fox Shmooze evening hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, and from Donald Trump, Jr., asking the latter's father to stop the insurrection. Nothing happened, of course, and Ingraham, in particular, went on the air later that night to falsely blame antifa for the riot. Why? Because the GOPers don't want their low information base to know the truth about what happened that day.

However, the truth will soon send Meadows, the Trumps, and others to prison.

Add Ingraham. It got out yesterday that her brother, Curtis, wants her subpoenaed. This should shock no one in the wake of news that Arizona's Goofy Gosar has been all but disowned by his family because of his extremist views.

This is what happens when you hitch your wagon to an unstable man-child. Your career is doomed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

"Weather weapons"?

 Alex Jones doesn't want to get it.

The head InfoWimp was at it again, this time claiming that the tornados that tore through the midwest over the weekend were the creation of---get this---weather weapons in the control of the government.

BOLLOCKS & BALDERDASH, MAN!!!! HASN'T LOSING FOUR LAWSUITS OVER YOUR SANDY HOOK LIES TAUGHT YOU ANYTHING???


He's better off writing for the National Enquirer.

Jones is trying to claim the government sees the public as gullible. Well, they'd have to be to listen to garbage dispensers like Jones. The late Rush Limbaugh knew how to balance his conservative commentary with humor. Jones is just a poser, a dime store ripoff of Limbaugh. 

Why does he persist with conspiracy theories that are easily debunked? Because his audience is the same that is attracted to Fox Shmooze, Newsnax, and other right wing junk farms. He's doing his part to help gin up the "low information" base to give them another reason to hate on President Biden. It's going to be hard to do that if/when Jones ends up going to jail, right along with his buddy, Citizen Pampers.

Enjoy your Weasel ears, Jones. You deserve them.


Monday, December 13, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Perry Como (1974)

 After years of association with Kraft & NBC, Perry Como switched networks to CBS in 1974. By this point, Como was also shilling for GTE, which sponsored his Christmas show, featuring guests Rich Little, Peggy Fleming, and the Carpenters. Hee Haw producers Frank Peppiatt and John Aylesworth wrote the show, having marked their return to the network three months earlier with the Saturday morning series, The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine, but that explains the animated penguins giving Fleming a double kiss after a skating routine.

Little's all over the place, with impersonations including Raymond Burr, Jack Benny, Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, Howard Cosell, & Jean Stapleton (as Edith Bunker).

Caution: The audio may be a bit off.


How many boys do you think stayed up just to see Peggy Fleming & Karen Carpenter?

Rating: B.

Maybe they should've started small........

 Two disgraced television personalities walked out on stage at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, home of the NHL's Panthers, Saturday night. At as much as $135 a head, did they really think they'd sell out the arena?

Unfortunately, one of these two men is a bloviating bag of jello that won't go away, and that's what turned people away.

Former cable host and author Bill O'Reilly, formerly of Fox Shmooze, had largely been out of the public eye since Fox was forced to dump him a few years back due to allegations of sexual misconduct, which led to the cancellation of The O'Reilly Factor. At least he knew enough to take a few steps back and reassess his career options, unlike his traveling partner, one Donald John Joseph Isuzu Trump, aka Pecos Pampers, Bloviator General of the Republican Party.


Photo courtesy Getty Images/NY Daily News/Yahoo!.

Ticket-holders who had seats in the upper tier at FLA Live were moved to the lower tier, since so few tickets were sold. Remember, O'Reilly had claimed he'd file suit when it got out that ticket sales were slow back in the summer. Well, it seems, Politico wasn't wrong, Bill.

The problem, of course, is they overcharged for tickets. At least they were able to get some people in to see the show, unlike Empty-G & Matt Gaetz's grifter tour over the summer, when they couldn't even draw flies and crickets, and cried about it. And, then, there's the whole idea of booking large sports arenas like FLA Live. 

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

I invoke Santayana here, because, if you recall LaVar Ball's failed JBL a couple of years back, La Loudmouth wanted to use NBA arenas, and overcharged for tickets as well. The JBL died a quick death.

