Monday, May 31, 2021

Sports this 'n' that

 Just a week after Phil Mickelson, 50, won the PGA championship, another veteran shocked the world by winning one of the biggest events in his sport.

Helio Castroneves, 46, captured his 4th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. I can picture Castroneves, after the race, doing his Spider-Man impersonation climbing the fence in celebration.

Unlike in golf, which has the Champions tour for players 50-up, which Mickelson almost surely will join, if he hasn't already, there is no senior tour in auto racing. And that's the beauty of it.
Another day, another idiot loses his fan privileges at an NBA arena.

Cole Buckley, 21, tossed a water bottle in the direction of Brooklyn star (and former Celtic) Kyrie Irving after the Nets took a 3-1 lead in games in their 1st round Eastern Conference series, and can close out Boston at the Barclays Center on Wednesday. This follows a pattern of rude, idiotic fan behavior during these playoffs that has included three Utah Jazz fans harassed Memphis' Ja Morant, this after some dunce threw popcorn at Washington's Russell Westbrook, and, as previously documented, a fan spat at Atlanta's Trae Young at Madison Square Garden.

The victims are all African-American athletes. The perps are drunken (except maybe for Buckley and his water bottle) white jackasses. Irving left Boston, going back on a promise he made to Celtic Nation, to join fellow superstar Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, and, of course, given how NY-Boston in any sport is filled to the brim with negative emotion on both sides, something like this was bound to happen. Not only that, but in those four series, it appears that Brooklyn, Memphis, Philadelphia, and Atlanta are all going to advance, barring late comebacks by Boston, Utah, Washington, and the Knicks. 

Buckley, and the other morons, are banned from their home arenas.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka has been fined for refusing to speak to the media while at the French Open. Apparently, something, or someone, offended Ms. Osaka to the point where she decided not to talk to the media. That's not going to fly at one of tennis' four majors, and Open officials have threatened to disqualify Ms. Osaka if she doesn't end the boycott.

Update, 2:20 pm (ET): Turns out Naomi is dealing with depression, and has withdrawn from the French Open. She has issued this statement on Twitter to address the situation:

TNT NBA analyst and Papa Johns/Gold Bond/The General pitchman Shaquille O'Neal announced earlier this weekend he plans to get back in the ring for All Elite Wrestling later this year. AEW has signed former WWE champions Paul Wight (pka The Big Show) and Mark Henry as announcers/coaches, but O'Neal has been chomping at the bit for a match with Wight for years, dating back to when Wight was in WWE.

Meanwhile, some corporate synergy at last night's Double or Nothing PPV. New Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong made guest appearances, and got in on the action in a "Stadium Stampede" match between the Inner Circle and the Pinnacle. Chris Jericho used a laptop computer supplied by Meyer on Maxwell J. Friedman. Friedman later swung and missed with a helmet, and Jericho pushed a chair into Friedman and pushed his foe out of the coach's office. Totally cray-cray.

Don't be surprised if AEW talent shows up to pump up the crowds at Jaguars games this fall. They'll need it.

On The Air: The Falcon & The Winter Soldier (2021)

 Marvel Studios' 2nd series for Disney+, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, spins out of the "Avengers" movies, yes, but it also stands on its own merits.

It's made clear at the beginning that Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and James "Bucky" Barnes, formerly the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), are not friends, but reluctant partners on a mission. Barnes is making amends for the wrongs he committed as the Winter Soldier. Wilson would rather be in New Orleans, helping his sister save her business.

What pulls them together are a group of freedom fighters opposed to the US, calling themselves the Flag Smashers. This group has no connection in truth to the Flag Smasher introduced in the comics in the 80's as an opponent for Captain America. That was right about the time John Walker (Wyatt Russell) was anointed as the new Cap, when Steve Rogers took a hiatus from his heroic persona. Walker and his partner, Lemar Hoskins, aka Battlestar, have been sanctioned by the government, but they're not exactly 100% true blue. Well, Battlestar would be, but there's something wrong about Walker, presented here as a former Navy SEAL.

Some more familiar Marvel characters will show up during the course of this six episode series, including Emily VanCamp, reprising as Sharon Carter. Check the trailer:

With Barnes now clean shaven, there is some facial resemblance between Sebastian Stan and WWE wrestler-actor Michael "The Miz" Mizanin. Stan will be seen next in a bio on Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and his then-wife, Pamela Anderson. Disney would love to have Mackie return for another movie.

Rating: A.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Musical Interlude: Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head (1969)

 Even if you've never seen "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid", you know this next song. B. J. Thomas scored a huge hit with "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head", which peaked in the winter of 1970.

On one hand, it's appropriate music on a wet, dreary day like today. On the other, it's in tribute to Thomas, who lost a battle with lung cancer earlier this week at 78. Rest in peace.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Gavin MacLeod (1931-2021)

 For many television fans of the 60's, 70's, & 80's, this hurts.

Today, Hollywood is mourning the passing of actor Gavin MacLeod, 90, who passed away on Friday.

MacLeod is best remembered as television producer Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-7) and Captain Merrill Stubing on The Love Boat (1977-86), the latter the only series in which he was the lead, and even so, much like Moore, and, before that, McHale's Navy, where he spent two seasons and part of a third, he was part of an ensemble that functioned like a well-oiled machine.

MacLeod was also an outstanding character actor who could fit in seamlessly just about anywhere. His other television credits included guest appearances on The Andy Griffith Show and Hogan's Heroes, and his film credits include "Operation: Petticoat", "Kelly's Heroes", and the Christian sci-fi adventure, "Time Changers", which also featured another 70's icon, Hal Linden (ex-Barney Miller). MacLeod and his 2nd wife, Patti, converted to Christianity several years back.

Rest in peace.

The Repugnants block a bi-partisan commission set to investigate the January insurrection. They sold their spines to a man-child

 America wants answers as to why the insurrection upon the Capitol on January 6 was allowed to take place. A bi-partisan measure passed through the House of Representatives, but was blocked in the Senate by 35 cowardly Repugnants, led by Senator Pruneface himself, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The video evidence has been there for all to see for nearly 5 months now, and yet, McConnell and other GOPers are so afraid of the damage former president Donald Trump could do to their careers, such that they'd rather block the formation of an independent, non-partisan commission, afraid that certain of them could be found complicit, and also afraid that America's Oldest Baby could turn on them at any time to retain his control over the party.

This old prune needs to retire.

Trump isn't the president anymore, so why does have a stranglehold on the Repugnants? Some suspect he's got some dirt on certain of them, like McConnell, for example. On the other hand, Trump got drunk with power while in Washington, and can't accept the fact that he was rejected by the voters nearly seven months ago. The voters turned on him because of his mishandling of COVID-19, which is proof enough that the election wasn't stolen, contrary to the man-child's persistent claims.

Right now, the only thing that could end this nonsense is sending Trump and some of his lieutenants off to prison. No country club prisons, mind you, and in Dumb Donald's case, Bellevue would be more appropriate for him.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Remember Pillsbury Egg Baskets? (1975)

 Now, here's a product that I've never seen.

In 1975, Pillsbury experimented and created Egg Baskets, refrigerated dough that could be used to create baskets, or, casings, if you will, for eggs. Actor Charles Welch, better known as the long time pitchman for Pepperidge Farm products, appears as Mr. Hatch, the egg man.

Unfortunately, the Egg Baskets were gone in short order.

Can we get a handbook on fan behavior do's & dont's?

 The basketball & hockey playoffs are bound to bring out the ugly in sports fans for whatever reason.

For example, the Knicks had to eject a fan the other night after he spat on Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young. Like, dude, reality check here! We're still in the middle of a pandemic!

Any time you're in a sports arena, you're told over the loudspeaker by the PA announcer that you can't throw objects on the field of play, be it a baseball field (and we've seen that happen in Astros road games), a basketball court, or a hockey rink.

Like, we get it. There are drunken idiots who do these things on a dare or, in the case of the ongoing apathy toward Houston, expressing protracted disgust because of the unethical means by which Houston won the 2017 World Series. There's soon going to be a time for letting go.

