Sunday, October 31, 2021

Fox Shmooze viewers would rather listen to liars than the truth

 Neil Cavuto is one of the few Fox Shmooze hosts who actually gets it. Unfortunately, the majority of the network's viewer base would rather listen to hardcore right wing jabronies like Tabloid Carlson, Laura Inkblot, and Spam Hannity continue to sell misinformation about COVID and last year's election.

One week ago, Cavuto went on a Fox Business program, I believe it was, and acknowledged that he, though fully vaccinated, had contracted COVID, and is getting over the disease. Like so many Americans, Cavuto had pre-existing medical conditions, including MS (Multiple Sclerosis). He advised the viewers to get vaccinated.

It didn't take long for the Legion of The Brainwashed to turn on Cavuto, as Farron Cousins explains:

Like, seriously? Too many people have bought into the lies and misinformation about COVID, scared spineless by right wing media. Don't these people realize that the mishandling of COVID last year cost Donald Trump re-election? Oh, sure, they do, but they don't care.

We found a fellow who offered his opinion:

"Wal, I ain't getting a needle in my arm if I can help it!"

That's how they see it in the sticks in this day & age.

It's time, as Farron said, to have law enforcement trace these death threats, not only to Cavuto, but to others as well, back to their source(s), and send them off to the local lock-up. GOPer Rep DoorMatt Gaetz got a death threat unrelated to COVID, we think, and the jabroni sending the threat was busted. That should be the start, because threatening the lives of anyone, private or public citizens, celebrities or politicians, is crossing the line.

Or, as Sammy Davis, Jr. sang in the theme to Barreta, "don't do the crime if you can't do the time".

Spook Rock: Werewolves of London (1978)

 It's Halloween. You know you're going to hear this on the radio today. Here's Warren Zevon with "Werewolves of London":

"Werewolves" was inspired by the movie, "Werewolf of London", with Warren Hull & Warner Oland, some 40 years earlier. In 2004, a year after Zevon's passing, actor-singer Adam Sandler recorded a cover for a Zevon tribute album. Other artists that have covered "Werewolves" include, unsurprisingly, the Grateful Dead.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Rockin' Funnies: Witch Doctor (1958)

 From The Ed Sullivan Show:

Ed welcomes David Seville (Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.), the man who'd later introduce America to Alvin & The Chipmunks. Here, though, we've got "Witch Doctor". Don't know who the woman is in the video. 

Edit, 11/5/23: Had to change the video. Ed's intro is deleted.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Dunce Cap Award: Care to take a guess on this one?

 The late Andy Warhol once prophesied that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes.

Empty-G, aka Marjorie Taylor Greene, is milking her 15 minutes as much as she can by being the embodiment of an unpleasant stereotype in order to keep her name in the headlines. The latest example of this nonsense is an interview she gave to fellow GOPer Steve Bannon, in which she tried to use the Declaration of Independence to justify her defense of the January 6 insurrection.

Farron Cousins explains:

Now, you'd think she's smart enough to know better, and is playing dumb for attention. Gracie Allen & Goldie Hawn parlayed that gimmick into successful acting careers, and Goldie graduated to more serious roles, showing her range as an actress. Empty-G? Well, this will illustrate the public's perception of Ms. Moldy Peaches:

This is what happens when you cast lots with a mentally challenged, 70-something man-child drunk on power.

Meanwhile, Fox Shmooze's Tabloid Carlson is preparing a so-called documentary on 1/6, which attempts to rewrite the history of events on that day.

The evidence of what really happened that day is on video for everyone to see when they need to. Tabloid thinks his audience also watches WWE, since he shares their belief that viewers will forget details after a certain amount of time, but that sound byte mentality is really an urban legend.

That being said, Tabloid & Empty-G have these waiting for them:

Enough said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

How does a moron call another moron a genius?

 Delusional conservative gasbag Steve Bannon had one of his favorite people on his podcast Tuesday. That, of course, would be Prince Pillow himself, Mike Lindell.

In what amounts to a theatre of the absurd moment, Bannon declared Lindell to be a genius because he's holding a 3 day live-stream marathon over Thanksgiving, provided, of course, that his delusions are real, and that the Supreme Court would reinstate Donald Trump as President, failing to realize that this is something that is not possible at all.

Before we go any further, we heard from a spokesman for an "old friend" of Lindell's:

"This guy belongs in a sanitarium. We can't cure his delusional dreams."

Bannon, of course, should be more concerned with the very real prospect of going to jail for obstructing Congress. Bannon is under the delusion that he's protected under executive privilege, via Trump. Uh, no, he's not. President Biden has seen to that.

Farron Cousins explains:

Count on this. Bannon is bound for jail. Lindell, at this point, looks more likely that he's headed for, yes, a psychiatric hospital, and, probably, in a padded cell across the hall from Citizen Pampers himself.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Was the insurrection an inside job?

 Rolling Stone released an article that suggests that some of the organizers behind the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol had some help from the inside. It's implied that Donald Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had made contact with these people, and so did Reps. "Screwy" Louie Goehmert, Lauren Bow-Wow, Paul Gosar, and Foghorn Cawthorn.

Farron Cousins explains:

I get that President Biden is preferring to follow procedures, but let's just skip past the red tape. It's way past time that the GOPer rebels and Citizen Pampers were held accountable. It does explain why Pampers doesn't want the select committee to get their hands on important documents, but he cannot claim executive privilege. Biden's blocked him multiple times. Trump is unstable to begin with, and we're likely getting this if things don't go his way:

"WAAAHHHH!!! It's none of your business!! WAAAAHHH!!"

That padded cell's looking more and more likely for Citizen Pampers right now.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Musical Interlude: Kodachrome (2015)

 What I am not sure of is if Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem's cover of Paul Simon's classic, "Kodachrome", was used on The Muppets in 2015-6, even with the cast appearing in the video. If you've seen the Electric Mayhem's recent cover of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky", then you know this generation of Muppeteers have the Electric Mayhem on the right track.


Weasel of The Week: Care to take a guess?

 It has been four days since a prop firearm intended for movie use, and, supposedly, containing blanks, actually had live ammunition, resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Alec Baldwin, the star and producer of "Rust", has expressed remorse, and reports are that he, and the crew member that gave him what was supposed to be a "cold gun", had no idea there was live ammo.

To the surprise of, well, no one, certain GOPers have decided to exploit the tragedy for their own amusement and political gain, targeting Baldwin, who had lampooned former president Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live the last few years. Rep. J. D. Vance went so far as to suggest that Twitter reinstate Trump, who lost his account earlier this year, so that he could castigate Baldwin.

Dumb Donald II (Donald Trump, Jr.) is now hawking hastily produced t-shirts that read, "Guns don't kill people. Alec Baldwin kills people.", for $28 per shirt, shamelessly exploiting Hutchins' death to get back at Baldwin for mocking his father. Apparently, having onionskin runs in the Trump family.

"Rust" co-stars Jensen Ackles (The Boys, ex-Supernatural) and Frances Fisher have offered condolences to Hutchins' family, and also in support of Baldwin, who likely would do the noble thing and pick up the tab for the funeral. It would be the right thing to do.

