Monday, January 31, 2022

When real life inspires art (WKRP in Cincinnati, 1980)

 Yesterday, I had mistakenly thought Howard Hesseman, aka Don Sturdy, had appeared in the Dragnet episode we featured, but correspondent Mike Doran set the record straight.

So, with news of Hesseman's passing at 81 still fresh in the headlines, we will pull up a ripped-from-the-headlines (sort of) episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. In the context of the series, the fictional station is doing a ticket giveaway for what was a real-life concert by British legends The Who. Most of you might remember that the concert, on December 3, 1979, was marred by a tragedy similar to one that happened late last year in Houston, when fans rushed the stage in a mad scramble, leaving several people crushed to death.

This episode looks at the days leading up to the concert, and the aftermath of the tragedy.

No rating.

Maybe they should call it the Subway Bowl

 Subway used to have a hip slogan, "Eat fresh". This year's Super Bowl is as fresh a matchup as it gets.

The Kansas City Chiefs were denied a 3rd consecutive trip to the big dance, as this year's Cinderella, the Cincinnati Bengals, continued a string of upsets. The AFC North champions needed to go to overtime before defeating the AFC West champs on a field goal by Evan McPherson after a Patrick Mahomes interception.

The game was marred by the fact that the officials, despite letting the teams play out without throwing penalty flags in the 1st half, missed a bunch of obvious calls against both teams in the 2nd half, the most blatant of which came in overtime, when the Bengals overloaded the offensive line, and were not called for illegal formation, a play that, for now, cannot be reviewed.

For fans of the Buffalo Bills, whose offense never saw the field in overtime a week earlier, it was karma. Both teams had at least one possession this time, and it came down to who really had the hottest hand.

The Bengals hadn't been to the big dance since 1989, the 2nd of their 2 appearances, both against San Francisco and Joe Montana. This time, "Joe Cool" wears orange, black, & white, in the form of 2nd year QB Joe Burrow. Hmmmmm.

So the Bengals, like everyone else, waited to see if there would be a shot at total redemption, should this generation's 49ers continue their dominance over the Los Angeles Rams.

Simple answer: Nope.

The Rams traded Jared Goff to Detroit to get Matthew Stafford, and the trade revitalized Stafford's career, while Goff fell to the losing culture in Motown. Los Angeles made a couple more moves in-season, getting Von Miller from Denver and Odell Beckham, Jr. from Cleveland in separate deals. Both played key roles as the Rams snapped a six game losing streak---3 consecutive regular season series---against the Niners.

Photo courtesy Yahoo!.

Perhaps it is only fitting that Stafford, a month after his alma mater, Georgia, won the NCAA title in the College Football Playoff, ends the season taking the Rams to a title. However, Burrow, who won the national championship with LSU in 2020, will have something to say about that, especially now that he has been reunited with receiver JaMarr Chase, who was part of that 2019-20 LSU team.

The game, to be sure, will be more entertaining than the commercials, and it seems we're going to get an overdose of a certain retired QB who will be shilling beer and snacks, and probably, too, a certain online betting site........

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Even cops go to school sometimes (Dragnet, 1970)

 I have this one up over at Saturday Morning Archives, and have for a while. You'll know why in a sec.

From season 4 of Dragnet (2nd series):

Joe Friday (Jack Webb) is taking a night school course, but even being a cop doesn't protect him from rules & regulations, especially when it comes to a druggie also in class. Shannon Farnon, better known for her voice work later in the 70's (i.e. Super Friends) is a classmate and prospective love interest for Friday.

Rating: A.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Weasel of The Week: Kanye West

 We've heard all the rumors that rapper and fashion mogul Kanye West, aka Ye, may in fact be bi-polar. That does not excuse this self serving, and obviously jealous, Weasel's behavior of late.

You may have heard that after he was divorced from Kim Kardashian, West, who shares custody of their children, has had an axe to grind with Kim's new beau, actor-comedian Pete Davidson (Saturday Night Live, "The Suicide Squad"). He went so far as to cut a diss on Davidson on his new album, but it's now gone further down the rabbit hole.

Reports are that West, according to mutual acquaintances of both him & Davidson, has been spreading rumors that Davidson has AIDS. It's not enough that West has a new steady of his own. He wants to make life miserable for his ex and her new man, just because he thinks he can get away with it.

Let me digress here. Back in the 80's, ye scribe had gotten out of a relationship that went south after 9 1/2 months. My ex had moved on, and there was a chance meeting between us and her then-beau on a bus ride one day. She made introductions, but the dude wasn't interested, so I walked away. She ditched the fella after less than a year, then dated a mutual friend of ours for a few years before dumping him, and reconnecting with me. We split again nearly five years later. Life and human nature are like that.

The way I've read this story, it portrays West as a control freak who thinks he can dictate his ex's personal life.

But, that ain't all.

The latest word is that West, who may or may not be vaccinated against COVID, could be barred from entering Australia on his concert tour, which is set to go Down Under in March. Maybe he should talk to Novak Dojokovic about that.

As you can already tell, West is this week's Weasel, largely because he can't handle a breakup very well.

Is there a Super Bowl rematch looming? Conference championship preview

 At the end of business on Sunday night, we'll know who will play in the Super Bowl on February 13. What isn't sure is who will be in the big game, because there are variables in play.

AFC title game: Cincinnati @ Kansas City (CBS, 3 pm ET): It has been 33 years since the Bengals were last in the Super Bowl. They're 0-2 lifetime in the big game, losing both times to San Francisco. Joe Burrow and the Bengals defeated Kansas City at home four weeks ago, but this time, the Chiefs have the home field

One of the storylines heading into the game would be if there was a chance of a 3rd meeting in the Super Bowl between Cincinnati and San Francisco. It's also another case of oddsmakers not thinking this through, assigning the Chiefs as a 7 point favorite, despite the earlier loss. Cincinnati won the earlier meeting on January 2 with a late Evan McPherson field goal, so a 7 point spread is asking for trouble.