Now, you & I know Trump will try to spin his way through this because truth is foreign to him, but facts are facts. He & O'Reilly couldn't sell out an NHL arena. Good luck trying to get into an NBA arena in, say, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, or even in New York, because it's going to be the same thing. The message being conveyed so far is that not everyone wants to spend over $100 bucks to hear a grifter recycle the same tired lies and fallacies over and over again. They've read & heard enough about it.

Bill, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Your career is over.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Time (1985-2019)

 Bryan Adams originally released "Christmas Time" as a stand-alone single in 1985, with "Reggae Christmas", which got some significant video airplay on MTV, as the B-side. It took Adams 34 years before he finally shot a video for "Christmas Time", and you'd be forgiven if you thought that, with the snow flying, it was shot on the same set as his clip for "Run to You".

Georgia doesn't want a troll screwing up next year's Governor's race. They've got it anyway (One guess).

 Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who cheated his way to the state house three years ago, is up for re-election next year. Former Senator David Perdue is leaving his chicken farm to challenge Kemp in a primary. Perdue has gone on record as saying that had he been governor last year, he would not have certified the Georgia election, which is what America's Oldest Baby, Donald Trump, wanted Kemp to do.

However, there are reasonable people among the Republicans in Georgia, and, as Farron Cousins explains, they don't want Citizen Pampers getting involved.


Trump wants everything in the GOP centered on him, even though he's not president anymore. This is what happens when you let a self-serving narcissist take over the party. Trump remains butt-hurt that he got his butt whooped at the polls 13 months ago, and can't accept the reality of defeat.

What he fails to comprehend, purposely, of course, is that not everything in the GOP revolves around him, and he needs to step aside, and let the party breathe fresh air. He won't allow that to happen. He's already laying the groundwork for the GOP primary next summer, claiming that, too, will be rigged. Here's a newsflash, Annoying Orange. It won't be, because the election last year, wasn't.


"WAAHHH! WAAAHHH! It's about me! WAAAAHHH!!"

No, it isn't, Geritol breath. You've got more important things to worry about than a primary outside your territory. Like avoiding jail and/or Bellevue.

The infighting in the GOP will cost them the Georgia statehouse unless presumptive Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams gets primaried herself. Then again, Trump even mentioning her might be a kiss of death.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Old Time Radio: Fibber McGee & Molly (1935)

 Current Congressman Jim Jordan is no relation to the actor of the same name who brought Fibber McGee & Molly to life with his wife, Marion, back in 1935. To be sure, Jim Jordan probably would disown the Washington weasel that shares his name were he still alive today. 

Fibber McGee & Molly premiered on NBC radio in 1935, shifting from NBC Blue to NBC Red the next year, and continuing for another 23 years after that, the last two as part of NBC's anthology series, Monitor. As we've previously discussed, Fibber also begat a spin-off, The Great Gildersleeve. The Jordans had started with a 15 minute series, Smackout, based, as was Fibber, out of Chicago. By the time Fibber ended, the series' operations had moved West to California.

As part of this year's Countdown to Christmas, let's go back to December 1945......


It didn't matter what the situation was. You knew the closet would come into play.

Rating: B.

Musical Interlude: Joanne (1970-92)

 After leaving The Monkees, Mike Nesmith forged a solo career, but only landed one hit on the charts, 1970's "Joanne", which crossed over, as memory serves, between the pop & country charts.

Nesmith also wrote Linda Ronstadt's 1967 hit with the Stone Poneys, "Different Drum". Here, though, is Mike at the 1992 Britt Festival with "Joanne":


In memory of Nesmith, who passed away Friday. Rest in peace.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Two Classics Reborn: Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Diff'rent Strokes & The Facts of Life (2021)

 The third installment of Live in Front of a Studio Audience, hosted & co-executive produced by Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel, dropped on Tuesday, revisiting Diff'rent Strokes & The Facts of Life. While there is much crowing over the casting of (much) older actors to essay the roles of the youth characters from the original shows, that's the point of the joke!