Tragedy, however, is not an excuse to ambush a political enemy, though that has long been lost on the Trump family, as we were reminded again last week after Citizen Pampers castigated former Secretary of State Colin Powell upon Powell's passing. That said, Pampers, Jr. and Vance get Weasel ears this week for kicking an enemy when he's emotionally down.

It should be pointed out that Match Game, during Baldwin's tenure as host, has been a forum for poking fun at the Archduke of Affluenza, so expect that to continue when the series returns in 2022.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

A little of this and a little of that

 If you live here in the 518, as ye scribe does, you've probably heard the radio ads for Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin touting his efforts to combat COVID-19 in the county since the pandemic began, as he's running for re-election.

What McLaughlin isn't touting, however, is something that should run him out of office.

Two years ago, you might recall, McLaughlin, and GOP operative Richard Crist, essentially turned on GOP mayoral candidate Tom Reale in his effort to unseat current Mayor Patrick Madden, opting for former city councilman Rodney Wiltshire as their candidate of choice. The strongarm tactics of Crist & McLaughlin led to Reale suspending, then restarting, his campaign, but it was too late. Madden, who could be separated at birth from vacuum cleaner salesman David Oreck and Dr. Phil McGraw, rolled to his 2nd and final term. City Hall will be up for grabs in 2023. Wiltshire, oh, by the way, is running for county legislature this year.

Thus, it falls upon the Democratic Party in the county to remind voters of McLaughlin's duplicity, with nine days to go before Election Day.
To her detractors, Charlotte Flair is the WWE's Golden Girl. Perhaps, not so much anymore.

Photo courtesy WWE.

Flair (Ashley Fliehr), drafted to Smackdown while still Raw women's champion earlier this month, was to exchange belts with Becky Lynch (Rebecca Lopez), who is going the other way, after Lynch retained the Smackdown title at Crown Jewel on Thursday. What transpired at the end of Smackdown on Friday has only fueled the fire for Flair's detractors, as she now comes off as being more self-centered than ever. Her fiance, Andrade El Idolo, now wrestles for All Elite Wrestling. Her father, legendary Hall of Famer Ric Flair, lost his endorsement deal with CarShield after an episode of Vice's Dark Side of The Ring revealed some obscene outside-the-ring behavior by the elder Flair in 2002. Charlotte has lost the respect of the locker room, even though she had actually wanted to drop the Raw title to Bianca Belair, whom Lynch beat for the Smackdown title at Summerslam two months ago, but was turned down, which of course suggests to her critics that Chairman-CEO Vince McMahon has given her preferential treatment since she was first called up 6 years ago.

Moving over to Raw, Lynch will defend her title vs. Queen's Crown winner Zelina Vega at some point. Flair, meanwhile, renews hostilities with Sasha Banks, but it would be best for business if they gave the other women were given equal opportunities.

Stay tuned.

The World Series has a fresh matchup this year. Thank you, Atlanta!

 To borrow from Capital One's advertising campaign, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had the easiest decision in the history of decisions. And he whiffed on it, which cost the Dodgers a chance to repeat as World Series champions.

After Joe Kelly came out of game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night with a shoulder injury, Roberts removed Kelly from the roster, replacing him with veteran David Price, who, people likely forget, was part of the Mookie Betts deal prior to the 2020 season. Max Scherzer, the front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award, pulled out of game 6 due to a tired, or, dead, arm, holding out hope that he could go tonight if it came down to game 7.

Ok, you're thinking. If you're Roberts, you have a fresh arm in Price, who hasn't seen much action lately. Instead, Walker Buehler, who started in place of Scherzer, and was originally set to go in game 7, was on three days rest as a result, having pitched in game 3 on Tuesday. Price never saw the mound, and, as you're about to see, Roberts' strategy blew up in his face.

Would starting Price have made a difference? Yes, it would, at least until Roberts would inevitably go to his bullpen. Buehler ends up the losing pitcher, after giving up the game winning three run homer to Eddie Rosario. Ian Anderson, who started for Atlanta, was lifted for a pinch-hitter in that decisive 4th inning, and didn't figure into the decision, going 7 innings total in two starts against the Dodgers. He'll likely return Friday at home in game 3 of the World Series.

22 years after losing to the Yankees, the Braves return to the Fall Classic, giving Fox a fresh matchup between two teams who, until after the 1994-5 strike, were rivals in the NL West. The Dodgers' run of divisional titles doesn't quite mirror Atlanta's run from 1991-2005 between the NL West & East, not including the incomplete 1994 season, of course, but it might all come to an end if Dodger brass decides that Roberts, who's being second-third-&-fourth-guessed this morning in the wake of the misfired strategy, has worn out his welcome.

The Scherzer case is emblematic of the obsession baseball has today with analytics. Stat nerds have gradually taken over the game, taking away some of the fundamental strategies of yore. Defensive shifts have become too much in vogue to the point of annoyance. It helps explain why games have gotten slower and slower as MLB tries in vain to speed up the game. It might also explain why Bruce Bochy, after three World Series titles in San Francisco, retired after the 2019 season. I doubt he really was into all this analytics himself, as it might've been foisted on him by the new generation of baseball suits.

Digression over. Dave Roberts had a chance to use David Price in a key game, and opted against it. That decision cost Los Angeles the NL title, and nets Roberts the dreaded Dunce Cap for strategic incompetence.

As for the Series itself, it's been a while since Atlanta & Houston have crossed paths, outside of pre-season games in Florida. Braves manager Brian Snitker, I'll guess, will likely lead with Charlie Morton or Max Fried in game 1 on Tuesday, with the other going on Wednesday, and, as noted earlier, Anderson on Friday. For Houston manager Dusty Baker, who was on a few World Series teams as a Dodger in the 70's and 80's, it is the ultimate redemption, not just for Houston, still dogged by accusations of cheating, four years after a scandal tainted their World Series run, but for himself. 2021 represents the furthest he's ever gone as a manager in the post-season, and the stigma of first round failures in Cincinnati have finally faded away. The only question as of now is whether or not Lance McCullers, Jr., left off the ALCS roster vs. Boston, is ready to return to help Houston's rotation. They'll certainly need him.

Defensively, Atlanta has reached another level even with all-universe Ronald Acuna, Jr. gone for the season. Ex-Dodger Joc Peterson, who started the season in Chicago, has filled the void immensely. Austin "Bus" Riley has made a case for MVP on defense, now that he's settled in at 3rd base. Last year's league MVP, Freddie Freeman, has awakened his bat just in time. I'm waiting for someone at either Fox, MLB Network, or even pop-culture-savvy ESPN to call out "Shazam!" if Freeman goes deep in the series. Comics fans will get the reference. For the Astros, another title might be incentive enough to keep Carlos Correa from testing the free agent market, and staying with Houston. 

Prediction: Atlanta in 7. Of course, I could be wrong.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Halloween with Kate & Allie (1986)

 From season 4 of Kate & Allie:

The best friends (Susan Saint James & Jane Curtin) celebrate "Halloween". For your perusal. No rating.