Burrow, a 2nd year QB out of LSU, who'd transferred to Bayou Country from Ohio State, is rolling right now. He has a former college teammate in JaMarr Chase to throw to, but you can count on the Chiefs blanketing Chase all day. For Kansas City, it is their 4th straight AFC title game with Patrick Mahomes at QB., and their bag of tricks should be familiar to the Cincinnati defense. If the weather is as bad in KC as it is here, this will be a low scoring game, favoring the defenses.

The pick: Kansas City makes it 3 years in a row in the Super Bowl.

NFC title game: San Francisco @ Los Angeles (Fox, 6:30 pm): The 49ers have won the last three season series between these two NFC West rivals, and the last time the teams met for a Super Bowl berth, the quarterbacks were Joe Montana and Jim Everett. This time, it's Jimmy Garoppolo and Matthew Stafford.

For the Rams, the mission is two-fold. End the losing streak vs. the Niners, and become the 2nd team in as many years to be the true home team in the big game, after Tampa Bay last year. The Bucs exposed the flaws in LA's running game. Cam Akers is vulnerable to fumbling. So is receiver Cooper Kupp, who redeemed himself on the game's final drive vs. Tampa. Stafford, in his first season in LA after beginning his career in Detroit, could be looking at his first Super Bowl, laughing all the way to the bank.

Defensively, Von Miller only has to flash the ring he won with Denver to add more motivation for Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams' D. This will be a fun game, but history is not on the Rams' side.

The pick: San Francisco continues its dominance of the Rams.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Friday, January 28, 2022

A little of this and a little of that

 With the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, President Biden intends to nominate an African-American female judge to fill the vacancy. Unsurprisingly, right wing media is having a collective cow. What they won't admit is that Biden is, you know, fulfilling a campaign promise. How many of those did Donald Trump actually fulfill in his four years?

At least Biden gets it. Fox Shmooze, Newsnax, and the rest are just looking for something to complain about. And this was after Fox Shmooze's Jesse "Dirty" Watters and guest Candace Owens whined about Disney's decision to repackage Minnie Mouse for the 30th anniversary of Disneyland Paris by changing her outfit. Owens got slammed for her hypocrisy on social media, since she usually wears a pantsuit not unlike the type Minnie is getting pro tempore.

What bothers Candace more, I think, is that Minnie's outfit was designed by Stella McCartney, daughter of music icon Paul McCartney. To that, we say, jealous much?
A Tennessee school board decided that Art Spiegelman's award winning graphic novel, Maus, would be banned from public schools because it is, to them, "not appropriate".

Maus was first released more than 40 years ago, and is Spiegelman's way of telling the story of the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of mice (Jews) and cats (German Nazis). My brother actually owned some issues of Raw, the magazine that was home to the series back then. Spiegelman won a Pulitzer, an Eisner, and a Harvey Award for his work.

What brought this to my attention was the fact that a comics shop owner in California sent 100 copies to people in Tennessee that wanted to read the story. Bravo!!

What is wrong with school boards in the South these days? They think a college course, critical race theory, is taught in high schools (it isn't). While they respect Spiegelman's message, they don't think the imagery of cats vs. mice fits in with the curriculum. What's next? Banning Mighty Mouse?
Speaking of people getting slammed on social media, Stupid-E (Eric Trump) was roasted for going on Fox Shmooze and trying to claim that his father worked harder in the White House than any president before or since, clearly taking aim at President Biden. Stupid-E was promptly fact-checked and reminded how much time daddy spent on the golf course while in office, and that he spent more time in the White House watching Fox Shmooze than, you know, doing his job.

As Queen Victoria famously declared years ago in England, we are not amused.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Celebrity Rock: Steam Heat (1976)

 Before joining the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Georgia Engel was an understudy on Broadway to no less than Ethel Merman. In this clip from season 7, Georgette (Engel) performs at the Teddy Awards, much to the surprise of her beau, Ted Baxter (Ted Knight).

Here's "Steam Heat":

Should be hot enough on a cold winter's night.

What has COVID misinformation wrought? A California clown hassling middle schoolers

 It's been said this has been going on for at least a month, and it needs to end yesterday.

"This" being some anti-mask jabroni hassling middle schoolers on their way home from school in the Los Angeles suburb of La Crescenta. He wears his ignorance on his chest like a badge of honor, wearing a shirt that reads, "Your mask makes you stupid".

First, let's listen to Farron Cousins' take on this, and then we'll be back.

Ok, so the officer on the scene gave the kids a lecture on free speech, basically giving this anti-mask troll a free pass. Bad move, because you have parents calling for this guy to be put in jail for harassment. There's been reports that Farron didn't talk about, where the troll has reportedly coughed or spat on children in a sick attempt to prove his "point".

It was a year ago that Fox Shmooze's Tabloid Carlson had called for people to go after masked children, claiming that protecting themselves from COVID was tantamount to child abuse, which it clearly is not. It figures that someone with the brain of a dead roach would try something like this.

Just wait. The troll will eventually end up in the headlines after he contracts COVID.........

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Citizen Pampers now whines about how they're going after "children". His two oldest are in their 40's!

 You know the heat's really getting to Citizen Pampers when he tries to put a liar's spin on the investigations involving his three oldest children, Dumb Donald II (44), Ivanka, aka Trust Fund Barbie (40), and Stupid-E (38).

"WAAAAHHHHH! They're going after children!! WAAAAAHHHH!"