For years, in radio, and in cartoons, a practice still in effect in the latter today, youth characters have been played by adults. Youth-centric shows in more recent times, from Welcome Back, Kotter & Happy Days to today's Riverdale, have used this casting method. Kimmel & Lear decided this was the running gag for the entire show.

Take, for example, Facts, which went on first. While original cast members Lisa Whelchel (last seen on Survivor a few years back), Mindy Cohn, and Kim Fields (ex-Living Single) made bookend cameos, including being interviewed by Kimmel, and with Whelchel singing the show's theme song (originally sung by co-author Gloria Loring), their "successors" were in on the joke, with Jennifer Aniston (ex-Friends) as Blair, Kathryn Hahn (WandaVision) as Jo, Alison Tolman as Natalie, & Gabrielle Union (LA's Finest) as Tootie. As Fields observed, at least this time, Tootie was not zipping around on roller skates. Ann Dowd (The Handmaid's Tale) filled the late Charlotte Rae's apron as Edna Garrett. If they decide to reboot Facts and/or Strokes with a more youth-centric cast for today's generation, Dowd would be perfect to reprise.

Facts revisits a Season 3 episode about a charity auction, and the usual squabbling among the girls over---what else?---boys, with guests Will Arnett (Lego Masters, ex-Arrested Development), Jason Bateman (ex-Silver Spoons, The Hogan Family, Arrested Development), and Jon Stewart, who had a wig over his gray hair, held in place by the retainer his character wears. Arnett & Bateman chewed the scenery. Stewart, asked to play a nerd, went a little too low-key.

Here's Kimmel's post-Facts interview:


The night was filled with fake ads, including Bob Vila and Alfonso Ribiero (America's Funniest Home Videos) doing a parody of those Kool-Aid Man spots, Ribiero using Kraft cheese to parody the "your brain on drugs" commercials of the 80's, and ABC house ads with a blatant impersonator for the late Ernie Anderson.

The only original Diff'rent Strokes star left, Todd Bridges, introduces a 1st season remake that borrows an old sitcom trope, as Willis (a totally unrecognizable Damon Wayans, Sr., ex-In Living Color, My Wife & Kids) & Arnold (Kevin Hart, doing some more scene chewing) are bickering. Emmy winner John Lithgow (ex-3rd Rock From The Sun) fills in as Phil Drummond, the boys' adoptive father, originally played by Conrad Bain. Wanya Morris & Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men perform the theme song. No sign of Kimberly, played by the late Dana Plato in the original series, and, as it turns out, she didn't figure into the original plot. Sorry, boys.

But who does figure into the storyline? Well, wait just one minizzle. Yep, they brought in Snoop Dogg for this spot (you were expecting maybe Dwayne Johnson?). Unlike with Facts, I remember seeing the original episode. The cast did their best, but there were holes. I'm getting the feeling Lear & Kimmel might be hearing from Lorne Michaels about cribbing the fake ads gimmick, which were less over the top.

Rating: B--.

A little of this and a little of that

 Proof that celebrities are not above the law came in two cases on Thursday.

In Chicago, actor Jussie Smollett (ex-Empire) was convicted on charges he faked a hate crime mugging, then lied to the police, and subsequently, in the minds of the jury, perjured himself on the witness stand. He claims the two brothers he hired were supposed to help with his personal training or some such thing. Smollett, through his lawyer, plans to appeal.

In Arkansas, reality star Josh Duggar (ex-19 Kids & Counting) is facing a lengthy sentence for possession of child pornography. Duggar's pristine image has been shattered, and his TV career is likely over. What is it about people in the South who profess to be Christians, and do things like that? 
================================================
A year after his father & brother had passed away, 4-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser passed away Thursday in his home in New Mexico.

Unser was a racing icon in the 60's, 70's, & 80's. Around 1970-1, he teamed with Mario Andretti to appear in an ad for Topper Toys' Johnny Lightning, the company's answer to Mattel's Hot Wheels. Veteran radio & cartoon voice actor Jackson Beck is the "race announcer" in this ad.