The other night, during a rain delay between Washington & Cincinnati, some clown stripped down to his birthday suit, got on the field to do some streaking, risking pneumonia, among other things, before getting caught and sent packing by stadium security. And you thought streaking went out in the 70's!

But, just when you thought this silliness reached its peak, along come a couple of morons at Yankee Stadium, showing where their political allegiance lies, that being with America's Oldest Baby, professional sore loser Donald Trump.

See, these two geeks brought a banner with them to illustrate the big lie:

Nearly seven months later, these morons don't get it. Trump got his butt whooped at the polls because he screwed up when it came to the pandemic. The Yankee fans showed their displeasure, as seen above, and cheered when Dumb & Dumber were ejected from the stadium.

The deprogramming centers for these idiots can't come soon enough.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

if you're not a governor, why would you go to a convention, anyway?

 Embattled MyPillow founder & CEO Mike Lindell is spinning the tale now of how he was, essentially, disinvited at the very last second from the Republican Governors Association event in Tennessee, this after Lindell, who attended last year's convention, and had picked up his credentials for this year, was already on-site.

As Farron Cousins explains, Lindell isn't a sitting governor, not even in his home state of Minnesota, but somehow got into last year's RGA convention, probably thanks to fellow GOPer sycophant Ron DeSantis of Florida, if I could hazard a guess. Cousins does not, however, make that same supposition in this video:

I don't think the GOPers have completely woken up to the fact that Lindell is, as Cousins suggests, toxic because of his pushing the false narratives of former president Donald Trump well past their expiration date. Lindell, a recovered alcoholic and born-again Christian, may have backslidden because of his association with Trump, who conned the Christians into supporting him in the first place. 

Lindell is not the only GOPer with issues making headlines this morning.

Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield decided on Tuesday to take issue with Kellogg's, of all companies.

With June designated as Pride month in support of the LGBTQ+ community, Kellogg's is issuing a limited edition cereal that features their well known mascots, including Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and the Rice Krispies elves, Snap, Crackle, & Pop, on the front of the boxes. The special edition cereal is being coordinated with the support of GLAAD.

Because it was a slow news day for Newsmax, and being that they're desperate for ratings, Stinchfield went on a lengthy, nonsensical rant that also targeted Lucky the Leprechaun, the long time mascot of General Mills' Lucky Charms cereals. Stinchfield mistook Lucky's suit pants for tights, and accused Lucky, who's been around for roughly 60 years, of being gay. No, he's not.

Stinchfield was booted from the airwaves for 2 days two weeks ago for making some stupid remarks about American Jews and Israel, which Newsmax tried to spin around. What he did this time, of course, was create an excuse for the Legion of The Brainwashed to get riled up all over again.

Newsmax is available in the home district as a premium channel on Spectrum Cable. Good thing, too, since I wouldn't waste money on that garbage.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Musical Interlude: We've Saved The Best For Last (1988)

 Some of you might not know this, but before beginning his solo career, Kenny G was a member of Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra in the 70's. After a stint with Jeff Lorber Kenny began his solo run.

From 1988's "Silhouette" CD, Kenny is joined by Smokey Robinson for "We've Saved The Best For Last", which missed the top 40 on the pop chart, but peaked at #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

I think that might be the only time Robinson was ever on the jazz chart.

Sports this 'n' that

 Yahoo! is reporting today that back in 2008, in the midst of the New England Patriots' Spygate scandal, then-Senator Arlen Specter was contacted by a certain well-heeled friend on behalf of Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

That friend? Donald Trump.

Talk about piling on the former president.

Trump is also friends with Kraft, and perhaps felt the NFL was coming down a wee bit too hard on the Patriots, whose bid to match the Miami Dolphins' perfect season in 1972-3 was torpedo'd by the Giants in the Super Bowl. Trump, whose only foray into sports was as the owner of the NY-NJ Generals of the USFL in the 80's, kept his involvement at the time under the radar, rare for him.

Unfortunately, with tons of legal troubles ahead, a skeleton was bound to pop out of the closet against him.

Stay tuned.
We know that NHL broadcast rights this fall shift over to Disney (ESPN) and Turner Networks (TNT). Each of the incoming media partners made some news in the last 24 hours.

First, Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky stepped down from his front office job with the Edmonton Oilers after the Oilers were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by Winnipeg. Speculation is that Gretzky will land at TNT as a studio analyst.

This would be a five-star get for TNT, but keep in mind, NBC will be dispersing their studio analysts after the tournament ends, so people like Keith Jones and Anson Carter will become available.

Unfortunately, over at ESPN, a certain clown is making noises....

Yep. America's Sports Idiot, Stephen A. Smith, weighed in and whined about the Oilers' elimination, but also admitted on the air that all he knows about the game is the color of the puck. Well, he's got plenty of time to learn if he wants the top brass at ESPN to assign him as a studio analyst. However, ESPN suits would be well served to find something else for him to do at night. Like dressing up as Goofy at Disney World.

It wouldn't be a surprise if, after ESPN begins their share of the new deal, Smith does his usual schtick on First Take, and routinely gets taken to school again and again, just like usual.

Keep in mind, too, that the NHL will share space on TNT from October-December with All Elite Wrestling, which moves their programming to sister network TBS in January, but before that happens, we'd not be surprised at all if former WWE & AEW champion Chris Jericho, son of former NHL player Ted Irvine, would be a studio guest a couple of times. While with WWE, Jericho took part in some celebrity events during All Star Weekend.

Smith, by the way, earns another Dunce Cap for admitting his ignorance about hockey.
Speaking of AEW, while he's a villain in the ring, Maxwell J. Friedman is proud of his Jewish heritage, and has spoken out about attacks on fellow Jews in the wake of recent violence in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Oh, sure, he posts in character on social media, but you have to believe it hits close to home for the Long Island native.

Meanwhile, WWE's Sami Zayn, a Canadian of Syrian background, has been doing some fundraising to help Syrian refugees the last couple of years. Because of his villain status in WWE, however, nothing is ever mentioned on air, so Zayn keeps fans posted via social media. Why WWE's creative morons insist on Sami remaining a heel (villain) while he's doing heroic works off-air for Syria, we don't know, though we'd not be surprised if Sami turned back babyface before the end of the year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A little of this & a little of that

 Adnan Virk has called his last wrestling match.

Virk, installed as play-by-play announcer on Monday Night Raw on April 12, has agreed to a parting of the ways with the WWE this morning, following 7 episodes of Raw and one pay-per-view.

Virk, also a studio host for MLB Network, had submitted an audition tape in February, presumably at the request of his former agent, WWE President Nick Khan. Senior announcer Michael Cole (Sean Colthard) made the final decision on behalf of WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon, and Virk debuted on Raw on April 12. Fans never quite warmed up to Virk, noting he was ill-prepared, and was not given a chance to learn the terminology, including moves, before going on the air.

What should've happened was having Virk in the studio, using old tapes to practice before being sent to the Thunderdome. His hire recalled the similarly disastrous hiring of former NFL player and announcer Mike Adamle in 2008. Adamle lasted nearly 10 months before resigning. It can be said that Khan had made a gamble on one of his former clients, and it backfired.
Black Lightning executive producer-showrunner Salim Akil had hoped a prospective spin-off, Painkiller, with Jordan Calloway reprising his role, would be picked up. However, several hours before the Lightning finale Monday, the CW announced they were not going forward with Painkiller.

The most basic reason is obvious. The very name, Painkiller, while it represents an anti-hero, does not strike the casual viewer as any sort of attraction, and suggests the show would've been a wee bit darker than it really is.