What he's trying to sell his marks is that the law will go after your kids if you stray too far over the line. Not entirely true. If DD2, Stupid-E, and TF Barbie are complicit in any and all criminal activity, they'll trade their designer outfits for prison jumpers, whether they like it or not. No amount of whining from the boys, Donald, Sr. included, will prevent that. Seems Ivanka has done her best to maintain a low profile, but the January 6 committee wants to talk to her. Stupid-E gave a deposition, but invoked his 5th Amendment rights a whopping 500 times. Why? Care to take a guess?

The more the Brothers Dumb go on social media and Fox Shmooze and lie their brains out, the worse it's going to get.

All this because the oldest baby in America got drunk on power.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

What kind of cheese would you like with your whine, Congressman?

 The glacial pace of investigations into GOPer wrongdoing makes the current on-again, off-again deep freeze here feel tropical by comparison.

One of the side stories that came out last year was that Florida Misrepresentative Matt Gaetz was being investigated for human trafficking, particularly underage women. His personal wingman and one of Gaetz's ex-girlfriends have already decided to cooperate with the investigators.

On Monday, Gaetz went on Steve Bannon's podcast, War Room, while the logo of his own, Firebrand, is prominently featured in the background behind Gaetz. Trust me. Neither show will last much longer once both are in prison. Gaetz is trying to distract attention from his legal troubles, and, predictably, because he's another trust fund baby with the mental acumen of a stick, he fails! Farron Cousins explains:

Today's GOP likes to play the victim card more than they should because they're afraid of reality. The future of Matt Gaetz involves a prison jumpsuit and warnings about bending over for soap in the shower. Trust me.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Sports this 'n' that

 Once upon a time, John Stockton was a respected point guard for the NBA's Utah Jazz.

Over the weekend, the perception of a post-career Stockton, now a season ticket holder at Gonzaga University, changed, and not in a good way.

Stockton, you see, has become an anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, claiming without evidence that "over 100 pro athletes" have died from COVID vaccines, some during games, he claims. Administration at Gonzaga wasn't having it, and suspended Stockton's season tickets, largely because of his refusal to wear a mask at games. There's something in the waters that changes people's perceptions, leading to embarrassing scenarios such as this. Not good.
There was a high school basketball game in Arizona the other night where the final score was 76-0, and the winning team didn't attempt a field goal in the 4th quarter. The coach pulled his starters after the 1st quarter after taking a 35-0 lead. We've seen a lot of lopsided scores this season here in the 518, as documented over at Tri-City SportsBeat, but all it does is expose the disparities in talent in each of the leagues in Section II, as well as across the country.
Form didn't hold in the NFL Divisional Playoffs over the weekend, not until the last game of the weekend.

Both #1 seeds, Tennessee in the AFC and Green Bay in the NFC, were eliminated Saturday night, both on walk-off field goals with 3-4 seconds left on the clock. Cincinnati continued its Cinderella run as Evan McPherson, a rookie kicker, booted the Titans out of the tournament.

In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers saw their season end on the frozen tundra for the 2nd straight season, but this time in the divisional round. San Francisco's Robbie Gould, an old Packer nemesis from his days in Chicago, hit the game winner to lift the 49ers into the NFC title game next Sunday night. Already, there is speculation that this might've been Rodgers' last game in Green Bay. At least he still gets to be a clown shilling for State Farm.

San Francisco collected a slice of revenge after losing to the Packers back in September.

On Sunday, the defending champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the #2 seed in the NFC, sought to avenge an early season loss to Los Angeles. In the 2nd half, the defense kept creating opportunities for Tom Brady to rescue the Bucs, but he left too much time for the Rams and Matthew Stafford, who hit Cooper Kupp with a deep pass that put the Rams in position for Matt Gay, an ex-Bucs kicker, to deny Brady another opportunity at the Super Bowl. Unlike Dallas' Dak Prescott a week earlier, Stafford had time to clock the ball before the game winning kick.

That means the Rams, the #3 seed, will host San Francisco as the teams will meet for the 3rd time this season. The 49ers swept the regular season series, having done so in three consecutive seasons.

The game everyone wanted to see was the highlight of the week, as Kansas City hosted Buffalo, seeking to avenge an October loss to the Bills. After a first half dominated by defense, the two teams lit up the scoreboard in the second half, specifically in the 4th quarter. Like, this was insane. 

Adding to the insanity was an inebriated Kansas City fan who ran onto the field during a CBS commercial break, only to get drilled by Buffalo's Stefan Diggs before security could shut him down.

CBS came out of the break to see the guard plant the goof, screened out of the viewers' vision by players from both teams. Ironically, the geek was wearing a replica Travis Kelce jersey, and Kelce caught the game winning touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes in overtime to send the Chiefs to the AFC title game for the 4th straight season, 42-36.

That, of course, has fans complaining on social media that Buffalo never got to go on offense in overtime, and that particular clause in the overtime rules, both regular season and postseason, needs to change, but the league won't. 

Kansas City will host Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Mounting a talent show 101 (Room 222, 1969)

 When I was a senior in high school, I had an opportunity to be a part of the annual senior class talent show, but I didn't take that chance. Couldn't sing. Couldn't do a dance routine if my life depended on it (two trick knees). I could do stand up comedy, but didn't have any material prepared, nor did I think of anything prior to the show.

More than a decade earlier, Room 222 took viewers behind the scenes, if you will, as the students of Walt Whitman High prepped for a talent show, under the direction of student-teacher Alice Johnson (Karen Valentine). One of the highlights of the show is shy, reluctant Helen (Judy Strangis) doing an a capella cover of the Rolling Stones' "As Tears Roll By". The Los Angeles High choir appears as the vocal chorale, the Magnitudes.

Some of the students wanted to, given that "Hair" had been adapted into a feature film that year, do a bit where they would strip naked on stage, hence the title, "Naked Came We Into The World".