On The Shelf: Wonder Woman turns 80

 DC Comics has marketed Batman Day the last few years, usually in September. This year, Wonder Woman is being feted with her own Day as the Amazing Amazon marks 80 years.

If you can look this good at 80.........!

Image courtesy of DC Comics.

To mark Wonder Woman Day, DC released a trio of 1-shot specials this month.

Wonder Woman Day itself reprints the first issue of the 2016 "Rebirth" era series, in which Etta Candy, one of Wonder Woman's oldest associates in the books, was given a major upgrade from comedy relief to a much more important role as a member of the military. The reprint is out to promote the trade paperback collection of the first story arc.

Rating: A-.

For the younger readers, a sampler of Diana: Princess of The Amazons offers Diana as a pre-teen on Themyscira, formerly known as Paradise Island. Parents, your daughters will love it. The actual graphic novel, if it isn't already out, will be soon.

Rating: A-.

Finally, another graphic novel, Tempest Tossed, is sampled, and the OGN itself is also available. Recommended for teens & up.

Rating: A-.

For those of you waiting for the conclusion of Suicide Squad: Get Joker, you're going to have to wait three months. DC, due to delays involving shipping of selected titles, will have the conclusion in stores in mid-January. Trust me, it's better than what we've been seeing from the regular monthly and the King Shark miniseries, which are leaving me cold lately.

Friday, October 22, 2021

What has become of the American Way? DC changes Superman's credo

 It was news nearly a week ago at DC Fandome 2021 when publisher Jim Lee announced that the company was making another change with the Superman brand.

Five days after revealing that the Man of Steel's son, Jonathan, was coming out as bi-sexual, DC decided that the elder Superman's tagline, his credo, if you will, would no longer be "truth, justice, and the American way", but, rather, "truth, justice, & a better tomorrow".

It's easy to understand why the change was made, and needed.

We spent nearly two decades in the Middle East, fighting a seemingly endless war.

For four of those years, our commander-in-chief was a petulant, 70-something man-child, whose carefully constructed public image was destroyed by his own thin-skinned temper tantrums on social media, and his intentional mishandling of the COVID pandemic.

The Capitol was under siege in January by a group of brainwashed citizens who bought into the lies of the outgoing president and right wing media.

In short, the American Way, as we knew it, has been damaged, almost beyond repair. Substituting it with "a better tomorrow" offers optimism and hope.

Anyone that has followed Greg Berlanti's family of DC adventure series on the CW knows where he stands as far as real world politics are concerned. Apparently, Lee and DC share Berlanti's world view.

And, after all, Superman is known as the Man of Tomorrow, too.

Unsurprisingly, there are people who are butt-hurt over the change in one of the oldest catchphrases in comics, and the over-reactions are mostly from the right wing sheep, who just need to get over themselves. Deal with it, haters.

Sports this 'n' that

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

Just like last year, the Atlanta Braves took a 3-1 lead in games into Thursday's game vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the series moving back to Atlanta on Saturday night.

And, just like last year, the Dodgers are back in it, riding a combined 5 home runs from AJ Pollock & Chris Taylor en route to a 11-2 drubbing of the NL East champions.

Ian Anderson will be entrusted with halting another Dodger comeback on Saturday night. Anderson only went 3 innings in game 2, and was bailed out by the Braves' offense & bullpen.
Lost in the narrative of Jon Gruden's resignation last week as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders was the decision of lineman Carl Nassib to take a leave of absence from the team.

Nassib, who came out as gay earlier this year, is understandably disturbed by the revelations of Gruden's past insensitive tweets, uncovered by the New York Times. Without Nassib, the Raiders defeated Denver last Sunday. Figure he'll be back before long, because the Raiders will need him for a playoff push in the second half of the season.
Last month, WWE superstar Zelina Vega (Thea Bundgen) was denied an opportunity to use an episode of Smackdown the night before the 9/11 Memorial to express her feelings about losing her father on that horrible day 20 years ago. Personally, I thought Fox could've jumped on this opportunity, and put some heat on WWE CEO-Chairman-head wackjob Vince McMahon to give Vega a forum. As it happened, she was among those who read the names of victims at Ground Zero the next day.

Vega, married to AEW's Malaki Black (Tom Bundgen), rebounded and won the inaugural Queen's Crown tournament at Crown Jewel on Thursday in Saudi Arabia. Until her recent return to WWE's Vega's won-loss record wasn't that great, but one wonders if this was a way of McMahon making it up to her for the el snubbito last month. We may never know.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Rockin' Funnies: Funky Gibbon (1975)

 The British comedy trio, The Goodies, initially released "Funky Gibbon", a spirited novelty track, during season 5 (or, as the British call it, series 5) in 1975, where it went all the way to #4 on the UK chart.

This clip comes from the episode, "Almost Live", which closed season 6 a year later.

As their show's theme song says, "goodie goodie yum yum".

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Spook Rock: Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (1977)

 The Carpenters didn't just record their own hits. They also did covers, with remakes of hits by the Beatles, Herman's Hermits, and a relatively unknown Canadian band, Klaatu, on their discography.

Klaatu? Who?

Klaatu had recorded "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" in 1976. That caught the Carpenters' attention, and Richard followed the necessary protocols to obtain the rights to record a cover a year later.

Guitarist Tony Peluso plays the DJ at the start of the video. I guess the Carpenters couldn't convince Casey Kasem to take the gig.

A few months later, the Carpenters included "Craft" in a primetime special for ABC that also featured Suzanne Somers (Three's Company), Charlie Callas (Switch), and John Davidson (ex-The Girl With Something Extra). We'll see if we can find that down the line.

Weasel of The Week: Madison Cawthorn

 "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys."---Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson.

Today, North Carolina Misrepresentative Madison "Foghorn" Cawthorn is selling people a bill of goods, encouraging parents to let their kids grow up to be monsters, and we don't mean as fans of Lady Gaga.

Farron Cousins explains:

Apparently, Cawthorn learned his life lessons from this guy:

Unless he's employing reverse psychology, and I don't think he even understands what that is, he's earned himself a set of Weasel ears, which probably doesn't sit well with his idol.......

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Only a scared, desperate man would seek to hide the truth about January 6. Most scared men wouldn't sue.

 Indeed, Donald Trump is a scared, desperate man.

His image, carefully cultivated through more than 4 decades of public life, has been irretrievably destroyed through his term as president. However, Trump doesn't want the truth to be revealed about the January 6 riot at the Capitol, and is suing the National Archives & the 1/6 Select Committee to block the release, despite the fact that President Biden has said that executive privilege does not apply to Trump now that he's out of office.

Jesse Dollemore explains why this lawsuit is a bad idea:

Trump does not realize that he doesn't have the perks of his former occupation, and that, obviously, bothers him even more. He got drunk on power in Washington, and is doing anything he can to get it back.

However, it's not going to work, and we know how he'll react once this pathetic suit is dropped:

Monday, October 18, 2021

Sports this 'n' that

 College football, and, more specifically, the biggest league in the sport, the SouthEastern Conference (SEC), caught a colossal black eye Saturday night.