On the other hand, another CW pilot, Powerpuff, is going back in the shop for repairs and a second pilot will be shot. Part of the reason for that is Oscar winner Diablo Cody being attached to the project, and CW sees that as a prestige project. Make of that however you will.
It was announced late last week that WWE will be back on the road on a limited schedule at the end of July, as more and more venue begin opening their doors to fans, especially if they've been vaccinated. There will be a pool as to how quickly Albany's Times-Union Center will be booked for either Raw or Smackdown.
Last week's Dunce Cap winner, Miss Moldy Peaches herself, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, doubled down on her pathetic comparison between vaccination against COVID-19 to the Holocaust, which happened nearly 80 years ago. Even fellow Repugnants, including House Minority Leader Kevin "The Body Snatcher" McCarthy, have condemned Empty Goofy, but she's not listening. Her remarks are geared to rile up the Legion of The Brainwashed, and for fundraising purposes, the latter of which has all the stink of a major league scam.

And while we're on the subject of Repugnant idiocy, senile ambulance chasers Rudy Goofiani and Silly Sidney Powell are trying to have their lawsuits filed against them by Dominion Voting Systems thrown out. Goofiani thinks he shouldn't be sued because of his fame alone, and Powell stupidly thinks Dominion is singling her out. No, they're not.

What scares them more, you might ask? Getting sued, and then going to bankruptcy court (which is likely), or losing their reputations. In Goofiani's case, he already destroyed his by hitching his broken down wagon to Donald Trump, and no one had heard of Powell before any of this.

In Goofiani's case, if he loses his case, he torpedos his son Andrew's chances of running for Governor. Just watch.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Forgotten TV: The Redd Foxx Show (1986)

 Redd Foxx returned to ABC in the winter of 1986 with a self-titled sitcom that wasn't as offensive as his seminal hit, Sanford & Son, and maybe that's why viewers turned away. The Redd Foxx Show got 13 weeks, no more.

Foxx is Al Hughes, a newsstand owner, and, yes, a little more mellow than Fred Sanford ever was. Former Sanford & Son co-star Nathaniel Taylor was cast as Jim-Jam, the owner of a Chinese restaurant, but he was gone less than 2 months into the season, replaced by Theodore Wilson (ex-That's My Mama, Good Times). The supporting cast also included a couple of actors more familiar for their cartoon work in later years, Charlie Adler & Pamela Segall, but Segall was gone around the same time the part of Jim-Jam was recast.

In this sampler, Carroll O'Connor (ex-All in The Family, Archie Bunker's Place), who would soon land another hit series with Fred Silverman's adaptation of In The Heat of The Night, guest stars as an old friend of Al's. O'Connor wrote & co-directed the episode.

This was set up with a rare teaser the previous week, when the two 70's icons, out of character, met on-set to promote the above episode.

No rating.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Some people need to learn to read the room

 A Jewish activist group took out an ad in the New York Times on Saturday, accusing British singer Dua Lipa and models Gigi & Bella Hadid of supporting anti-semitism. While there is a cease-fire in the middle east putting a halt to renewed hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, the World Values Network, without bothering to do any due diligence, cast their fingers of suspicion toward the Hadid sisters and Lipa---who is dating the models' brother---just because.

Lipa wasn't having any of it.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images via Yahoo!

Lipa, for her part, fired back, stating that she is against anti-semitism, and counter-accused the WVN, accusing them of, essentially, piggy-backing off her fame and that of the Hadids, to get their 15 minutes of fame.

I doubt there will be a retraction right away, but the fact that the WVN took out their ad in the Times, of all places, instead of the tabloids, says they're looking for a wider audience.

Meanwhile, this week's Dunce Cap winner, Little Miss Mushmind herself, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is continuing her smear campaign against her NY counterpart, Alex From The Block (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), accusing AOC of not just supporting terrorism (she doesn't), but being one herself (she isn't). AOC had, like Lipa, spoken out against anti-semitism, but Miss Moldy Peaches is so tone deaf to reality, she ignored AOC's remarks. Like most Repugnants, she thinks antifa is an actual organization (it isn't), and she perpetuates this falsehood to stir up the Legion of The Brainwashed.

To Miss Moldy Peaches and the WVN, I have but one thing. Read the room correctly. We know Mushmind won't, but the WVN should. Just sayin'.

Musical Interlude: Baby Grand (1986)

 35 years ago, Billy Joel released "The Bridge", and while "A Matter of Trust" got heavy airplay on MTV & VH1, somehow MTV missed the boat with "Baby Grand", a master class in musicianship between Joel and his hero, the Genius of Soul, Ray Charles. At the time this came out, VH1 was a premium channel (!!) on local cable systems (don't ask), but I'd not be too surprised if "Grand" was on the playlist over there.

Three years later, Charles made his final run on the charts, teaming with Quincy Jones & Chaka Khan for the bouncy "I'll be Good to You".

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Musical Interlude: I Can Dream About You (1984)

 Dan Hartman wrote and recorded "I Can Dream About You" for the "Streets of Fire" soundtrack in 1984. However, Hartman's version only appeared on the soundtrack CD.

The video that got heavy airplay that summer featured the Sorels, a group created for the movie, consisting of actors Stoney Jackson, Mykelti Williamson, Grand Bush, & Robert Townsend, the latter of whom would make a musical himself, "The Five Heartbeats", a few years later. For years, many of us assumed Jackson was miming Hartman's vocals, but he's not.

Studio musician Winston Ford's voice is coming out of Jackson's mouth in the video:

As we've shared previously, the Sorels would later turn up in Hartman's video for "We Are The Young", his follow-up single.

Hartman made his own music video, with Sorels footage appearing on a TV screen atop a jukebox.

Dunce Cap Award: Marjorie Taylor Greene

 Welp, you knew this was going to happen sooner or later.

I think by now Marjorie Taylor Greene knows that she's going to be a one-term wonder in Congress, and on Friday, she took some more heat for equating a continuing mask mandate in the House of Representatives with the Holocaust in World War II.

"Are you sure she actually graduated?"

Oh, I think she did, Mortimer, but at this point, she's auditioning for a future job with Fox Shmooze, so she and fellow airhead Kayleigh McEnany can host their own show. I think if you x-ray'd her brain, you'd find her brain cells were surgically replaced with peach pits.

Anyway, she also accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being mentally ill. Like, look in the mirror, Dumb Dora!

"Isn't Pelosi old enough to be her mother?"

Yes, she is, and a walking embodiment, along with Senators Pruneface (Mitch McConnell) and Moldy (Lindsey) Graham, of why we need term limits and/or age limits in Congress. And for Mushmind to pursue a high school level feud with Alex From The Block (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) is just asking for trouble.

Getting back to the subject at hand, Mushmind's pathetic trolling for attention got her in trouble on Twitter, to be sure, and almost certainly will merit a response from the Anti-Defamation League and other groups. What she's getting from this desk, of course, is a Dunce Cap.

"But does she know what that is?"

Oh, I'm sure she does. She probably got a few of those when she was in grade school. She probably thinks the "Legally Blonde" movies were her inspiration for her career. And since she's on tour with Matt "Swinging" Gaetz, they're probably doing things together that they shouldn't........

Friday, May 21, 2021

On The Shelf: DC salutes Asian-American/Pacific Islander heritage month, and much more

 We left this first item off last week's review.

As part of Asian-American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, DC is issuing a 1-shot special, spotlighting heroes of Asian background.

DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration (cover price $10) also includes heroes of mixed race, like Robin (Damian Wayne), Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), and Grace Choi, plus the debut of Monkey Prince, who, despite being a hero himself, isn't exactly a fan of his new fraternity, if you will. 

Apparently, DC has a lot invested in Monkey Prince, as he's likely going to resurface later this summer. But if he turns you off, I don't blame ya. The best parts are a Hawke team-up with Super-Man from China, and a Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) solo story that leads off the volume. The variant cover of Cassandra by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau is worth the price of admission alone.

Rating: A-.
Now, on to this week's releases.

When Archie Comics promised a Archie & Friends 1-off devoted to their superheroes, I fell for the bait. I say that because instead of having the Superteens meet, say, the Mighty Crusaders, we get four short stories, two apiece featuring forgotten Archie heroes such as Blackjack & Bob Phantom. Archie does appear as Pureheart the Powerful, and in the two Blackjack shorts, Veronica dons a new identity as Powerteen. Drawn in the old school Archie style of the 60's-90's, these four short pieces fly by, and Blackjack & Bob Phantom are not meant, in the editors' eyes, to be taken seriously. 