One YouTube commentator couldn't remember Judy's name, referencing her by her later role as DynaGirl (Electra Woman & DynaGirl, 1976), but was impressed with her singing.

Rating: A.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Musical Interlude: The Ballad of Jed Clampett (1962)

 As The Beverly Hillbillies took off on CBS, bluegrass legends Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs recorded the show's theme song, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", composed by producer Paul Henning, the show's creator. 

Flatt & Scruggs turned up on The Jimmy Dean Show to perform the track. For the record, another artist, Jerry Scoggins, sang "Ballad" to open & close Hillbillies throughout its 9 year run (1962-71). Plain speaking Flatt does the honors here.

Many public domain prints of seasons 1-2 do not include "Ballad" for copyright reasons.

Friday, January 21, 2022

NFL Divisional preview

 So now we're down to the final eight. It is Divisional round weekend. Three rematches on the schedule. 


Cincinnati @ Tennessee (CBS, 4:30 pm ET): It took the Bengals nearly 30 years between playoff wins, but do they have another one in them to get to the AFC title game? Baby steps, yo'.

Tennessee is rested. All coach Mike Vrabel has to do is flash his Super Bowl rings, and that is motivation enough. The Titans' defense can and probably will shut down rookie receiver JaMarr Chase, who, like QB Joe Burrow, was drafted out of LSU. It's very possible Chase could be the offensive rookie of the year, but his season ends in Rocky Top country.

The pick: Tennessee.

San Francisco @ Green Bay (Fox, 8:15 pm): These two teams met in week 3, with the Packers leaving with a win on a late Mason Crosby field goal. This has the biggest spread on the board, with the 49ers a 5 1/2 point road underdog. Apparently, the oddsmakers don't see this being close again. I do. The league wants a State Farm Super Bowl, and this will help set the table.

The pick: Green Bay by 3. Again.


Los Angeles @ Tampa Bay (NBC/Peacock, 3 pm): Tom Brady is yearning for revenge after the Rams beat the Buccaneers earlier this season. Aaron Donald and friends are going to be spending a large chunk of the day in the Tampa backfield. Tampa gets premier running back Leonard Fournette back, but defensive lineman Jason Pierre Paul is still not at 100%. This one is closer than you think.

But, the league's advertising partners on Madison Avenue want Brady in the title game again and again until New England can win another AFC title, unless Brady retires first. Keep that in mind.

The pick: Tampa Bay. In overtime.

Buffalo @ Kansas City (CBS, 6:30 pm): As we outlined last week, these two teams met in October, with Buffalo winning. Back then, the Chiefs were struggling. Not anymore. Air traffic control will be on full alert in KC, but it's going to be a track meet, too. Patrick Mahomes will be pushed to his limits and beyond. This will be a fun game.

If Buffalo wins, they will be seeking revenge themselves against Tennessee. Then again, the Titans also beat KC earlier this season.

The pick: Kansas City.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Musical Interlude: Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through (1994)

 Meat Loaf revived Jim Steinman's 1981 one-off, "Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through", for his 1993 CD, "Bat out of Hell II". While Steinman was actually lip-synching someone else's vocals, there's no mistaking Mr. Loaf. A young Angelina Jolie co-stars in the video, directed by Michael Bay.

In memory of Marvin Lee Aday, aka Michael Lee Aday, aka Meat Loaf, 74, who passed away on Thursday. We'll discuss this further later this weekend.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

New York's biggest liability may be in line for a perp walk

 I'm referring, of course, to Citizen Pampers himself, Donald Trump, after the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 ruling, declared, once and for all that America's Oldest Baby cannot hide anything from the January 6 select committee investigating last year's insurrection.

The only justice with a dissenting opinion, Clarence Thomas, opted not to offer any rationale.

The committee is already receiving documents from the National Archives, and Trump has run out of appeals.

File photo courtesy Reuters via Yahoo!.

It won't surprise anyone that the most petulant child on earth, even if he is 75, will throw another tantrum, claiming his own appointees, including Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Comey Barrett, somehow "betrayed" him. No, they didn't, dumbass. They're doing their jobs. They're beholden to the American people, not one self-serving con man.

The committee is also asking for Trump's daughter, Ivanka, to meet with them. That should be fun.

Couple this with the ongoing investigation by NY Attorney General Letitia James, which the Trump family has tried to stop, it won't be too long before they're lined up for the perp walk, which in this case would be the ultimate walk of shame.

We are constantly reminded that no one is above the law. Trump was raised to think he is, but he's finding out very quickly that he is not. He's no different than anyone else. Assuming James or the Federal Government nails Trump, that would put to rest once and for all any rumor of Trump making another run at the White House. You know, of course, what the reaction will be at Mar-a-Lago:

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

YouTube Theatre: The Immortal (1969)

 The Immortal, as we've previously discussed a ways back, was spun out of an ABC Movie of The Week, which, in turn, was adapted from a novel by James Gunn (not the filmmaker).

Race car driver Ben Richards (Christopher George, a year removed from The Rat Patrol) has Type-O Negative blood, which, after a transfusion given to eccentric millionaire Jordan Braddock (Barry Sullivan, ex-The Tall Man), prompts Braddock to insist on keeping Richards imprisoned so he can live forever at Richards' expense.

Our cast also includes Carol Lynley, Jessica Walter, Ralph Bellamy, and Garry Walberg.

When the series began a year later, Bellamy had moved on to The Most Deadly Game. Paramount moved Walberg over to The Odd Couple in a recurring role, and narrator Paul Frees (ex-The Millionaire) also took over voicing Braddock, despite the fact that Sullivan returned for one episode. As we've noted, the series lasted 15 episodes before being cancelled.

Rating: B.

Identity theft, WWE style

 They say that if it isn't broken, you don't fix it.