In the waning moments of Mississippi's win over Tennessee, inebriated, angry Volunteer fans, incensed that two replay reviews favored the visitors, began pelting the field and Rebels players & coaches, including Ole Miss coach "Primrose" Lane Kiffin, returning to one of his former employers as a visiting coach for the first time. Kiffin was clocked with a golf ball. Tennessee cheerleaders left the sidelines and went on the field during the delay for their own safety.

You know, they could've paid local homeless people to pick up the empty bottles & cans.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey wasn't thrilled in the least bit, and deemed the incident "unacceptable". Can ya blame him? He fined the University of Tennessee a quarter of a million dollars as a result of the drunks' actions. 

Now, we all know they treat football like it was religion down in the south, but there aren't enough confessionals in Tennessee to get these geeks to repent.

They're looking at the video to ID the perps. Ya gotta figure they're hoping they don't call the Mayor of Knox County, Glenn Jacobs, aka WWE's Kane. This close to Halloween, he might have a special kind of punishment in mind. Just sayin'.
Given how the Giants were throttled, 38-11, by the Rams on Sunday, ya wonder if they didn't give QB Daniel Jones a free pass through the concussion portal. Sure, three interceptions ain't new, but they couldn't be bothered to take a chance on letting backup Mike Glennon, who used most of his 15 minutes with Tampa Bay a few years ago, start in Jones' place. Not that it would've changed anything, maybe, but 2nd year coach Joe "There Goes The" Judge is on the hot seat. He was a special teams coordinator for New England before going to the Giants, which makes one think co-owner John Mara may be just as cheap as former Mets owner Fred Wilpon was. Just the same, Judge will follow Luis Rojas out of New York sooner rather than later.
It's been almost a week since Jon Gruden resigned as Las Vegas Raiders coach, but he keeps drawing support from the wrong kind of people.

After Newsnax's Greg Kelly's misguided whining about "white men are under attack", Dumb Donald II (Donald Trump, Jr.) hopped on the Gruden bandwagon like an unwanted guest looking for a free meal. The more right wingers show their support for Gruden, treating him like a martyr, which he isn't, the worse it's actually going to be, as he's likely not getting another coaching gig again any time soon, not to mention going back to television.

Would someone point out to Kelly, Trump, and the rest of these morons that the calendar reads 2021, not 1951?
The honeymoon is over for Sam Darnold in Carolina.

The Panthers have lost three in a row after starting 3-0. Seems Darnold may have reverted to the form that forced him off the Jests. 

And, uh, Cam Newton is available. Seattle coach Pete Carroll reached out to Newton after Russell Wilson went down with an injury, but while the Seahawks are going with ex-Jest Geno Smith at QB for now, I don't think this story's over yet. Panthers management might want to think about a mea culpa with Newton.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan, aka "Matty Ice", is moonlighting these days.

Ryan has joined Procter & Gamble's Cold Call series of ads with WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Ice-T (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). I guess Vanilla Ice was not willing to commit to a long term gig. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

What Might've Been: Aloha Paradise (1981)

 Remember how Reese's peanut butter cups were marketed as "two great tastes that go great together"? Well, Aaron Spelling thought he could take elements of his two Saturday night series for ABC, The Love Boat & Fantasy Island, mix them up, subtract the darker elements from Fantasy, and the result was Aloha Paradise, which lasted two months as a mid-season replacement in 1981 for ABC.

The show was built around its island setting and its staff, fronted by Debbie Reynolds, who hadn't had her own series since a self-titled sitcom for NBC a dozen or so years earlier. The staff included Bill Daily (ex-The Bob Newhart Show, I Dream of Jeannie), Stephen Shortridge (ex-Welcome Back, Kotter), Pat Klous (ex-Flying High), and Charles Fleischer (ex-Welcome Back, Kotter, Wacko!).

The problem? NBC owned the 8 pm (ET) hour with Diff'rent Strokes & The Facts of Life. Thanks for coming. Reportedly, Reynolds was not a happy camper, as the network's promotion for the series didn't put enough emphasis on her. The network's idea was this was a beached version of Love Boat.

Gilmore Box offers the intro to the opener:

No rating. My folks were either into movies on the cable, or if there was a Bruins game on WSBK, my dad would be watching that instead.

Musical Interlude: La La (Means I Love You) (1968)

 The Delfonics, out of Philadelphia, peaked at #4 on the Hot 100 in 1968 with the soothing "La La (Means I Love You)", which still gets play on oldies & adult contemporary stations today. Singer William Hart co-wrote it with producer Thom Bell.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

On The Air: Batman: The Audio Adventures (2021)

 Batman: The Audio Adventures is a light-hearted homage to old time radio and the seminal Batman: The Animated Series, which marks its 30th anniversary next year. Yes, it's a podcast, but it is also available on HBO Max.

The cast has a decided Saturday Night Live flava, past & present, including Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villasenor, head writer Dennis McNicholas, and Progressive Insurance pitchman Chris Parnell (Dr. Rick) as our narrator. Also heard are Jeffrey Wright (What If....?), John Leguizamo, Rosario Dawson, Alan Tudyk (Resident Alien, Harley Quinn, etc.), and Ray Wise (ex-Fresh Off The Boat, Reaper).

To help promote the series, DC issued a 1-shot prequel this week, written by McNicholas, Bobby Moynihan (ex-Saturday Night Live, DuckTales), Ike Barinholtz (ex-MadTV), Paul Scheer (ex-Fresh Off The Boat), and Heidi Gardner.

Now, let's scope out the opener:

Wright, who will be seen as Commissioner Gordon in next year's "The Batman", is virtually pitch perfect as Batman, and there's no mistaking Meyers as Jack Ryder, who may or may not be The Creeper in this iteration just yet. Of the cast, Scheer has some comics experience with Boom! Studios & Marvel, and Leguizamo has been dabbling of late as a writer.

The comics 1-shot is an 80 page special for $10, and worth every penny.


Batman: The Audio Adventures, the podcast/HBO Max series: A. The comic book gets an A+.
We reviewed DC's Justice League Infinity when it was released in July, and thought it was a triumphant return to form for an animated universe series. However, more than halfway through this 7 issue miniseries, which ends in January, the wheels have fallen off, as it's more of a DCAU take on Infinite Frontier, but with the added nausea of revisiting a Super Friends trope from the 80's, as seen in the current issue, #4. In 1984, someone at DC or Hanna-Barbera thought it would be a cool idea to have Darkseid lusting after Wonder Woman. Barf me out, if you please!!!

Revised rating: C.
Archie Comics' Archie Halloween Spectacular, on the heels of a Betty & Veronica volume with a similar theme last month, introduces a new witch character, Castrella, who figures to be an adversary of Sabrina, Archie, and the gang down the line. As usual, the rest are reprints, but it's going to be a while before they go back to the "New Riverdale" format from 2015-20.