BIG MISTAKE!!! Writer Ian Flynn, who should've known better, disappoints with this ham-handed approach. Even worse is Archie's decision to turn the Crusaders, starting with the Shield, over to Robber Liefeld. Someone send them a copy of Santayana, why don't ya?

Rating: C.
Last year, Marvel experimented with a new take on one of their iconic characters with Spider-Man: Life Story. That merits an annual, out in August. In the meantime, they're giving the Fantastic Four the Life Story treatment, with this volume written by Mark Russell, and drawn by Sean Izaakse, whose detailed artwork requires the book to be released on a every 6 weeks basis, it seems, since the 3rd issue won't be out until August. It's a 6 issue miniseries that should give fans a better handle on the FF as they approach their 60th anniversary.

Rating: A-.
After her debut in Future State: Wonder Woman, Yara Flor gets her own series as Wonder Girl, written & drawn by Joelle Jones, who left Catwoman, apparently, to take the assignment. Anyway, Yara apparently is in the center of a budding war between the Amazons we know, and the tribe from South America. Hmmmmm.

Rating: Incomplete.
DC is reviving Legends of The Dark Knight as a digital first series, with the first arc written & drawn by veteran Darick Robertson, who sets Batman against some familiar enemies in Mr. Freeze, the Joker, and the Penguin, and it has to do with a Russian selling some deadly gas. Been there, seen that. A better take, though.

Rating: A.
Not long ago, Marvel released a one-shot special featuring Morbius, The Living Vampire, with writer Ralph Macchio at the controls. Unfortunately, Bond of Blood is undone by artist Tom Reilly's poor depiction of the tragic Michael Morbius, whose battle with Mr. Hyde could've been better handled by a better artist. That's all I'm going to say.

Rating: C-.

Classic TV: What's Happening!! (1976)

 By the summer of 1976, ABC had a pair of sitcoms centered on youth. Happy Days, a belated spin-off from Love, American Style, anchored the Tuesday block, and had, in turn, spun off Laverne & Shirley. Welcome Back, Kotter had settled in on Thursdays. So what was one more? 

What's Happening!! was Bud Yorkin's 2nd series after he'd split with producing partner Norman Lear while their shared hits (All in The Family, Sanford & Son, Good Times, Maude) were still on the air. Now partnered with writers Saul Turtletaub & Bernie Orenstein as TOY Productions, Yorkin sold What's Happening!! to ABC, which launched the series as a summer replacement.

Inspired by the feature film, "Cooley High", What's Happening!! centered on three African American teens, Roger (Ernest Thomas), Dwayne (Haywood Nelson), & Rerun (Fred Berry from the Lockers dance troupe), and their misadventures. The series lasted from the summer of '76 until April 1979, and attracted some name guest stars, including the Doobie Brothers, and Greg Morris (ex-Mission: Impossible), cast as Dwayne's father. Morris would go on to Vega$ after that.

Six years after the series ended, TOY brought the gang back for a sequel, What's Happening Now!!, which also lasted three seasons, this time in syndication, and we'll look at that another day.

Right now, let's take a look at a sample season 1 episode:

We'll see if we can find the episodes with the Doobies and the Lockers (yes, they appeared on the show) down the road.

Rating: A-.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

A son rises........from the trash

 The Air Force's slogan is "Aim High". A second generation New York politico is aiming high, alright, but a wee bit too high for a political neophyte.

Current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will be up for re-election in 2022, provided, of course, he can weather the storm of sexual misconduct allegations lodged against him, and remain in office by Election Day 2022.

Then again, if this is the best the GOPers can come up with at the moment, it might not matter.

Apparently, Andrew Giuliani has never read Santayana, else he'd know he's in for a long, losing battle come next year. He announced he was running for Governor, hoping Cuomo collects enough baggage to the point where the voters will decide they've had enough of the three term head of New York government. While his father, former mayor and US Attorney Rudy Giuliani, has been caught in the maelstrom of scandal just for being associated with former president Donald Trump, 30-something Andrew, like Trump, is a political newbie, but he's showing some chutzpah already by claiming he's been in politics since he was a toddler.

Yeah, right. Let us know if you've got a license to sell the Brooklyn Bridge, kid.

What Andrew Giuliani fails to comprehend is that the toxic political environment his father is in will hurt his chances, more than it'll end Cuomo's run. By this time next year, we can see the prospect of his father being either in Bellevue or prison, right alongside his pal, Dumb Donald.

Simple lesson to learn, kid. Read the room first before you make a career decision you'll regret later.

Sports this 'n' that

After retiring from baseball last year following four years in the Mets' farm system, Tim Tebow is back in football.

Otherwise a studio analyst for the SEC Network (ESPN), Tebow is finally heeding the advice, albeit nearly a decade later than it'd been first suggested, of other analysts, and signed a deal with Jacksonville Wednesday to try out at tight end. Now, when Tebow signed with New England in 2013, coach Bill Belichick had tried him out at tight end, since there was no way on this planet he'd ever see the field as a revolving door understudy to Tom Brady (now with Tampa Bay), and Tebow was one of the last cuts prior to the start of the season. Same thing in Philadelphia.

So what changed his mind? His former college coach, Urban Meyer, is now the coach of the Jaguars, who drafted Clemson's Trevor Lawrence #1 last month.

However, signing Tebow is just a band-aid on a bigger problem. The Jaguars fell back to the AFC South basement the last couple of years, and the novelty of Lawrence throwing passes to Tebow, or the reverse if Tebow is used as a wildcat quarterback, will wear off quickly if Jacksonville doesn't get off to a fast start.

Just sayin'.
The Citi Field injury curse didn't leave when the Mets were sold to Steve Cohen in the off-season, as it's reared its ugly head again the last couple of weeks. Slugger Pete Alonso may be the next victim, as he sat out Wednesday's loss to Atlanta with a sore wrist that has been nagging him for a few days after he was hit by a pitch vs. St. Louis two weeks ago. Alonso has tried to play through the pain, but manager Luis Rojas sat him last night when the Mets needed his power bat off the bench late.
At this rate, Major League Baseball will obliterate a single season record for no-hitters.

There have been two in the last two days, bringing the official total to six, as MLB stubbornly refuses to amend its 1991 ruling that denies Madison Bumgarner his share of history. The Arizona ace no-hit Atlanta in a 7 inning game, part of a double-header, but because of a ruling by then-commissioner Fay Vincent, it has to be nine innings to constitute a no-hitter. We've gone over that before.

On Tuesday, Detroit's Spencer Turnbull pitched a no-no at the Seattle Mariners, the second time this month the Mariners had been no-hit, both times at home. Baltimore's John "Ways &" Means turned the trick a couple of weeks back.

Then, last night, in Arlington, the Yankees' Corey Kluber needed just 101 pitches.....

And, yup, this was the second time the Rangers had fallen victim to a no-no. Last month, ex-Tri City Valleycat Joe Musgrove delivered San Diego's 1st no-hitter vs. Texas. Keeping with the pattern, Cleveland is the other team to get the double whammy, having been no-hit by Cincinnati and the Chicago White Sox.

Prior to Means' start vs. the Mets, there was the predictable talk surrounding the only pitcher to throw back-to-back no-hitters, Johnny VanderMeer. Unfortunately for Means, New York's Jeff McNeil spoiled the party immediately. Now, the VanderMeer discussion will start anew, heading into Kluber's next start.

Back to the Yankees. It was the first regular season no-hitter since David Cone, now a Yankee broadcaster, pitched a perfect game vs. Montreal in 1999. It was the first no-no on the road in nearly 70 years, and the 12th overall in team history, including Don Larsen's perfecto to end the 1957 World Series.

And I don't think we're done with no-hitters.
To those that think, because of the nature of their craft, wrestlers don't get seriously injured, think again.