They're holding a family reunion in Heaven this weekend.
===========================================
They're saying it's a medical issue (heart attack, perhaps?) that claimed the life of Super Bowl winning receiver DeMaryius Thomas at 31. Thomas was found dead in his Georgia home on Thursday. He won his ring with Denver and QB Peyton Manning, and finished his career with the Jests in 2019.
===========================================
Citizen Pampers lost another appeal in his attempt to block the release of records to the January 6 select committee. Unfortunately, America's Oldest Baby doesn't get it, because he's planning to take his case to the Supreme Court, thinking that the Court, with its conservative heavy panel, will save his cowardly butt. Excuse me, I don't think so. America wants the truth, Pecos Pampers, so STFU.
============================================
NY Attorney General Letitia James has suspended her campaign for governor in order to focus on ongoing investigations, including cases involving Donald Trump and former governor Andrew Cuomo. Apparently, state Democratic operatives didn't want a fracture in the party between James and current governor Kathy Hochul, but James does have her priorities in order.
===========================================
Last week's school shooting in Michigan has led to some attempts at copycats at the high school & college level. Going on social media and making your intentions known kinda kills the plan before it's enacted in a lot of cases, peeps. If you've got some psych or emotional issues, seek therapy. It works.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

We've found the GOP's new mascot

 For years, the Republican party's mascot was an elephant, while the Democrats would answer with a donkey.

Today, however, no self respecting elephant would be caught anywhere near a GOPer event.

Proof of this is the latest round of tall tales & lies being told by the Repugnants of late. Fox Shmooze wants to con you into thinking the Democrats are somehow responsible for the current Omicron variant of COVID-19. All Fox Shmooze is about these days, save for some responsible journalists like veterans Chris Wallace and Geraldo Rivera, is selling fear to their viewers.

And, then, there is Senator Cheesehead, aka Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Proving once again he has all the medical credibility of a medicine show huckster of a bygone era, Johnson is claiming that an ordinary, everyday item could be a solution for COVID.

Mouthwash. You know. Listerine. Scope. Lavoris. That kind of thing. Listerine's website has a disclaimer that says it isn't designed to treat COVID. I'd imagine Procter & Gamble, makers of Scope, is doing the same thing.

The problem with Repugnants like Senator Cheesehead is that they're willing to sacrifice innocent lives to push their political agendas. While Fox Shmooze garbage dispensers like Spam Hannity and Tabloid Carlson are vaccinated, per network mandate, they insist on selling the idea that their viewers don't need the vaccines.

There's only one answer to that:


Repugnants and their media partners think their voters are stupid, but, in truth, there are more responsible people in the voting base than there are in the GOP.

And as for what should be the new mascot of the GOP? Well, this'll help:


"Who? Me?"

Yeah, Vincent. You. The GOPers are blind to reality, and want their constituents to be the same way. Have you ever thought about moving to Minnesota?

A little of this and a little of that

 Condolences to Nick Cannon, host of NBC's America's Got Talent, over the death of his youngest son, from brain cancer, earlier this week. Whatever you might've thought of Nick before, put it aside in favor of prayers, as we're 2 1/2 weeks away from Christmas.
=============================================
Like everyone else, Fox Shmooze put up its own Christmas tree, hyperbole and all.

This morning, they're looking for a new tree.

By now, I'm sure you've read or heard about the tree being set on fire in New York.


Photo courtesy of Twitter via Yahoo!.

A reportedly homeless man is in custody on charges of arson, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment, among other charges, in connection with the fire. Given how the network's primetime garbage dispensers have created antipathy the last few years, you'd think the arsonist had a reason for his action, but, learning that he is homeless, one isn't sure what his motive is after all.

Otherwise, we could chalk it up to karma, and move on.
=============================================
Now that his book is out, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows doesn't feel like talking to the January 6 select committee, and his lawyer claims Meadows is protected under executive privilege. No, he's not.