However, if you're WWE CEO-Chairman-head wackjob Vince McMahon, 76, you fix things because you think it's in your best interest to do so, regardless of how your fan base feels about it. Since McMahon tends to ignore his fan base, contrary to what he sometimes will claim on television, the product has stagnated over the course of the last several years.

In September, Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, McMahon's son-in-law, was sidelined after a cardiac event. In the four months since, McMahon has stripped away much of NXT's identity that was built under Levesque. He has since installed creative director Bruce Prichard to oversee all three of WWE's primetime shows, adding NXT to Prichard's workload just a week ago. In McMahon's warped mind, it isn't enough that what is left of NXT's creative inner circle under Levesque now is developing new talent. He's repackaging talents that don't need it.

Take, for example, former NXT UK champion WALTER (Walter Hahn).

Having recently relocated to the US after losing the NXT UK title, WALTER defeated Roderick Strong Tuesday night, but shocked the audience when he identified himself as "Gunther".

Five days earlier, WWE had filed a trademark for "Gunther Stark", which is also the name of a German U-boat commander in World War II who died in 1944. The Austrian born Hahn, then, now will answer to Gunther, but fans are not happy, to the point where, on two sites, people are declaring they'll ignore the name change. 

It's not the first time Chairman Wackjob tried something like this.

In 2004, Japan's Kenzo Suzuki was being brought up to the main roster from developmental, but originally, he was to be given the name of former Japanese emperor Hirohito. There was even a video package to announce the pending debut. Instead, Suzuki and his wife convinced McMahon it wouldn't work, and so Suzuki, under his own name, debuted later that year, only to be let go a couple of years later.

McMahon, Prichard, and another out of touch sycophant, John Laurinaitis, are bent on remolding NXT into something akin to either Smackdown or Monday Night Raw, and they don't care what the audience thinks.

Another development on Tuesday involved Japan's Sarray.

The "Warrior of The Sun" was a prize signing by Levesque last year, and debuted with a lot of fanfare. Unfortunately, after a loss to Scotland's Kay Lee Ray, Sarray went on hiatus, and a video package on Tuesday presented another unwanted reboot. Now, Sarray is being presented as a schoolgirl character with glasses & pigtails, summoning an influence of popular Japanese anime such as Sailor Moon. What this really says is that McMahon and his aides don't think Sarray is a credible enough challenger to current NXT women's champion Mandy Rose, a product of their on-again-off-again Tough Enough program, who herself was repackaged as a cross between actress-singer Lindsay Lohan ("Mean Girls" would describe Rose and her team, Toxic Attraction) and Smackdown women's champion Charlotte Flair, the latter because Rose had, in effect, cut the line ahead of Ray and Sarray to beat Raquel Gonzalez for the NXT women's title in October. McMahon is in no hurry to have his writers explain why Rose jumped the line. Apparently, the returns of Prichard & Laurinaitis also means the return of hiring more women for looks, not athletic ability. Laurinaitis, in particular, is known to have picked some female models out of catalogues.

To that end, it would not be too much of a stretch to consider Laurinaitis and Prichard, or McMahon and director Kevin Dunn, as being the real-life counterparts of these two clowns:

Heaven help North American champion Carmelo Hayes and his wingman, Trick Williams, if they get called up. They could be repackaged as Cryme Tyme 2.0, because of the lack of originality in the creative office.

Keep in mind, all of this is because NXT, under Levesque, couldn't beat AEW's Dynamite in head-to-head ratings from 2019 to April 2021. Then again, AEW benefited from an aggressive marketing campaign, aided by TNT, but you can't explain that to the deranged McMahon. And you wonder where a certain bloviating friend of his got some of his ideas.

I think Levesque may be getting his trusty sledgehammer ready to strike back. Just watch.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Of Dunces & Weasels

 A collection of Dunce Caps & weasel ears to hand out in the wake of "Super Wild Card Weekend".

Weasel #1: Walt Anderson. The former ref, now director of officiating after Alberto Riveron retired, decided to cover for his fellow zebras after the now infamous botched whistle on Saturday during Raiders-Bengals. They knew they made a mistake, but let the game continue. Game ref Jerome Bogner, a respected official in his own right, now will be sidelined for the rest of the season. Problem is, he's getting thrown under the bus so the league can cover its corporate tuchis.

Weasel #2: Tom Brady. For the 2nd straight week, Brady refused to come out of the game with Tampa Bay well in front. We get he's a competitor, but he also has a giant-sized ego. Bucs coach Bruce Arians, who struck another Bucs player in the helmet for a bonehead play, wanted to pull Brady to protect him from possible injury. Last week, Brady stayed in the game so that his pea-brained buddy, Rob Gronkowski, could earn an incentive bonus on his contract. This time, in Sunday's game against Philadelphia, Brady fed his ego, even with Tampa up by 2 scores late in the 4th quarter.

For what it's worth, Brady's selfishness will come back to bite him if the Rams' Aaron Donald gets to him.

Dunce Cap #1: Bill Belichick. You can argue that New England getting blown out by Buffalo on Saturday was a teachable moment for rookie QB Mac Jones. However, Belichick left Jones in the game in the 4th quarter, with the game already decided, instead of pulling him for Brian Hoyer. In all honesty, you don't want your new franchise QB to end the season traumatized, but that's what Belichick, who knows better, did.

Dunce Cap #2/Weasel #3: Dak Prescott. The Dallas QB/Sleep Number salesman pulled the mother of all bonehead plays at the end of Sunday's loss to San Francisco. You know what happened by now. Prescott scrambled for 17 yards with under a minute left. Out of timeouts, Prescott tried to rush his team to the line of scrimmage for the next play, but time expired.