AEW's Chris Jericho won't be competing for another month after dislocating his elbow two weeks ago in a televised match, although he might get a waiver for a gimmick match at AEW's Double or Nothing event on May 30.

WWE's Mike "The Miz" Mizanin, as durable as anyone since he first set foot in a WWE ring in 2004 (Smackdown's $1,000,000 Tough Enough), suffered a torn ACL on Sunday at Wrestlemania Backlash. The severity of the tear is unclear, but if it's a full tear, Mizanin will be out of the ring, his talk show segments aside, until after the 2022 Royal Rumble. At least he'll get to spend more time with wife Maryse and their daughters while they plan season 3 of Miz & Mrs. for USA.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A little of this and a little of that

 It was big news when All Elite Wrestling launched Dynamite 19 months ago, bringing primetime wrestling back to TNT.

But, with Turner Networks, via WarnerMedia, acquiring a share of broadcast rights for NHL games next season, plus their continuing association with the NBA and some college sports, AEW suddenly will be changing channels come January.

That's when Dynamite moves over to TBS, TNT's sister network, and another channel long associated with wrestling, dating back to at least the 70's. TBS & TNT's WCW programming signed off in the spring of 2001, but TBS will officially be back in the wrestling business in 2022. TNT will still be home to some AEW specials up to four times a year.

The promotion is adding a second series for Turner, Rampage, which will air on TNT from August-December before shifting to TBS in January.

TNT's slogan is "We Know Drama". Oh, they certainly do.
St. Louis ambulance chaser Mark McCloskey went on Tabloid Carlson's garbage hour on Tuesday on Fox Shmooze to announce he's running for US Senate, representing his home state of Missouri, in 2022, after Roy Blount retires following his current term.

But, get this. McCloskey is claiming God came to him in the form of Black Lives Matter protesters passing his property last August. God had nothing to do with it, jackass.
Mushmind Greene is trying to claim the pending legislation in Congress that would seat a bi-partisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol is a means to erase the "Make America Great Again" movement launched by Donald Trump.

No it isn't, bubblehead. We can see right through this little scam. You're just riling up the Legion of The Brainwashed, as if they needed further urging.

In case you're wondering why Alex From The Block (AOC, of course) isn't responding to your lame antics, other than questioning your sanity, well, haven't you heard of turning the other cheek?

I swear, they surgically replaced Mushmind's brains with soap bubbles.........
And speaking of Citizen Pampers, he's feeling the heat wave in New York all the way down in Palm Beach. And not in a good way.

NY Attorney General Letitia James is joining Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. in investigating allegations that the Trump Organization intentionally misrepresented their finances on tax & financial records dating back to 2018. The response from the human Annoying Orange? What do you think?


"WAAAAAHHHH! It's a witch hunt!! WAAAAAHHHH!"

Do us a favor. Shut up, grow a set, and do something for once that you should've been doing all along.

Telling the truth.

Classic TV: Kraft Suspense Theatre (1963)

 Anthology series, especially those with a sponsor's name attached or with a name celebrity (i.e. Bob Hope, Fred Astaire) as host, were big in the 50's & 60's.

Kraft already had NBC's Kraft Music Hall, which ran for a number of years. In 1963, Kraft, NBC, & Universal partnered with singer Perry Como's production company, which was also running the Music Hall, to develop Kraft Suspense Theatre.

In those days, it was common for series to average over 30 episodes a season, enough for syndication after two seasons, which is why Suspense Theatre was re-edited without the Kraft name when it surfaced on local channels in the 70's.

One first season episode, "Once Upon a Savage Night", with Ted Knight, Charles McGraw, Philip Abbott, & Robert Ridgely, was later reissued and expanded as the feature film, "Nightmare in Chicago", which aired in late night on WTEN, Knight's former employer, one Saturday night when I happened across it. We'll look at that another day. We had it before, but it's been taken down twice.

Anyway, we'll offer up the season 1 intro. Theme music composed by future Oscar winner John Williams.

"Savage Night" is the only episode I know, and we'll be looking at individual episodes later. Most of the copies now are under the alternate syndication title, Crisis

Rating: A.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Tipped pitches and injuries. This is what's wrong with the Mets

 The Mets went into Tampa Bay with a 7 game winning streak, and move to Atlanta tonight barely clinging to first place in the NL Least. To paraphrase David Byrne of the Talking Heads, 41 years ago, how did we get here?

The most obvious culprit, of course, is injuries, and as with other teams in the majors, including the Braves, the timing is just so bad.

On Sunday, outfielder Michael Conforto and infielder Jeff McNeil both left the game with hamstring tightness, and were placed on an already swollen injured list this morning, less than 24 hours after the Mets were swept by the defending AL champion Rays. The Mets are hoping in the next week or so to get infielder JD Davis, ace pitcher Jacob deGrom, and outfielder Brandon Nimmo back from the IL, but, considering Nimmo has already had a setback while on rehab in Syracuse last week, nothing's guaranteed.

Meanwhile, Atlanta will have their all-universe leadoff hitter, Ronald Acuna, Jr., back tonight, barring a setback from an ankle injury that kept him sidelined vs. Milwaukee over the weekend. Pitcher Huascar Ynoa, he of the grand slam homer against Washington a couple of weeks back, broke his hand in frustration after getting roughed up by the Brewers on Sunday, and is out for 2 months. Mike Soroka, who tore his Achilles vs. the Mets last year, isn't ready to return after he had to undergo a 2nd operation a few days ago. However, the Braves' offense is a little more intact than the Mets for now. That's trouble for the Mets.

The other problem seems to be pitcher Joey Lucchesi, acquired from San Diego in the off-season. Lucchesi got roughed up vs. Tampa Bay over the weekend, and there are online commentators who've noted that Lucchesi has been tipping his pitches, a problem he might've also had contribute to his demise with the Padres. Manager Luis Rojas is hoping Lucchesi can get one more go in the rotation, covered by an opener, as was the case in his last two games, but Mets Nation has turned on Lucchesi, determining that he's a reliever, nothing more.

Prediction: Lucchesi may be gone by the trade deadline.

The Rays' familiarity with another Mets reliever, Sean Reid-Foley, certainly helped in Saturday's 12-5 win. Reid-Foley pitched for Toronto last season, as did Aaron Loup, so I'd think Tampa manager Kevin Cash might've kept his scouting reports from last season handy.

If anyone thought the injury curse that plagued Citi Field left with the Wilpons, think again. It never left.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

On The Shelf: Man-Thing turns 50, but Marvel fumbles

 The Man-Thing made his debut in the pages of Savage Tales 50 years ago. A scientist, Ted Sallis, had been working on a modified version of the same super soldier formula that created Captain America some 30 years earlier, but, pursued by enemy agents, crashes into the swamps of the Florida everglades, and mutates into a mute monster, powered by emotional empathy, whose touch burns its fearful victims.

Veteran writer Steve Orlando, making his Marvel debut, was tasked with creating an all-new story for the character's 50th anniversary. Marvel, sensing big bucks, decided that instead of a miniseries, there would be a trio of 1-shot specials in which Man-Thing would co-star with the company's big guns, Spider-Man, the Avengers, & the X-Men.

Unfortunately, that strategy backfired. The last two chapters were released a week apart, and it didn't help that Orlando had created a less than appealing villain in the Harrower, an arrogant woman who wants the Man-Thing's powers for herself. By the time the X-Men chapter came out, I'd already decided this was a lost cause. Shoot, RL Stine did a better job with Man-Thing a few years ago.

Rating: C-.
Speaking of the black & white era at Marvel, which we really weren't, ye scribe caught a lucky break, and acquired a pair of issues of Marvel Preview, a quarterly anthology series that would adapt novels, such as Philip Wylie's Gladiator, or creator-owned characters, like Gil Kane's Blackmark. The series gave way to Bizarre Adventures around 1980 or so, so that Marvel could do more black & white uncensored stories of popular characters like the X-Men.