The committee on Wednesday decided to hold Meadows in contempt when he pulled a no-show. Meadows, earning his 2nd straight Weasel of The Week award, decided to sue the committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another Repugnant stall tactic that won't get very far. With Crazy Steve Bannon's trial now set for next summer (WHAT?), Meadows and his legal team are thinking the same thing, but it would be in the committee's best interest to try the case before neutral judges ASAP. Citizen Pampers and his acolytes are so afraid of what will come out, that they'll stall as long as they can until the mid-terms in 11 months, hoping the GOPers reclaim control of Congress.

Screw that. The only way Citizen Pampers doesn't make another run for the White House is if he's in prison or a psych ward by 2024 or sooner. Same goes for his dittoheaded supporters.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Old Time Radio: Jack Benny's last Christmas radio show (1954)

 A long running tradition on the radio version of The Jack Benny Program, which would carry over to the TV version until it ended in 1965, was the annual Christmas show. A running gag was Jack frustrating a department store salesman (Mel Blanc) by making constant exchanges, largely due to his indecisiveness, which would drive the poor salesman crazy.

In this 1954 episode, Sheldon Leonard also appears as the track tout.


Somewhere up in Heaven, Mel & Jack are rehearsing for this year's show at the Pearly Gates.

Rating: A-.

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Red Skelton (1970)

 The infamous "rural purge" in television in 1970-71 swept shows like Hee Haw and Green Acres off the air, but claimed two shows that had nothing to do with rural/country living, too, those being Lawrence Welk's & Red Skelton's variety shows.

Welk and Hee Haw went into syndication in 1971, and reruns of Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies, etc., followed suit. The 1970-1 season was the last network season for Skelton, who'd moved from CBS to NBC, his original TV home.

The Red Skelton Museum, a YouTube channel devoted to Skelton, compiled a Silent Spot from December 14, 1970, introduced by a pre-Kojak Telly Savalas, with a half-hour Christmas episode airing a week later, with guest Leslie Nielsen (Bracken's World). Freddie the Freeloader's attempt at conducting the orchestra, and the priceless reaction of Freddie, are worth the price of admission as much as the rest of the show(s).


Rating: A.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sports this 'n' that

 The New England Patriots went old school----literally----in beating Buffalo, 14-10, on Monday.

With all due respect to baseball Hall of Famer Casey Stengel, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, because he's been around so long, could be hailed as the NFL's "Old Professor". A historian when not coaching, Belichick took note of the wintry conditions in Orchard Park, and prepped accordingly, opting to run, run, run the ball all night long against the Buffalo defense. Rookie QB Mac Jones only threw the ball three times the entire game, which might be a modern NFL record for fewest attempts, and it was enough on a cold night in Western NY.

New England extended its lead to 1 1/2 games over Buffalo, and the two teams will meet again later this month in Foxborough.

I can just picture America's Sports Idiot, Stephen A. Smith, trying to stop his head from spinning.
=========================================
The fix is clearly in when it comes to the College Football Playoff.


The Power 5 conferences (ACC,. SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12) have their cushy television contracts with Fox & ESPN/ABC, with the SEC moving their Saturday game of the week away from CBS soon, and have become too arrogant to show any respect to a team from a "Group of 5" conference, which includes the American Athletic Conference (AAC), which crowned Cincinnati as champion on Saturday.

On Sunday, the power brokers behind the CFP designated Cincinnati as the 4 seed, which means they'll play SEC champion Alabama, which blew away Georgia on Saturday. No one is giving the Bearcats a chance against the Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs traded places with the Tide, and will play Big 10 champion Michigan in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Eve, while Cincinnati-Alabama is set for the Orange Bowl.