Worse, in his post-game presser, Prescott really got unhinged, saying the fans were justified in throwing debris at the game officials.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo!.

Justified? What are you, a Republican all of a sudden, Dak?

The inebriated idiots in Arlington were frustrated, that's understandable, but it is out of character for the Cowboy organization to have an incident like that. At the same time, Prescott's stupidity took some shine off offensive coordinator Kellen Moore's chances of landing a head coach's job for next season.

Weasel #4: Stephen A. Smith. This should not shock anyone who is familiar with Smith's schtick on First Take. With ex-Cowboy Michael Irvin across the table on Monday, Smith had a few laughs at the expense of the Cowboys over this latest debacle. Like, I wouldn't have blamed Irvin, who still has his NFL Network gig, oh, by the way, if he reached over and smacked Screamin' A. Cosell upside the head for being the national jerk that he is. It would've cost Irvin his seat, sure, but Smith knows nothing about respect.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Old Time Radio: Jeff Regan, Investigator, aka The Lyon's Eye (1948)

 "You've got morals like a cash register!"---Jeff Regan (Jack Webb) to Anthony Lyon (Wilms Herbert).

Jack Webb had the tart-tongued, hard-boiled private eye down to a T by the time he was cast as Jeff Regan, Investigator in 1948 for CBS. As with Pat Novak For Hire and an earlier series we'll eventually look into, Johnny Madero, Webb demonstrated more emotion in his role than as the monotoned Joe Friday of Dragnet.

However, CBS decided they were moving Webb back to Novak, so radio vet Frank Graham took over the lead in Jeff Regan, with Frank Nelson (The Jack Benny Program) replacing Herbert. Graham's suicide in 1950 led to the series' abrupt cancellation. Regan & Lyon were not friends, as it's clearly implied in the above quote, which comes from the episode, "The Guy From Gower Gulch".

Early solicitations for the CD release of Jeff Regan at Radio Spirits used the nickname given to Regan, "The Lyon's Eye", as apparently, for most of the run, he was Lyon's only operative. Future Dragnet co-star Barton Yarborough was to be the lead as Joe Canto, but the network made a change of plans.

Here's "The Guy From Gower Gulch":

We'll look at the Frank Graham era of Jeff Regan, Investigator another time.

Rating: A.

Sports this 'n' that

 Even before the Los Angeles Rams & Arizona Cardinals take the field tonight in the final Wild Card game of this playoff cycle, the pairings for the quarterfinal (divisional) round are now set.

Saturday's doubleheader will start with the AFC North & South champions colliding in Nashville, as top-seeded Tennessee hosts Cincinnati (4:30 pm EST, CBS). Titans coach Mike Vrabel, having seen his mentor, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots get blown out of the tournament, knows his Titans are the only ones who can keep "The Patriot Way" in vogue in these playoffs. 2nd year QB Joe Burrow returned in time to lift the Bengals past Las Vegas, and now faces another veteran QB in the Titans' Ryan Tannehill. Should be fun.

The nightcap is a rematch from September, with Green Bay hosting San Francisco. The Packers defeated the 49ers in Week 3 in Santa Clara. This time, though, with the Packers holding the top seed in the NFC, the game will be at Lambeau Field. Do the Niners have another upset in them? We'll soon see, because revenge might not be enough of a motivating factor, although you can count on a number of fair-weather fans betting against Green Bay and State Farm shill Aaron Rodgers, whose stance on COVID vaccines have turned him into a pariah. Kickoff is set for 8:15 pm on Fox.

Defending champion Tampa Bay will play the winner of tonight's game on Sunday (3 pm, NBC), and you'd think Tom Brady and friends would welcome a rematch with the Rams, who beat Tampa Bay, also in Week 3. Arizona could spoil things if they can find their mojo and upset the applecart.

Finally, a rematch of last year's AFC title game gets the Sunday headline spot (6:30 pm, CBS), as Buffalo, fresh off blowing out New England, will look to make it two in a row over Kansas City, which similarly dismissed Pittsburgh last night. These two teams met in October, with Buffalo catching the Chiefs at a bad time. This time, based on what we've seen, this could wind up a track meet, with the final score adding up to somewhere around 90+ points.

Predictions on Friday.
No one player should be above his sport.

Novak Djokovic found this out the hard way when he was finally deported from Australia over the weekend before the start of the Australian Open tennis tournament. Why? He's unvaccinated. Period.
Wrestlers from both WWE & AEW had some interest in two of Sunday's games.

WWE sent Sheamus (Stephen Fennelly) and Bayley (Pamela Martinez), the latter recovering from a torn ACL, to Arlington, site of this year's Wrestlemania, for the Dallas-San Francisco game. Sheamus is known to football fans as Notre Dame's biggest celebrity booster. Bayley, who grew up in Northern California, was clearly rooting for San Francisco, I'd think, and was a happy camper going home. Fans are hoping she'd be recovered enough to compete in the Royal Rumble on January 29, but I don't think she'll be cleared in time.

AEW women's champion Dr. Britt Baker, DMD, who grew up in Pittsburgh, being the latest wrestling champion to come out of the steel city, after Bruno Sammartino, Larry Zbyszko, & Kurt Angle, was rocking a Steelers replica jersey in a publicity photo, opposite Kansas City fan Matt Lee of the 2.0 tag team. She better hope her beau, Adam Cole, doesn't have any Tampa Bay gear.......!
Speaking of WWE, Mustafa Ali (Adeel Alam) has requested his release from the company.

The 35 year old wrestler, a former police officer in his hometown of Chicago, has been horribly misused by WWE uncreative, largely because Chairman-CEO & head nutcase Vince McMahon, taking advice from brown-nosing sycophants Bruce Prichard & John Laurinaitis, wanted Ali to be a generic foreign heel, and Ali pushed back. McMahon and his new stooges are stuck in the late 20th century, and that keeps WWE from progressing forward in the 21st century.