Rating: B.
Acclaimed, respected writer-artist Bill Willingham is back at DC, scripting a 6 issue Black Label miniseries that brings back one of Fables' most beloved characters, Bigby Wolf, who crosses into Gotham City, and you know what that means. A clash, then team-up, with The Batman. I think I may be investing in those Fables trades just to fill up the library. Anyway, the miniseries begins as you'd expect, as the two sleuths cross paths hunting for a serial killer who may just be a werewolf of some kind....

Rating: A.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Spook Rock: Touch of Grey (1987)

The Grateful Dead, FM radio legends for years, cracked the top 10 in 1987 with "Touch of Grey", the 1st single off "In The Dark".

This innovative clip has the band replaced by skeleton puppets for most of the video, until a key point in the song brings the band into play. This copy comes from VH1's Pop-Up Video:

We'll look at Pop-Up Video another time.

Sports this 'n' that

 A few takeaways from TNT's 1st regular season broadcast of NHL hockey on Wednesday:

*---Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky made his debut as a studio analyst, punctuated by a skit with NBA studio analyst and Capital One shill Charles Barkley, a known hockey fan. Gretzky was almost unrecognizable with his hair dyed jet black.

*---Studio host Liam McHugh, studio analyst Anson Carter, game analyst Keith Jones, and announcer Kenny Albert were signed away from NBC. Albert also calls football for Fox.

*---The first half of the doubleheader, Rangers at Washington, seemed to take longer than normal, likely due to extra commercial breaks.

*---Fans of AEW Dynamite will have to wait until Saturday this week & next for their fix, though Rampage should tie them over tonight.
Brooklyn Nets star and part-time actor Kyrie Irving made a personal decision not to vaccinate against COVID-19, and because of the vaccine mandate in effect in New York, Irving can't play. Nets ownership took it a step further, and Irving is off the court, home & away, until he gets a shot.

Irving's stance has drawn attention from some unlikely, and unwanted, supporters. Particularly, this bubble-head in Washington:

Empty-G (Marjorie Taylor Greene) was roasted on Twitter for, well, being a twit, trying to compare Irving's staunch stance on vaccines to Earvin "Magic" Johnson's decision to retire from the NBA 30 years ago after being diagnosed with HIV. It's not the first time Empty-G has tried comparing COVID to AIDS/HIV, and likely won't be the last, but leave it to this ditz to siphon attention away from Irving to continue her 15 minutes of infamy.

Something tells me she flunked science, particularly biology, in school.
And, then, there's Newsmax anchor Greg Kelly, whining that "white men are under attack", hours after Jon Gruden stepped down as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

No, Greg, white men are not under attack. As reported earlier this week, a New York Times investigation into the Washington "Generics"' front office and allegations of sexual harrassment in 2018-19 uncovered some old tweets from Gruden, whose brother, Jay, was the Generics' coach at the time. The tweets revealed that Gruden, like so many others from his generation, dealt in racist, homophobic, and sexist blather because back in those days, it was socially acceptable. Today, it isn't.

Kelly simply seized an opportunity to make a talking point about the Gruden firing to stir up the GOPers, but he forgets that there are some conservative chisel-heads who've dug up dirt on other celebrities for the same thing.

Newsmax's ratings---and Kelly's in particular----must be on life support for a stunt like that to take place.
The baseball championship series are set. However, controversy will follow the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers as they prepare to play in Atlanta on Saturday night.

Seems the final play of the NLDS saw San Francisco's Wilmer Flores called out on a check-swing 3rd strike by 1st base ump Gabe Morales, working his first playoff series. Morales, predictably, had his Wikipedia page hacked with the older than time trope of being accused of being "legally blind".

Even fans of Flores' original team, the Mets, roasted Morales online.

Get over yourselves, people!

Picks for the LCS:

ALCS: Boston over Houston in 7.
NLCS: Atlanta upsets Los Angeles in 6.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

On The Air: Legends of The Hidden Temple (2021)

 This Temple isn't for kids anymore.

Legends of The Hidden Temple, which originally aired as a children's game show on Nickelodeon (1993-5), was revived originally as a possible entry for Quibi, until that service was discontinued. The CW picked up the pilot, and ordered it to series, airing on Sunday nights, coupled with the returning Killer Camp, and displacing Batwoman, which, as we've noted, has moved to Wednesdays.

Cristela Alonso is the new host, after Kirk Fogg had returned for a feature film version of the series a few years ago. Voice actor Dee Bradley Baker returns as the voice of Olmec, and gets star billing as a result. Airing as it does at 8 pm (ET), Temple airs opposite Celebrity Wheel of Fortune on ABC, and has a daunting task within itself.

The task? Taking what was a half hour show, and stretching it out to a full hour, with the same games that were used in the original series. The target audience is meant to be the fans of the original series, now all grown up, and their families. 

Here's a teaser:

Part game show, part reality show. However, between Wheel, The Equalizer, and, for now, anyway, Sunday Night Football, this Temple, set for 20 episodes instead of 40 as it was back in the day, might not make it to the finish line. The opener drew less than 300,000 viewers. That is not promising.

Rating: C.

A judge dismisses another lawsuit seeking to reverse last year's election. The usual whining follows

 These days, Donald Trump has nothing better to do than whine, day after day, about how he was supposedly "robbed" of re-election last year. He ignores the fact that he got whupped at the polls because of his lax handling of COVID-19. The oldest man-child on earth wanted to cling to the power he had as president, so much so that he had threatened to contest the result if he lost, which has happened.

On Wednesday, a judge in Georgia dismissed another lawsuit filed by the Legion of the Brainwashed seeking to overturn the presidential election. These peabrains want to believe anything Trump tells them, because they're too gullible to realize they've been played.

Rather than try to disseminate the details, let's hear from Rachel Maddow:

"Earth 1"? "Earth 2"? Rachel's been doing some comic book research, apparently, in line with her other gig as the voice of gossip columnist Vesper Fairchild on Batwoman, which began season 3 last night, directly opposite Rachel's show on MSNBC.

And, of course, as Rachel read the statements from Trump, this comes to mind:


No, you didn't, Sunkist breath. Get over yourself, and STFU!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Sports this 'n' that

 It seems only fitting that as Chucky, a spin-off from the original "Child's Play" movies, debuts on SyFy & USA Networks tonight, an NFL coach who was nicknamed Chucky has seen his career come to an abrupt end.

Photo courtesy Yahoo!.

Despite having the Las Vegas Raiders in the thick of the AFC West race, Jon Gruden is out after some old tweets, dating back as far as 10 years ago (of course) surfaced in which Gruden made some homophobic, racist, and sexist remarks. The more recent of these haterizing tweets are tied to a New York Times investigation into the sexual harrassment scandal involving the Washington "Generics", for whom Gruden's brother, Jay, coached in 2018-19 before being sacked in favor of Ron Rivera. Jon Gruden returned to the sidelines with the Raiders around that same time after leaving ESPN, but, as we've seen time and again, it doesn't matter how far back it goes, it's still socially unacceptable in the era of #MeToo.
Five weeks into the NFL season, and if someone told you before the season the 2-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs would be in last place by Columbus Day, you'd probably wave it off as wishful thinking.

Reality check, aisle 1!