It is clearly time to change the system as we know it, but the league commissioners of the Power 5 are unwilling to do any sort of "revenue sharing" with the little kids' table, if ya will, and it stinks.
============================================
So baseball is in another labor stoppage. Same story, different year. If the Players Association, currently led by former player Tony Clark, stops listening to power brokers and parasites like Boras Badenov (Scott Boras), these things would not be happening.
============================================
I'm tired of those USAA commercials in which Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski is trying to scam his way into a membership. He thinks he's "special"?  Joke's over, fella. I would strongly recommend that Gronkowski meet some really special people, as in the disabled people for whom the Center For Disability Services in Albany holds an annual telethon, one of the last of a dying breed. If they're going to do a live event next month, I think WXXA, which hosts the local event, would be advised to invite Gronkowski as a guest, just to show him and USAA's ad agency how ill-advised the ad campaign really is.

Edit, 12/26/21: I've decided to add Gronk's 1st USAA spot, just to illustrate the point.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: The original Christmas & The Hard Luck Kid (That Girl, 1966)

 From season 1 of That Girl:

Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas) recounts a time when she was a teacher at a boarding school, where she met a young boy (Christopher Shea, the voice of Linus in the Peanuts specials at the time), and helped him learn about Christmas, which, of course is ironic considering Shea, as Linus, had recited a passage from the Gospel of Luke in A Charlie Brown Christmas a year earlier. John Fiedler also guest stars.

Writer James L. Brooks, billed here as Jim Brooks, also wrote "Christmas & The Hard Luck Kid II" for season 1 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show four years later, as we served up a few days ago.


Rating: A.

Bob Dole: Soldier, lawmaker, and the most humble Republican of all time (1923-2021)

 Flags are flying at half staff in Washington, and, we assume, Federal offices across the country, today in memory of former Kansas Rep. & Senator Robert Dole, who passed away Sunday at 98.

To say that Dole lived a full life might well be an apt description. He served in the Army in World War II. Post-war, he became a lawyer until his first election to Congress, specifically, the House of Representatives, in 1960. After four terms in the House, Dole was elected to the Senate in 1968, and would remain there until he ran for President in 1996, losing to Bill Clinton. Dole retired after the 1996 campaign.

Dole was also frank and honest about his physical health, accepting an offer from Pfizer to do an ad to educate viewers about erectile dysfunction.


Dole was mocked on Saturday Night Live in sketches by Norm McDonald, who recently passed away earlier this year, McDonald's Dole spoke in the 3rd person much of the time.

In 2016, Dole endorsed, albeit reluctantly, one would think, Donald Trump for President, after three failed attempts at the White House of his own, and a run at Vice President alongside Gerald Ford against Jimmy Carter & Walter Mondale in 1976.

In effect, with the dysfunction in the Republican Party today, bowing down to Trump and his followers, Dole was one of the last traditional Republicans. Rest in peace.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Donny & Marie (1978)

 Donny & Marie's 3rd and final Christmas show, taped in their home state of Utah, is literally a family affair. By this point in the series, Donny had gotten married, and wife Debbie is among the guests.


I've mentioned in the past that the siblings were the physical models for the Super Friends' proteges, the Wonder Twins. Well, that ain't all. DC's The Unexpected took a left handed swipe at the Osmonds in a short story during the final season, and the artist clearly modeled his central characters after Donny & Marie, even though they had blonde hair. I'm not making this up.

No rating. Just a public service.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

America's Oldest Baby is still threatening a lawsuit against the Pulitzer Board

 It's been nearly 2 months since we first reported that America's Oldest Baby, Donald John Fauntleroy Trump, threw a temper tantrum over the fact that the New York Times & Washington Post earned Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting in 2018 in the investigation of possible Russian interference in 2016.

As Farron Cousins tells us, Citizen Pampers is now threatening litigation.

Yes, Trump is a petty little man-baby, and it's his own fault. He's used so much spray tan over the years, it's seeped into his tiny brain, and he can't comprehend that he is not in a position to dictate diddly squat to the Pulitzer Board.


"WAAAHHHH!! WAAAHHHH!!"

As Farron points out, the Pulitzer Board is a private organization, much like the social media platforms Trump has also threatened to sue, like Twitter and YouTube, for example.