For what it's worth, it'll be karma to see Monday Night Raw tank in the ratings again opposite Rams-Cardinals.
Just when you think you've seen it all, there's a Bud Light commercial out now with a beer tap molded in the image of Peyton Manning. STOP THE PAIN!!

We previously noted the Manning family appearing in an ad for Caesar's SportsBook. Turns out Cleopatra's a familiar face, too, a totally unrecognizable Halle Berry, acting opposite J. B. Smoove (from the Spider-Man movies) as Caesar.

What's next? Lord only knows.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Forgottten TV: Good News (1997)

 Sitcoms set in a church, aside from the 80's series, Amen, usually aren't successful.

The last series in a church setting has been largely forgotten nearly 25 years after its debut.

Good News spent one season on UPN, which, in its relatively short history, only had a handful of hit series, including WWE's Smackdown, which spent a few seasons on the network before beginning a nomadic existence leading to its current berth on Fox. UPN was also home for a time to Buffy, The Vampire Slayer & Star Trek: Voyager. Little did anyone realize that Good News' star would wind up becoming a fan favorite of fans of the fantasy genre.

Long before he was cast as John Diggle on the CW's Arrow in 2012, David Ramsey landed the lead as a young pastor taking on an installation in Compton. Series co-creator Ed. Weinberger called on a couple of folks from Amen, Roz Ryan & Anna Maria Horsford, to be part of the ensemble. Horsford also directed a couple of episodes.

Now, I had never seen the show, nor had I really heard of it until today, so we're serving up the pilot as a public service.

Good News' rights are held by Fox, and the series was the last to bear the familiar logo of MTM Productions.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Musical Interlude: The Gambler (1981)

 With news that former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall has passed away, I was reminded of a duet he recorded with former Marquette coach-turned-NBC color analyst Al McGuire, covering Kenny Rogers' 1978 hit, "The Gambler".

The guys are in the studio recording the track for an album Hall released. It falls somewhere between Rogers (due to the backing chorus) and, oh, I don't know, Lorne Greene teaming with William Shatner, maybe, since it's spoken word?

First shown the day after Christmas in 1981, with an intro & commentary by McGuire and Marv Albert.

Dedicated to the memory of Hall.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Old Time Radio: Screen Directors Playhouse (1949)

 Most of you, I think, are familiar with the short-lived Screen Directors Playhouse, when it aired on NBC-TV in 1956. It lasted one season, but it was a follow-up to a 2 year radio series by the same name.

The radio version of Screen Directors Playhouse also aired on NBC from 1949-51, and the format was the same, feature films edited & compressed into a half hour broadcast. The TV version leaned more toward original content.

From the Radio Spirits "Gamblers & Gangsters" CD collection, here's an adaptation of "The Killers":

I hadn't seen the movie version, so I was unfamiliar with the story. However, it did play well on the air here.

Rating: B.

The NFL's silly season begins

 For the first time, the Wild Card weekend will extend to three days, as Kansas City hosts Pittsburgh on Monday night. Prior to that, there will be the traditional Saturday doubleheader, followed by a tripleheader on Sunday, as NBC will have a primetime game, which will be also streaming on the network's website and on Peacock.

If you're looking for a bookie to take bets on this weekend's games, keep in mind that nothing is truly certain this time of year, or, in the words of the late wrestler-actor Roddy Piper, 

"When you think you've got all the answers, I change the questions!"



Las Vegas @ Cincinnati: The Bengals may be without 2nd year QB Joe Burrow, and that will prove costly.

The pick: Las Vegas, which will play Tennessee in the divisional round.

New England @ Buffalo: The last time the Patriots visited Orchard Park, they ran the Bills outta the yard. Conditions may actually be worse this time, but Buffalo, having won at Foxborough, has figured out how to counter New England's game plans. Rookie QB Mac Jones might not throw much this time, either, but he'll be running for his life against a rejuvenated Bills defense.

The pick: Buffalo. Care to guess who's next for the Bills?



Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay. Tom Brady's been prone to interceptions lately, more than ever. If the Eagles can capitalize on that, they can keep the game close. Antonio Brown's gone, but Brady still has OJ Howard, Mike Jones, & Rob Gronkowski.

The pick: Tampa Bay. You know "TB12" and Gronk's Madison Avenue friends will try to protect them again.

San Francisco @ Dallas: The Cowboys, regardless of who is at QB, tend to fold in the postseason. San Francisco reminded people that they're still a contender in beating the Rams last week. Care to guess what Dak Prescott's sleep number will be this week?

The pick: San Francisco, which then gets fed to Tampa Bay because, well, ratings.

Arizona @ Los Angeles: As with the Bills & Patriots, these divisional rivals meet for the 3rd time this season. Arizona backpedaled into the playoffs after a late season collapse. The Rams have to shake off the loss to the 49ers last week.

The pick: Los Angeles, which then finds the frozen tundra of Green Bay as their final destination.



Pittsburgh @ Kansas City: It's likely going to be Ben Roethlisberger's final game, as he has hinted at retiring instead of taking his skills elsewhere after the season. Oddsmakers, proving again how stupid they can be sometimes, installed the Chiefs as a 12 1/2 point favorite. If I were a betting man, I'd take the Steelers and the points. But I'm not, so......!

The pick: Kansas City, which then gets a rematch with Buffalo.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Musical Interlude: Bust a Move (1989)

 Marvin Young, aka Young MC, burst onto the scene after co-writing Tone Loc's "Funky Cold Medina" & "Wild Thing". After that, he dropped his debut CD, "Stone Cold Rhymin'", which produced the hit, "Bust a Move". The USC graduate became an instant MTV favorite.