The Chiefs (2-3) are in fact in last in the division after losing to AFC East leader Buffalo (4-1) on Sunday night. The Bills avenged their loss in the AFC title game 9 months ago. Just to illustrate the difference between the East & West in the AFC, New England has the same record as Kansas City at 2-3, but are two games out of first in the East because the Jests & Dolphins are tied for the basement at 1-4.

To be fair, it seems as though the AFC West has caught up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. There's something about those silly State Farm ads that will affect a player's performance now and again......!
We are assured of a new AL representative in the World Series this season.

Defending AL champion Tampa Bay was bounced in four games by Boston, the clincher coming Monday on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 9th. Seems the Rays dissed the BoSox by bringing along some champagne upon arriving at Fenway prior to Sunday's game. 

After that mishap in protocol, the only Rays we'll be hearing from will be on oldies channels.......

Meanwhile, in Chicago, the White Sox got a forecast from meteorologist Chicken Little, and postponed game 4 vs. Houston until this afternoon. In other words, they anticipated rain was coming, and acted prematurely. We've seen that before.
Over in the NL, San Francisco & Atlanta could close out Los Angeles & Milwaukee, respectively, in their game 4's today. Alex Wood did the unthinkable, as far as Dodger fans were concerned, in outdueling Max Scherzer, to get the Giants within a game of their first LCS since 2014.
NHL season starts tonight, and the league has been welcomed in Seattle, where the expansion Kraken will debut this week. No truth to the rumor that Silly Sidney Powell is one of the investors. For those of you who haven't been paying attention, national broadcast rights are now shared by ESPN and TNT, just like in the NBA.

And I know I won't be the last one to make jokes about the Kraken and Powell. Trust me.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Celebrity Rock: Wallflower Pete (1965)

 From Hollywood a Go-Go:

You can add John Astin to the list of TV stars who dabbled in music in the 60's. While Addams Family castmate Ted Cassidy showed up on Shindig, Astin turned up on the syndicated Hollywood a Go-Go. "Wallflower Pete" is considered by fans to be a forerunner to rap, but then, at the time, spoken word tracks weren't that uncommon, since Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" and Bonanza star Lorne Greene's "Ringo" fall into that category.

We lost series host Sam Riddle recently, so this video is dedicated in his memory.

This wouldn't be the last time Astin belted a tune. In the same episode, he also did his own composition, "Quieda Mia", and would later sing on Night Court and The Charmings. We'll just have to see about any Addams Family numbers.

A little of this and a little of that

 The honeymoon is over between the Jacksonville Jaguars and coach Urban Meyer.

Prior to Sunday, Meyer was on the hot seat after he'd decided to stay behind after a game and put on his boogie shoes, if you will, at a dance club with a woman who was not his wife. As of now, the Jaguars, despite the moves they made in the offseason, signing Meyer, drafting Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, et al, are 0-5, and have lost 20 in a row dating back to last season.

One pundit went so far as to suggest that Meyer would be let go as early as today. Yes, he apologized to Jaguars owner Shad Khan and the team for his off-field misadventure, but Khan went so far as to say that Meyer still has to regain the team's trust & respect.

You might recall that Nick Saban flopped in Miami before reasserting himself at Alabama, and earning an endorsement deal from AFLAC in the process. Steve Spurrier was a dud in Washington. Meyer could still get a pink slip before Thanksgiving. Stay tuned.
The CW's Riverdale just ended its 5th season last month, but season 6 is right around the corner.

The series returns from a shorter-than-normal off-season November 16 on its new night, as it moves to Tuesdays, in back of The Flash. Head scribbler and co-executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is addressing fans by finally pulling the trigger on a crossover with the recently concluded Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which dropped its final episodes at the end of 2020. Kiernan Shipka will reprise as Sabrina, who finally ventures into Riverdale early in the season.

The curious part of the equation here is that Aguirre-Sacasa decided that Cheryl Blossom (Madeline Petsch) is dabbling in magic, and needs Sabrina's help. Never mind that Aguirre-Sacasa seemingly killed off the popular Sabrina at the end of her series (Boo! Hiss!!). For someone who claims to be a student of Archie Comics history, he has a peculiar way of honoring that history.
We've known for a while that DC and Marvel have gone out of their way to try to lure in LGBTQ+ readers, often opting to reboot existing, established characters (i.e. Iceman, Rawhide Kid) to fit the desired demographic profle instead of creating a fresh LGBTQ+ character fresh out of the box. Those are few and far between.

So the news today that Jonathan Kent, son of Superman, who was accelerated from youth to young adult under writer Brian Bendis, then given his own series just a couple of months back, is being remarketed as a bi-sexual, just like Tim Drake, one of the half-dozen Robin's on the roster, past, present, and future, a few weeks ago, is being met with a yawn from this desk.

Image courtesy DC Comics via

Now, DC started the year by teasing a future relationship between Jon and Yara Flor, the Wonder Woman of the future. Nine months later, someone's decided that Jon's working both sides of the street. How long this is fated to last, of course, is open to conjecture, based on sales.

There are going to be the haters, who don't like the idea of iconic characters being turned gay or bi. They don't exactly have to be homophobic to express their opinions, but they'll get slapped with the label just the same. DC, Marvel, and other publishers, have employed LGBTQ+ writers & artists for years, though you might not have known.

Thus, the strategy is two-fold. Yes, it's a publicity stunt for sales purposes. It's also a means of expanding Superman's general audience. It's worked for Harley Quinn, for example. Whether or not it works for Jon or Tim is another story altogether.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Musical Interlude: More Than This (1982)

 Roxy Music missed the top 40 here in the US in 1982 with "More Than This", off their final studio album, "Avalon".

15 years later, 10,000 Maniacs, with Mary Ramsey on vocals, peaked at #25 with their cover. What research doesn't tell us about the above video is the significance of the cross.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Advertising for Dummies: Look who's out of his element (2009)

 Once upon a time, before becoming president, Donald Trump would pimp himself out for anything, just so he'd get people talking.

This Oreo commercial, on the other hand, might be something he'd rather not remember.

In 2009, Nabisco asked Trump to do a commercial with Super Bowl winning QB's Peyton & Eli Manning. Darrell Hammond (Saturday Night Live) is Trump's, ah, clone, acting as a stand-in for Donald, Jr...........

As it says in the Bible, pride goes before the fall.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Weasel of The Week: Steve Bannon

 Podcaster and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was one of four men subpoenaed by the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Bannon has gone on record as saying he is refusing to answer, on the grounds that, via advice of one of Citizen Pampers' lawyers, he will be protected by Trump using executive privilege.

Uh, guess what, jackass? You got nothing.

It was reported earlier today that President Biden will not allow executive privilege to be used, meaning that Trump, Bannon, Kash Patel, "Easy" Mark Meadows, and Dan Scavino, are screwed. Scavino has gone into hiding. Good luck with that, moron. Bannon is going to find out real quick that he's not under executive privilege.