Roy Thomas, who adapted Gladiator into Man-God in 1976, revisited the concept at DC a few years later when he created the character of Iron Munro for his Young All-Stars series. I don't really remember if Marvel let him finish Man-God----he might've, but I'm not sure----, but bringing the concept back now in the 21st century would be nice right about now.

Rating for Marvel Preview: A-. Hey, they actually adapted Sherlock Holmes before DC did. That accounts for something.
We talked up the current Suicide Squad series a couple of months back. This was an outgrowth of a Future State miniseries during the winter, and in the probable future as now, Amanda Waller is more ruthless than ever. I honestly don't know if that would be the politically correct thing to do with Waller, treating her like just another power-drunk politico, which is what she really is.

However, I have serious doubts about whether or not DC will stick with any of the Future State concepts, even though the most hyped, Wonder Girl, debuts this week. Readers are desperate to get out of the grim-dark era that we've been stuck in since the mid-80's, but grim-dark-lovin' fanboys are like, well, do I really need to tell you?

The mistake DC made was piggybacking a Black Adam two-parter that belonged in the back of Future State: Shazam! on the back of this mini, and that was equally dull in repackaging Adam into a tragic hero yet again.

Rating: B--.
American Mythology, the license holders to the Three Stooges, decided to adapt Hanna-Barbera's 1977 bionic parody, The Robonic Stooges. The writers, including SA Check, who writes most of the Stooge adaptations for American Mythology, did their level best to retain the spirit of those shorts, most of which, if memory serves, were written by Norm Maurer, Moe Howard's son-in-law, who also had a hand with a certain pair of Super Friends characters ye scribe is so fond of, while adding the eye-pokes and slapstick antics of the real Stooges, which were left out of the cartoons due to anti-violence restrictions.

Rating: A-.
The Hellfire Club used to be enemies of the X-Men back in the day, but times have changed, and on the living island of Krakoa, a mutant itself, it seems the groups will come together for what is being billed as the Hellfire Gala. So Marvel decides to go all Glamour with a preview guide that shows off some formal mutant fashions for 2021. So not digging Professor X's new helmet, which he's had the last couple of years. The weekly event is a cash grab, nothing more.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

The GOPer game plan in 2021: Lie, deny, revise history, and just be stupid enough to think their base is the same way

 The late Robin Williams titled one of his comedy albums, "Reality.....What a Concept". Apparently, the Repugnants have decided to adopt that philosophy, but they're denying reality.

For example, Texas Rep. "Screwy" Louie Gohmert was on the House floor Friday, trying to defend the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, painting the Trump supporters as, get this, political prisoners.


After Schuylerville's Elise Stefanik was appointed to replace Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney as the #3 Republican on Friday, House Minority Leader/Minister of Propaganda Kevin "The Body Snatcher" McCarthy tried to say, just because they were in the same room with President Biden, that all was well, but, yet, they continue to bend the knees and kiss the ring of former president Pecos Pampers (Donald Trump), coddling the delusional, paranoid man-child by pushing his agenda that the election was stolen, when it clearly wasn't.


And, then, you have the House's Duchess of Dumb, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, still trying to pick a fight with Alex From The Block (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), out in the open, like a schoolyard bully. AOC, for her part, dismissed Mushmind's taunts by likening them to the rude barroom customers she used to eject when she was a bartender.

Unfortunately, Mushmind is trying to re-position herself as a victim, because that's what Repugnants do to deceive their base.

By the way, we know Elise Stefanik is kissing the ring of Citizen Pampers to advance her career, nothing more. Prolonged exposure to him, however, could be fatal. Just sayin'.

Finally, certain Repugnants, including Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, are making up a story pinning a recent shortage of Polynesian sauces at Chick-Fil-A restaurants on President Biden. This has been forwarded by Ted "Sea" Cruz and Fox Shmooze. Farron Cousins explains.

Why do they lie so much? Because it's easier for them to deceive their base than telling the truth. These idiots tried to pin the recent gas shortage, triggered by a supplier being hacked, causing panic buying, on Biden, but that didn't work, obviously. Repugnants would rather ignore facts to advance their agenda. However, their false god, Trump, is on the hot seat, as there's reports he could be extradited to New York, something that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could object to, but I don't know if he can object if the Federal Government implements the extradition order instead of New York. DeSantis has done enough stupid things in service to Citizen Pampers, but this would torpedo his Presidential chances in 2024. Stay tuned.

If you've been vaccinated, your card is your ticket to summer pleasures

It's been almost two months since I received my 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with no side effects. In light of the Center for Disease Control's amended guidelines, I still carry a mask when I travel, just to be safe. Have to have it when you're riding on a bus, for example. It's called erring on the side of caution. The vaccination card that was issued after the first shot now serves as a golden ticket, if you will, for dining at certain restaurants and attending sporting events or other activities this summer and forward.

All I need, really, is to get a plastic case big enough to hold the card so I can carry it.

Personal feelings aside, there are still some unfortunate pockets of resistance to the vaccine that actually will slow the healing process.

The biggest line of resistance consists of anti-vaxxers, people who have a problem with vaccines in general because of some misinformation that spread online a ways back. I'd not be surprised if some of these people are also members of Donald Trump's Legion of The Brainwashed, because they're gullible enough to believe any lie that comes along. In my mind, I think some of these folks have never gotten past the stage when they were children of fearing the needles that the vaccines are carried in.

Unfortunately, some of these anti-vax knuckleheads have a problem with businesses that are requiring proof of vaccination, including one in the home district.

Matt Baumgartner owns the Troy Beer Garden, formerly Wolfe's Biergarten, on the corner of King & 4th streets. He has a cocktail lounge, the Berlin, on the 2nd floor, set to open later this month, where he's politely asking for people to show proof of vaccination.

Photo courtesy of Bill Dowd, via the Albany Times-Union.

After Baumgartner made his announcement on Thursday, he's been flooded with threats from anti-vax clowns, most of them from out of state, and Troy police are looking into these threats. Baumgartner is doing the right thing, looking out for the safety of his clientele and employees, but the anti-vax tin-heads don't see it. According to the Albany Times-Union, Baumgartner has said that some of the threats come from Florida, which is run by a deranged governor in Ron DeSantis, one of the biggest Trump apologists and sycophants there is, putting politics and state revenue ahead of public safety while bowing at the altar of Citizen Pampers.

And if these anti-vax morons have a problem with just dining out in our fair city, they most likely will have a collective cow over the return of live sports and theatre productions. The Tri-City Valleycats are setting aside certain sections at Bruno Stadium for vaccinated fans, starting with the home opener on June 4. Again, it would be a good idea to bring your vaccination card with you when you're buying advance tickets. The Bruno Stadium box office is open Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm. I would imagine the Troy Fighting Irish semi-pro football team will follow suit. Troy Foundry Theatre has a production debuting outdoors (weather permitting, of course) on Wednesday, running through May 30, and vax cards are likely to be required.

To the anti-vaxxers, I have to ask. Why would you risk your health believing a lie?

Friday, May 14, 2021

You don't see ads like this anymore (1968)

 I first ran across a copy of Guideposts in the waiting room of a doctor's office some years back. Founded by Norman Vincent Peale and his wife in 1945, Guideposts is still active today, and has always been a non-profit project. Now 76 years strong, its positive messages are just what we need to wade through the mess of today's society.

However, you just don't see them promoting the magazine or the organization like they did back in 1968, when a series of ads would air. Most, like this one, were narrated by Art Fleming (Jeopardy!):

A little of this and a little of that

 We touched on this over at Saturday Morning Archives earlier this week, but it bears discussing here, too.

The CW, jointly run by ViacomCBS & WarnerMedia, is reviving one of Nickelodeon's popular game shows of the 90's. Only this time, Legends of The Hidden Temple, per its original host, Kirk Fogg, is being targeted at adults, not children.

I think I get why. Any "kids" being interested would be the children of the show's original target audience and/or contestants. That would be a good way to make this more of a generational, legacy series. Interviewed earlier this week, Fogg looks like he possibly could return, too.