Do us all a favor, Fauntleroy. Grow up, and STFU! Go away!

Weasel of The Week: Mark Meadows

 Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is the latest to come out with a book, due in stores next week, but he sank his chances of it topping the best seller list. Why? Because he is loyal to Pecos Pampers, aka Donald Trump, and as soon as an excerpt was released to the press that Trump had contracted COVID-19 prior to his first debate last year with Joe Biden, Trump wigged out, had a tantrum, and, well.....!

Farron Cousins addresses this in two videos. First, he talks about the excerpt that upset America's Oldest Baby:


And, then, about 24 hours later, Meadows bows to his former boss like the duplicitous Weasel he is....


Just for kicks, we met with a prominent attorney about Meadows' duplicity:


"My kind of guy."

What a surprise. The revelation that Trump may have actually had COVID prior to the first debate, prior to a party honoring Supreme Court Justice Amy Barrett, and a meeting with some Gold Star families, would've brought the anti-Trump crowd to the bookstores in droves. Instead, Meadows' backtracking, claiming the excerpt was taken out of context, shows us again how much of a simpering fool he is to remain loyal to a 75 year old man-baby. Enjoy the Weasel ears, Meadows.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Celebrity Rock: Find Your Why (2021)

 Former WWE women's champion Beth Phoenix is leaving the NXT broadcast team after Sunday's War Games show on Peacock to spend time with her husband, Adam "Edge" Copeland, and their two daughters. But that might not be all.

Phoenix (Elizabeth Kocianski-Copeland), an Elmira native, is following the path of another former champion, current Impact champion Mickie James, and turning to country music. Western New York's gift to WWE has a little Nashville to her, too. And while WWE hasn't done much aside from their YouTube channel to promote Beth's debut EP, the reactions to her first single, "Find Your Why", have been overwhelmingly positive. Give a listen, and I think you'll agree.


YouTube commentators have offered comparisons to Shania Twain & Dolly Parton, which is high praise indeed.

There is a price to be paid for filing lawsuits based on lies, after all

 A Michigan judge has set down a ruling on fines levied against deranged legal weasels Silly Sidney Powell and Looney Lin Woodchips, along with others, in relation to frivolous lawsuits filed last year in a vain attempt to overturn the presidential election.

Judge Linda Parker's ruling was posted on Twitter thus:



This is only the beginning. There may be more.

This ruling should send a message to Citizen Pampers that there is a heavy price to be paid for perpetuating lies, just because you got your sorry butt whooped at the polls.

And I can just picture a similar ruling issued against Prince Pillow (Mike Lindell), whose "Thanks-a-Thon" streaming event over Thanksgiving laid a gigantic egg, as everyone expected.

The basic message is this. America is tired of hearing about the "Big Lie". Get over it. It's over.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Anti-vaccine "advocates" now want people to de-vaccinate. Which is impossible!!

 Just when you thought things couldn't get crazier, now comes word that there are people so adamantly against the COVID-19 vaccines, such that they're now trying to convince people who've been vaccinated to "de-vaccinate". As Farron Cousins explains, this is not a thing that can actually happen.


Once a vaccine enters your bloodstream, there's no turning back. The vaccine settles into the blood and courses through your whole body with no reverse course. The anti-vaccine crowd is so easily manipulated and conned by online conspiracy scams that have no basis in reality, and, in turn, have entered an alternate reality, unwilling to return to the real world.

We attempted to contact a representative for the anti-vaccine community:


"No comment."

What a surprise. Are these people that far out of their minds that they would sacrifice themselves and others to prove a non-existent point? Seems that way. Psychiatric hospitals have to open a special wing for these nuts, and have room for GOPer screwballs like Empty-G, Tabloid Carlson, Foghorn Cawthorn, Lauren Bow-Wow, Goofy Gosar, Fibber Jordan, and Screwy Louie Van Gohmert, not to mention the head screwball at Mar-a-Lago.