And the committee issued this:

Considering that Bannon routinely has had fellow dimwits Empty G and Prince Pillow regularly appearing on his podcast, it surprises no one that he would refuse the subpoena. Bannon, who looks like a refugee from a bad horror movie, gets the Weasel ears for his arrogance. He will get served, and if he still wants to be a punk about it, Congress will nail him for contempt. Thanks for coming, jackass!

On The Air: Ghosts (2021)

Ghosts is the latest in a long line of British series adapted for American television. The original series isn't that old, having launched in 2019, but it captured the fancy of CBS suits, which wanted their own version.

The plot is rather simple. A young couple moves into an old mansion with plans to convert it to a bed & breakfast, but there are a handful of the titular spirits inhabiting the house which have little interest, at first, anyway, of sharing the facilities.

Rose McIver (ex-iZombie) returns to primetime as Samantha, a distant relative of one of the ghosts. A Yahoo! reviewer is of the opinion that Ghosts, dare I say it, is not long for CBS, despite the fact the critic actually liked the show. Well, airing opposite football on Fox right off the bat isn't helping. The last supernatural themed series CBS launched, the crime drama Evil, was shunted off to Paramount+ for its 2nd season. I get the feeling Ghosts could share its fate as it replaces The Unicorn in CBS' comedy-rich Thursday lineup.

Check the trailer:

Of course, what also could kill this show is NBC's 1-2 punch of Law & Order series. Ghosts launched with a 1 hour premiere, but subsequent episodes will be a half hour each week.

Rating: B-.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Forgotten TV: The Cowsills: A Family Thing (1968)

 The Cowsills were one of the hottest acts on the pop charts in 1968, such that they contracted with NBC for a half-hour special, produced by Greg Garrison (The Dean Martin Show), and sponsored by Timex. Buddy Ebsen (The Beverly Hillbillies) serves as host, as the family members perform skits and songs, including "The Rain, The Park, & Other Things".

Ebsen, I think, was a family friend, which would explain his being tapped to host.

No rating. Just a public service.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Can a Pulitzer Prize be vacated? Guess who thinks so?

 In 2018, the Washington Post & the New York Times earned Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting on the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Three years later, a certain fellow is demanding that those prizes be rescinded, or, vacated, insisting they were wrong.

"WAAAHHHHH!! They're full of lies!! Take those prizes away! WAAAAHHH!!"

Donald Trump, the world's oldest child at 75, has a better chance of starring in a remake of Pinocchio than getting his wish granted. 

What set Citizen Pampers off was the fact that Michael Sussman, a lawyer who worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016, was indicted by Special Council John Durham on charges of lying to the FBI. Sussman's lawyers are saying Durham's investigation, of course, is politically motivated. While there is no way to prove such to be the case, Trump, not a fan of Washington Post owner Jeffrey Bezos, is just looking for an excuse for a headline. He has no case, and, as usual, not a shred of actual evidence to justify the prizes being vacated three years after they were awarded. It is the second time in 2 1/2 years that Trump has demanded that the Pulitzers be rescinded.

Will it happen? Highly unlikely. The Pulitzer Prize Board will not bow to the demands of a man-baby with self-esteem issues. The reporters stand by their story, and Trump is whining because it painted him in a negative light. What someone should've explained to Trump is that this comes with the territory of entering the political arena, as he did six years ago. Everyone takes the good with the bad. It's called human nature.

For someone who paints himself as a Christian, though exploration of his faith has been largely ignored by the mainstream press, Donald John Trump hardly behaves as if he is a true man of faith, and his act has worn very, very thin.

What Might've Been: Inside O. U. T. (1971)

 In 1971, spy spoofs were going the way of the Edsel, after Get Smart had ended a 5 year run a few months earlier.

NBC & Screen Gems had other ideas.

Inside O. U. T. was an attempt at giving Bill Daily, a year removed from I Dream of Jeannie, a shot at being a lead, fronting an ensemble cast that included Edward Andrews (ex-Broadside), Farrah Fawcett (five years before Charlie's Angels), and Val Bisoglio (who'd move on to Roll Out!, then Quincy).

The plot, such as it is: Ron Hart (Daily) is tasked to retrieve some accidentally created counterfeit money by the director of finance (Andrews). Alan Oppenheimer, years before reinventing himself as a voice actor, co-stars.

Oppenheimer became the 2nd man to play Dr. Rudy Wells in The Six Million Dollar Man, after Martin Balsam, and before Martin E. Brooks. I cannot be sure who the narrator is.

Rating: C.

Monday, October 4, 2021

And, so, the silly season begins.........

 The 2021 Major League Baseball playoff field is set, with the Wild Card round to be played Tuesday (AL) & Wednesday (NL), as the format reverts to where it was in 2019, pre-COVID.

American League Wild Card: Yankees @ Boston:

ESPN-Disney suits couldn't be happier with this match-up, as the ancient rivals will hook it up one final time in 2021. Boston had the upper hand earlier in the year, but momentum is on the side of the Bronx Bombers. Boston could be without outfielder-DH (and ex-Tri-City Valleycat) J. D. Martinez, due to an injury sustained over the weekend.

The downside is that the winner will have to play division rival Tampa Bay, the defending AL champion & top seed. While Toronto was the sexy pick this season, they faded down the stretch as the Yanks & Rays enjoyed a second half resurgence. Weather will also be a factor, because rain may well be in the forecast across New York for most of the week. At least it won't be snow.

Don't be surprised, then, if this game doesn't end until sometime after midnight (ET), because these two teams have the pacing of racing icebergs.

Pick: Yankees.

National League Wild Card: St. Louis @ Los Angeles.

The Dodgers' run of NL West titles was stopped by San Francisco, which hasn't won a World Series in 7 years. The defending World champs would get one more go with the Giants if they get past St. Louis, which is experiencing a resurgence of its own.

Headlines this morning noted injuries to two key Dodgers, particularly ace pitcher and Hankook Tire pitchman Clayton Kershaw, and infielder Max Muncy. Muncy has been playing first base most of the season, and his injury opens the door for ex-Cardinal & Angel Albert Pujols to try to knock his original club out of the playoffs, with a goal of winning one more title before retiring. Kershaw has had some injury issues this season, and then, you factor in the controversy surrounding Trevor Bauer, which ended his season prematurely, and likely terminated his Dodger career. 

This is exactly why Nolan Arenado landed in St. Louis as a free agent, after spending his career in Colorado prior to this season. With Arenado & Paul Goldschmidt bookending the infield, the Cardinals could end the Dodgers' latest dynasty. Uh, no.

Pick: Los Angeles.

American League Division Series (starts Thursday):

Chicago @ Houston: 

In 2005, the White Sox defeated the Astros to win the World Series. Of course, back then, the Astros were in the NL, but that all changed a few years later.

The key storyline for Chicago is whether or not the old master, Tony LaRussa, can take the ChiSox back to the promised land 16 years after that title run. Houston has more than recovered from the cheating scandal that tarnished their title run four years ago, but the albatross is in their dugout. Dusty Baker's teams haven't gotten out of the first round in seemingly forever (Cubs, Reds).

Pick: Chicago in 5.

Yankees @ Tampa Bay:

The other AL East war of attrition continues, and along with it, the bad blood spilling over from past hostilities between the two teams. Granted, we can say the same thing if it's Boston @ Tampa.