Stay tuned.
On the heels of the Legends announcement comes word that the CW will take the last step, and expand their primetime grid all the way across, adding a Saturday slate as early as next year.

Assuming the new Legends, like other game show revivals, is a hour-long block, it'd be a perfect match for Powerpuff, Greg Berlanti & Diablo Cody's updating of The Powerpuff Girls, which is reportedly already in production on a pilot.

Locally, WCWN (Spectrum digital channel 1212) will have to move Ring of Honor Wrestling's weekly show to a later time slot on Saturdays. It already airs Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at midnight. The only disruptions would be for Mets or Yankees broadcasts, usually on Friday or Saturday nights.
The Centers for Disease Control announced Thursday that vaccinated citizens can go without masks outdoors and indoors, the latter except for crowded venues such as hospitals, nursing homes, theatres, et al, or on public transportation, such as buses and trains.

Here in New York, however, Governor Andrew Cuomo is advising caution, since there were 22 deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Wednesday. As ye scribe can attest, local businesses are still requiring masks for the duration, although that could change as summer approaches.
Is this the face of a high school student?

Photo courtesy of Yahoo!

Audrey Nicole Francisquini, 28, snuck into a Hialeah, Florida school, posing as a student, just so she could promote her Instagram page. Otherwise employed by Carnival Cruise Lines, Francisquini took advantage of a day off to attempt her little stunt. She evaded school security, but, unfortunately for her, her Instagram ads gave away her location, and she was arrested later in the day.

The other shoe dropping could very well be Carnival dumping her before she even goes to jail. Just desserts for this week's Weasel.

It was one thing when Hollywood hires actors to play characters much younger than the actors themselves, a practice as old as time, from Our Miss Brooks to Riverdale. But how is it possible that every time we hear about an adult posing as a student and getting busted in real life, it's usually in the south?

The above picture should make a good mug shot, and a caution to anyone else who wants to try something like this. It ain't ending well.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

They're better off putting the cards under lock & key........

 A number of years back, in an effort to thwart shoplifters, a Rite Aid Pharmacy in Watervliet (now a Walgreens) began stocking their sports cards behind the counter, and you had to ask the clerk for what you wanted, just like you would for cigarettes. Customers were coming in, and, not having enough cash or a credit card to pay for the cards they wanted, would steal instead.

I know this because I shopped at that Rite Aid, and purchased a few packs over the counter. It was safe and effective.

Today, Walgreens and other retailers might want to take a look at that strategy.

Ever since the pandemic hit last year, adults, influenced by a YouTube "guru", began hoarding cards, going so far as to camp out in parking lots to await shipments. The kids, unless these hoarders were parents, were being denied. Walmart in Troy, for example, stopped carrying sports cards for a few months, since the hoarders were ignoring collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon, the latter a multi-media franchise all by itself. Oh, sure, they still carried supplies like packs of card sheets (35 sheets for $5 is a pretty good deal), top loaders, & penny sleeves, but it just wasn't the same, and it was getting frustrating.

A few weeks back, that same Walmart had blaster boxes of this year's Topps Heritage baseball cards. I bought two boxes, hoping to start building the set. While I was at the checkout, another fellow showed up, scooped up the remaining three boxes, then scurried away to finish his shopping list.

Until Wednesday, no one that I knew of resorted to violence because of the hoarding.

In a Milwaukee suburb, four men were arrested after a scrum over some cards, and one of these goofs decided to pull a gun at a Target store. The chain then posted a sign saying that as of tomorrow, they would no longer be selling the cards, including Pokemon and Magic, at stores, but they'd be still available online.

The greed of these people is ridiculous. They want to hoard the cards and collect the profits for themselves. Either they're flippers, buyers who then re-sell the cards on eBay and other online sites for profit, or box breakers, who go on YouTube themselves and open the boxes, then invite offers for bids from interested customers.

So, is there a solution? Yep.

Stores like Walgreens can go back to keeping the cards behind the counter. For Walmart, Target, et al, putting them under lock & key, where a clerk would be the only one who can open the case, would be the solution, in addition to putting limits on how many packs can be purchased in one visit. The locked cases work in other stores for items like razor blades, which is what CVS does.

And, as for the YouTube "gurus" encouraging this crap, just stop. Think of the little kids who can't afford the inflated prices on packs or single cards. Cards are meant for the kids, but are for all ages, and have been for a while. It's time to stop ignoring the kids, stop hogging the cards, and share.

Remember Eva Savealot? (2000)

 Back when 1-800-COLLECT was a thing, they tried an interesting advertising campaign, creating the character of Eva Savealot. Alyssa Milano (Charmed, ex-Who's The Boss?) played Eva during this year long campaign, which might explain why AT&T would answer with Carrot Top......!

MCI, the parent company of 1-800-COLLECT, is gone now, but this was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

If you're a Republican, you should be ashamed!

 Today's Repugnant Party is all about appeasing a 70-something man-child who will never admit publicly he got his butt whooped at the polls nearly 6 1/2 months ago, taking his cues from a Texas twit who began sowing doubts about his own election failures two years prior to the 2020 Presidential election.

An hour ago, the Repugnants decided to remove 2nd generation politico Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, from her leadership position, which would make her the #3 in terms of power among the GOPers, because she has refused to back down on her belief that the Repugnants should move away from Citizen Pampers, aka Donald Trump.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo!

The Repugnants would rather buy into the Big Lie, that Trump had the election stolen from him, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support his delusions any more than Russell Ramsland in 2018 when Ramsland failed in a bid for a Congressional seat. They are looking at Trump for what he is, a celebrity and a proven charlatan who lacked the charisma of the last "Hollywood-type" that was in the White House before him, that, of course, being the late Ronald Reagan, who parlayed his acting career into a successful political career, ending when his term ran out in January 1989.

Trump, in effect, is the Anti-Reagan. No charisma. No political experience until his election in 2016, and even that was via the Electoral College because he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. But, if you believe his detractors, Trump has been a career con man, famous just for being famous, just because he was a Noo Yawka.

The Repugnants are set to tap Schuylerville's Elise Stefanik as Cheney's replacement, despite the differences in the two women's voting records. The Repugnants don't like that Cheney won't kiss the ring or bend at the knee for Citizen Pampers.

However, it could all go for naught, given the fact that Trump is facing several lawsuits in New York, as well as a criminal investigation into some shady things. If Trump goes down, and it would be a major disappointment if he didn't, but all the signs are pointing toward him going down, then the Repugnants will have more eggs on their collective faces for supporting a sore loser.

And if that happens, what excuses will they have?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

When wrestlers shill: Ric Flair for CarShield (2021)

 WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair is doing a series of ads for CarShield, which has previously employed the likes of ESPN icon Chris Berman and rapper-actor Ice T (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; now shilling for Tide with another WWE Hall of Famer, Stone Cold Steve Austin), and hockey player Ryan O'Reilly.

Ric is either solo or other wrestling personalities, such as AEW's Peter Avalon and NWA announcer David Marquez, join him. In this case, NXT's L. A. Knight (Shaun Rickert, pka Eli Drake with NWA & Impact), dressed as the Overcharger, shares the ring and screen with the Nature Boy.

Funny how this spot started turning up shortly after Knight debuted in NXT. 

A little of this and a little of that

 I would not be at all surprised if the LGBTQ+ community looked at Caitlyn Jenner as a sort of Benedict Arnold.

Jenner, who came out as transgender a few years back, and had a reality show made of her transition from male to female, announced her intention to run for Governor of California recently, but she's also come out against transgender athletes sharing a locker room with natural women, if you will.

After getting slammed by ABC's Jimmy Kimmel last week, Jenner has someone coming to her defense in Fox Shmooze's Spam Hannity, a frequent target of Kimmel's. Spam warned Kimmel he'd have no problem talking to Kimmel's bosses at Disney about some of the things Kimmel has said and done on his late night show.

Typical GOPer garbage. Spam and his Fox Shmooze compadres keep feeding lies and misrepresentations to their brainwashed base, then turn around and whine when they get slammed for it.