There was once a movie, "What's so Bad About Feeling Good?", with George Peppard and Mary Tyler Moore. That was a comedy about a virus that generated good feelings. The anti-vaccine crew are infected with something else. Chronic stupidity.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Hazel goes Christmas shopping (1961)

 60 years ago, Screen Gems acquired a license to adapt Ted Key's Hazel strip from the Saturday Evening Post. From the first season comes the first holiday episode as Hazel (Shirley Booth) goes Christmas shopping:


No rating. Just a public service.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Story (Gunsmoke radio, 1952)

 As many of you probably know, Gunsmoke began, like many of its contemporaries, as a radio series, launching 3 years before the TV version.

The first radio "season" lasted well over a year, and includes the series' 1st "Christmas Story". Keep an ear open for the twist ending to Antony Ellis' story.


Truth be told, I didn't see that ending coming.

Rating: B.

Sports this 'n' that

 Bowl season hasn't started yet, and some college teams are already making moves to change coaches for next season.

You'll recall that USC dumped coach Clay Helton earlier this season after a disastrous start. Now that it's obvious they won't be in a post-season game, the Trojans heisted Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma, hours after the Sooners lost to Oklahoma State in the annual Bedlam game on Saturday.

Riley's predecessor, Bob Stoops, will come out of retirement to coach the Sooners for their bowl game. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess.

LSU is saying goodbye to Ed Ogeron, who will not coach in the Tigers' bowl game. LSU administration pulled a similar heist, grabbing Brian Kelly from Notre Dame to be their next coach.

The carousel will keep spinning over the next few weeks.
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It turns out that Javier Baez's stay in New York was just a rental after all.

Baez has packed his bags for the American League, signing with Detroit, ending a short stint with the Mets in which he formed a formidable double-play combination with BFF Francisco Lindor.

On the other hand, the Mets made up for the loss of Noah Syndergaard (Angels) by getting Max Scherzer away from the Dodgers to the tune of 3 years at $43 million a year. A rotation of Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, a healthy Carlos Carrasco, and possibly a returning Marcus Stroman, would make the Mets, barring injuries, a player in the NL East in 2022.
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Former NY Giant Michael Strahan had his number retired prior the Giants' upset of Philadelphia on Sunday. After this, Strahan will take a leave from Fox NFL Sunday/Thursday and ABC's Good Morning America to go on a space flight next month. He'll be on the same shuttle that recently had TV icon William Shatner (ex-Star Trek, Rescue 911, TJ Hooker, etc.) on the last flight. The man with the most famous gap tooth this side of David Letterman will return before the season's over.
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Texas Rangers fans are saying, here we go again.

The Rangers have struck big on the free agent market, bagging Corey Seager (Dodgers) & Marcus Semien (Toronto) for big bucks. In Seager's case, this gives him more opportunities to play against brother Kyle (Seattle) every year, at least until Kyle decides to test the free agent waters. The Blue Jays also waved good-bye to Steven Matz, as St. Louis outbid the Mets' plans for a reunion with the Long Island native.

That particular deal didn't sit well with owner Steve Cohen, who must feel like Matz's no-name agent decided to play salary chicken, using the Mets' offer to leverage a bigger deal with the Cardinals.
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We have to close on a sad note.

Lee Elder, the first African-American to compete in the Masters in 1975, passed away on Sunday at 87.

Elder earned his first tour card for the 1968 season. In 1970, he was invited to appear on Shell's Wonderful World of Golf with George Archer and Canada's George Knudson......


Rest in peace.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas & The Hard Luck Kid II (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970)

 From season 1:

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) ends up working alone on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, but watch for a familiar scene, used in the opening credits in later episodes, unfold toward the end of the show.

So why is this titled, "Christmas & The Hard Luck Kid II"? Because the title is borrowed from a similarly named episode from That Girl, and the producers added the "II" to avoid confusion, since That Girl was already in or about to enter syndication.


Ned Wertimer, of course, is better known as Ralph, the doorman, from The Jeffersons, which launched a few years later.

Rating: A.