But, the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg area has been a hotbed of champions lately. The Rays nearly won their first World Series last year, but for the Dodgers. After that, the Bucs (Super Bowl) and Lightning (Stanley Cup) won titles, so now, it's on Kevin Cash to take the Rays back to the World Series for the 2nd straight year. Keep in mind, this is a team that let their best pitcher in 2020 walk (Blake Snell to San Diego), and one of their best hitters, Hunter Renfroe, went to Boston. Those key personnel changes were why the Rays were picked to miss the playoffs this year by this desk seven months ago.

Pick: Yankees in 5.

National League Division Series (starts Friday):

Atlanta @ Milwaukee:

You can call this the Hank Aaron Memorial Series, considering what the Hall of Famer did for both cities during his career (finished with the Brewers). 

The Brewers need Christian Yelich's bat to finally wake up. Hasn't fully recovered from an injury plagued 2020 season. The Braves now have a fan club chapter in the 518 with pitcher Ian Anderson (Shenendehowa) finding his groove just in time for the playoffs. A starting staff of Anderson, Charlie Morton, Hruscar Ynoa, and Drew "Guy" Smyly may be just enough for Atlanta.

Pick: Braves in 4.

Los Angeles @ San Francisco:

Another ancient rivalry, one whose roots are in NYC, could resume, and it'll go the distance. Dave Roberts has to hope he can have Muncy & Kershaw back for this series. Otherwise, we'll see a new champion crowned at the end of the month.

After being pedestrian in Baltimore and Atlanta, Kevin Gausman became the Giants' ace this season, coming out of nowhere. Gabe Kapler, in his 2nd season in San Francisco, is making Philadelphia look like chumps for dumping him two years ago. It'll be even worse if he goes all the way.

Pick: San Francisco in 5.

Of course, I could be wrong.

34 years ago today.....

 Growing up in the 518, snow usually started falling around November, and would continue until as late as April.

On October 4, 1987, Old Man Winter came calling a wee bit early.

No one was prepared for the storm that hit the Northeast, disrupting traffic, including public transportation. I ventured out of my apartment maybe once that day, thankful that, unlike rural areas, downtown still had power.

Back then, Fay's Drugs was the #3 pharmacy chain in the market, behind CVS and Rite Aid, the latter of which, through a series of mergers, would eventually absorb Fay's years later. Today, Rite Aid is itself a subsidiary of Walgreen's. The NFL was using replacement players because the Players Association went on strike, though it wouldn't last very long.

WTEN expanded its 6 pm (ET) news to a full hour to provide maximum coverage of the storm. Co-anchor Greg Floyd is now with WRGB. Doug Myers later left the station to work at Albany Airport in communications.

Of course, you know by now that Niagara Mohawk was rebooted as National Grid. A few years later, co-anchor Marci Elliott would do a series of radio & TV ads with WFLY morning co-host Leonard "Woody" Wood for a local sponsor, then leave the market.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Forgotten TV: Sam Benedict (1962)

After Cain's Hundred bombed, MGM sold NBC another crime drama, this one aspiring to paint a more positive picture of defense attorneys, considering that Perry Mason, over on CBS, was a loose adaptation of Erle Stanley Gardner's novels.

However, Sam Benedict, with Edmond O'Brien, met the same fate as Cain, cancelled after one season. Benedict, hewed closer to another CBS entry, The Defenders, however, given that Benedict (O'Brien) and his partner, Tobor (Richard Rust) were a team of lawyers.

Edit, 1/29/22: The video was deleted. In its place, we have a sampler clip:

WB released this series on DVD as a MOD (manufactured on demand) product, assuming this was not worthy of a mass market release. I have to disagree.

No rating. Just a public service.

On The Air: Loki (2021)

 Rare is the time when an established villain can be the star of his own series, either in print or on the air.

Currently, DC has The Joker in his 2nd ongoing series, and the first in 45 years. His ex, Harley Quinn, falls under the classification of anti-hero these days, sometimes an outright heroine, and DC has invested heavily in her the last several years.

Marvel's tried it, too. First, they took a relatively obscure villain, the Foolkiller, who'd fought Spider-Man & Man-Thing, and tried to market him in the 90's. It ultimately didn't work. Of course, the gold standard for villain-centric comics would be Marv Wolfman and the late Gene Colan's seminal Tomb of Dracula.

And, then, there's Loki.

The God of Mischief. Adopted brother of Thor. And, in 2021, starring in his own Disney+ series, with Tom Hiddleston reprising his role from the Avengers & Thor movies. Hiddleston is also given an executive producer's credit, because that's a thing with franchise stars these days. 

The plot: Loki is arrested by the TVA (Time Variant Agency), then given the task of helping the TVA retrieve a number of time variants of himself. That is SO an idea that Rod Serling, the acclaimed writer and creator of The Twilight Zone, could've imagined decades ago.

Owen Wilson, not content with letting brother Luke (Stargirl) have all the genre fun in the family, co-stars as Mobius, who becomes Loki's supervisor, for lack of better description.

In all, Loki, the series, is a free-wheeling joyride into cosmic crazy. Check the trailer:

Hiddleston, whose only other series gig was The Night Manager here in the US, is a joy to watch. Given the fact that Loki has had a heroic turn or two since the turn of the century, in the books, that is, Marvel has to be careful not to ruin what makes him what he is.

Rating: A.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

A meeting of old friends (American Housewife, 2019)

American Housewife (2016-21) was Diedrich Bader's return to ABC and primetime. During season 3, Bader was reunited with some old friends from The Drew Carey Show. Drew, now the host of The Price is Right, Kathy Kinney, and Ryan Stiles (Whose Line is it Anyway?) guest starred in a season 3 episode. The interaction between Carey & Kinney shows the chemistry is still there between the long time pals.

Now, maybe they can get the old gang together for an animated cartoon?

Friday, October 1, 2021

When you're too lazy (or cheap) to go through protocols to use your favorite songs in an attack ad......!

 During the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump was repeatedly blasted by different artists for using their music without their permission.

Eddy Grant is on that list, and sued Trump for using his 1983 #2 hit, "Electric Avenue", in an attack ad against Joe Biden. Of course, America's Oldest Baby tried to dodge the suit, tried to get it dismissed. On Wednesday, a judge said, nope.

"Electric" was the first single off Grant's 1982 album, "Killer on The Rampage". This will refresh your memories.

What this tells us is that Trump or any politician can't just pick a song willy-nilly for background music for a campaign ad. The judge ruled that Team Trump couldn't prove fair use of "Electric", so this adds to the bills on Trump's ledger. 

In other words, there are protocols and rules to be followed. Consumed by an obsession to embarrass Biden, all the while realizing behind the scenes that it would be boomeranged back at him because of the 3 year difference in age between them, Trump simply didn't check all the boxes. You can imagine the reaction:

With all the litigation, I don't see Citizen Pampers running in 2024, unless he can move the White House to a country club prison. However, he'd be the only convict in a giant-sized onesie with a baby bottle in hand.