We tried to get in touch with Fox Shmooze's public relations representative.

"No comment."

Gee, what a surprise.
Tomorrow, the GOPers in Washington will vote to remove Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, daughter of former VP Dick Cheney, from a leadership position, and sub in New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who went all in on Donald Trump's Big Lie in order to advance her career. Ms. Stefanik has youth on her side, and actually sided with the former president fewer times than Ms. Cheney did during Citizen Pampers' term.

What the GOPers don't realize is that Trump decided to model himself after North Korea's Kim Jong-Un, and they bought in.

On the other hand, Kim has not embarrassed himself publicly by behaving like a man-child with arrested development, as Trump has, over and over again, the last five years and change. 

Bellevue awaits Trump. It's inevitable.
One of television's most prolific producers, Greg Berlanti, will have three fewer series on the air when the fall 2021-2 season begins.

His 2nd year series, Prodigal Son, will wrap next week on Fox, joining CW's Black Lightning, which ends its 4 year run May 24, and Supergirl, which will end in September after 6 seasons, in leaving the air. Both of those series' endings have been planned out in advance, but Prodigal fell victim to declining ratings since returning in January. On the other hand, word on the street is that Painkiller, a proposed spin-off from Black Lightning, might not make it to series. Khalil Payne, aka Painkiller (Jordan Calloway), doesn't register as a heroic role model, even as an anti-hero, due to his dual personality. The CW hasn't made it official yet, but if WB wants to go forward with it, it'll likely land at HBO Max.

Stay tuned.
The Golden Globes usually signal the start of awards season for movies during the winter. However, the resulting kerfluffle over this year's event has led NBC to cancel plans to carry the event in 2022, and a number of Hollywood stars, including Tom Cruise, are choosing to boycott the event.

It wouldn't surprise anyone if a certain bloviating man-child with no stake in the event decided to weigh in sooner instead of later.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Musical Interlude: Stagger Lee & Personality (1979)

 From season 2 of Sha Na Na:

One of the gimmicks in the series was the boys' repeated efforts to lure in bigger stars to appear on the show. When your team leader is a dimwitted bass vocalist (Jon "Bowser" Bauman, billed as Bowser J. Bowser), things are bound to go south in a hurry. The writers of Dukes of Hazzard managed to perfect the gimmick as the "Celebrity Speed Trap" in a number of episodes of that series.

Anyway, Lloyd Price showed up near the end of the 2nd season. If you can get around Bowser being a fashion victim, Price, backed by most of the boys' dancing, and Dave "Chico" Ryan joining Lennie Baker on sax, performs two of his biggest hits, "Stagger Lee" & "Personality".

No self respecting judge would wear sneakers under his robe, and someone should've explained to Bowser that American judges stopped wearing powdered wigs years ago. I'm not even sure they still do in the UK.

In memory of Price, 88, who passed away over the weekend.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sports this 'n' that

 Let's give the Jets' 1st round pick, quarterback Zach Wilson of Brigham Young, some credit. He gets it.

Interviewed on Saturday, Wilson said that the starting job has to be earned, just like at any other level of football, be it high school, college, semi-pro, whatever. Wilson earned his spot at BYU, and awaits a competition come training camp in late July.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom left his start today vs. Arizona when he experienced some tightness in his side again, the same malady that forced him to miss a start vs. St. Louis last Monday.

Unfortunately for the Arizona Diamondbacks, they couldn't take advantage, as the Mets completed a 3 game sweep, 4-2, running their current winning streak to 5 in a row. If Philadelphia loses to Atlanta tonight (that game is underway as I write), the Mets will have sole possession of first place in the NL Least, heading into a 2 game interleague series with Baltimore and former Met Matt Harvey, starting on Tuesday.
Eight days ago, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert had saddled his 7th Kentucky Derby winner when Medina Spirit crossed the finish line.

Today, there's a possibility that Medina Spirit could be retroactively disqualified after it was reported that the horse failed a drug test. Churchill Downs has hit Baffert with an indefinite suspension as a result, but Baffert plans on appealing.

The suspension would also be honored at Pimlico, site of next Saturday's Preakness Stakes, and by the New York Racing Association, ahead of next month's Belmont Stakes.

Unfortunately, someone with no interest in the Triple Crown just had to weigh in and whine. Ladies & gentlemen, Donald Trump:

"WAAAHH!! That horse is a drug junkie! WAAAHHH!"

Of course, Citizen Pampers had to piggyback on the news to push his scam that he was cheated out of the election 6 months ago. Let me offer this for Mr. Trump, since most of America would like him to go away:

                          S.      T.      F.     U.!
Well, we found out who the "golfer" is hitting a no-look putt to Michael Jordan's bemusement in that Gatorade ad. It's former soccer star Mia Hamm. Should've figured that given the pairing of more recent soccer star Abby Wambach with Usain Bolt.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Musical Interlude: Here I Go Again (1987)

 Whitesnake landed its biggest chart hit in 1987 with "Here I Go Again", but what drives the video, however, is actress Tawny Kitaen, then the companion, later wife, of singer David Coverdale.

In memory of Tawny, 59, who passed away on Friday.

Sports this 'n' that

 James Dolan, New York's worst sports owner, was at it again earlier this week.

With the Knicks heading for a NBA playoff berth, and the Rangers eliminated from Stanley Cup contention, Dolan, who usually doesn't involve himself in Rangers business, decided to scapegoat team president and former star goaltender John Davidson on Wednesday, dismissing Davidson, who has also been a broadcaster for the team.

We get it. Dolan is another thin-skinned man-child who's gotten most of his negative press for meddling with the Knicks. The guy's never played hockey or basketball that we know of, plays in a garage band in his spare time, and has been cast as a blase villain to sports fans throughout the five boroughs. In short, this George Steinbrenner wanna-be felt he just had to get a back page headline this season.

We don't know if the Knicks are a one year wonder under Tom Thibodeau. The Rangers are in a down period, the #2 team in the city after the Islanders for the first time since the Isles' golden years of the 80's. With Radio City Music Hall soon to reopen, maybe Dolan, who also owns that property, can chill.

Meanwhile, the team raised a stink over the NHL refusing to suspend Washington's Tom Wilson for dirty play vs. the Rangers earlier this week. The statement from the team, making the rounds of social media, was also rare, and a sign that Dolan was taking an interest in the team for a change.

Let's see how long it takes before they start chanting "Fire Dolan!" at Rangers games.
Gatorade's new ad campaign has track star Usain Bolt and soccer icon Abby Wambach in a battle of the sexes to the beat of "Anything you can do, I can do better". But who is the golfer with Michael Jordan? Inquiring minds want to know!

Meanwhile, Megan Rapinoe is making it seem like a soccer ball can have an effect on cell phones in ads for Subway. Special effects, y'all.
The Cleveland Indians may be feeling a wee bit snakebitten this season.

Three weeks after Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox tossed a no-hitter at them, the Tribe fell silent again, this time against cross-state rival Cincinnati and Wade Miley.....

To MLB suits, that's four no-no's this season, but it's really five if you count Madison Bumgarner's 7 inning gem vs. Atlanta, which MLB won't count, as we've discussed, because of changes made 30 years ago, and that's going to remain a topic the rest of the season unless commissioner Rob Manfred can tell the stat nerds to chase themselves and give "Mad Bum" the credit he deserves.
Multi-tasking announcer Matt Vasgersian (MLB/ESPN/Fox) may have caught a bad case of homerism when he signed on to call a select number of Angels games for Bally Sports this season. As a result, some of his calls on Sunday Night Baseball are a little more over the top than before.

Maybe after the season, Disney can have him do some simulated games at Disneyland.

Speaking of ESPN/Disney, Tuesday's Yankees-Astros game broadcast was way over the top on purpose, since May 4 is now "Star Wars Day". Cross-promotion, you know. Could've been worse. Tim Kurkjian could've been given the night off in favor of America's Moron, Stephen A. Smith, who polluted a Monday NBA broadcast the night before.