Notice how he weaves in a little line from Johnny Lee's "Lookin' For Love". Clever, bro'.

Bellevue's calling for Prince Pillow

 Prince Pillow, of course, is Mike Lindell, CEO-founder of, who continues to careen down Lunatic Fringe Way on a one way trip to oblivion.

Lindell is still trying to convince everyone that he has proof of widespread election fraud that doesn't exist, and now he's claiming that there is evidence that would put the majority of US citizens, roughly 300 million out of 330 million, in jail for life.

This fool's farce has gone long enough, but not enough to satisfy Lindell, whose shell game has no end game. Farron Cousins, in discussing this earlier, believes that Lindell is in need of psychiatric help because of this ongoing delusion. In Jesse Dollemore's mind, Lindell is running yet another grift in support of his Frank Speech site, which, apparently, is bombing out.

Here's Jesse:

We atttempted to reach someone who has an understanding of Lindell's unspoken, unproven, mental state:

"I'm running late for a meeting with my therapist. No comment at this time!"

Gee, there's a surprise.

Actually, Lindell should get together with a professional psychologist, and if we're all lucky, he'll end up at Bellevue, where they have a suite set up for a certain bloviator friend of his.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Musical Interlude: Be My Baby (1963-5)

 You just can't escape this song on oldies channels, and it's likely in heavy rotation for the next few days in the wake of Ronnie Spector's passing.

The Ronettes' 1963 recording of "Be My Baby", released in 1964, landed the trio on Shindig! in 1965. The trick is that while the trio are on stage, Ronnie Spector was the only one in the studio!

The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson cited "Baby" as an influence on his band's subsequent "Don't Worry Baby". Spector had a late period hit, dueting with the late Eddie Money on "Take Me Home Tonight" (1986).

Football this 'n' that

 Motivated by an embarrassing loss in the SEC title game last month, Georgia avenged the loss in beating Alabama Monday night to claim the national title in the finals of the College Football Playoff.

You'd have to go back to 1981, when the Bulldogs featured Herschel Walker at running back, for the last time Georgia won a national title in football. With Walker now a GOPer running for Senate in the Peach State, despite living in Texas at last check, it's amazing how no one bothered to mention him as part of that 1980-1 team in game coverage.

The pregame opening video got some attention, too, with wrestler-actress Mercedes Varnado, aka the WWE's Sasha Banks, apparently playing her character from Disney+'s The Mandalorian, making an appearance. The former women's champion recorded the video some weeks back, because she is currently out with a foot injury, and could miss the Royal Rumble on January 29. You can bet people are talking about the video as much, if not more, than the game itself.

Just watch. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett could wind up shilling for cowboy hats if he doesn't make the NFL. Just sayin'.
Alabama could be saying goodbye to another offensive coordinator, as Bill O'Brien could be heading back to the NFL.

O'Brien, according to reports, is being interviewed by Jacksonville about their head coaching vacancy. O'Brien spent a few years in Houston, a division rival of the Jaguars, so he knows the division pretty well. Stay tuned.
It'd been reported that the Giants were going to keep coach Joe Judge as well as QB Daniel Jones for next season.

However, on Tuesday, Judge was sacked after 2 unproductive seasons. His post-game pressers after recent losses likely sealed his fate.

That means the Giants will be looking for their 4th coach since Tom Coughlin was let go. Apparently, they need help with their talent evaluation for coaches, too.
Finally, condolences to the family of former Jets receiver Don Maynard, who passed away earlier this week at 86. Maynard was one of Joe Namath's favorite targets during their Super Bowl run in 1968-9.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

When GOPers bring the stupid

 Republicans like to think their voters are twice as stupid as they are. How else to explain what has been in the headlines of late?

For starters, there is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, dropping a tall tale to Fox Shmooze's Laura Inkblot, claiming current Nancy Pelosi should be held responsible for last year's insurrection, even though she was a target of the pro-Trump mob.

Yeah, sure, and pigs will fly.

Gingrich's lies, like anything else from the GOPers, have no basis in reality, and are meant to distract viewers from the truth about what happened last year. The assumption the GOPers have is that their voter base has the average IQ of a brick. No, that would the collective IQ of the GOPers themselves.

This, friends, is the most lasting image of Gingrich, dating back to 1995:

He ain't cryin' now, but you can bet he will be once he gets called out for lying on national television, like the rest of the Repugnant idiots.

Then, there is Ohio Misrepresentative Fibber Jordan, who is refusing to cooperate with the committee investigating said insurrection, after first declaring he would. The change of heart suggests that Citizen Pampers and his people got to Jordan and promised him something. Maybe they'll send Stupid-E to clean his closet or something.

On Monday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert shredded Jordan, reminding one and all of how Jordan turned to politics to escape a sexual harassment scandal at Ohio State. The message? You can't run from your past, no matter how hard you try.

Next, we have former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, pouncing on NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, after AOC and her boyfriend attended a party in Florida, sans masks. (Bad idea, Alex) Palin claims the liberals, not the conservatives, as AOC asserted, want to "pound" sex into Americans' brains. Of course, Governor Grizzle was on Fox Shmooze, where tall tales matter more than facts. Rachel Campos-Duffy looked oblivious, as you'd expect. Palin also accused AOC & VP Kamala Harris of being "fake feminists". When was the last time you stood in front of a mirror, Princess Polar Bear?

Then, we have the Queen of Stupid herself, Empty-G, who lied when she said minorities are the only ones getting monoclonal treatments for COVID, forgetting that Citizen Pampers got that treatment himself in 2020 when he was diagnosed with the virus. I believe Joe Rogan's also said he got the same treatment.

Finally, Stupid-E went on Spam Hannity's show on Fox Shmooze, and claimed NY Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit against his pop "violates the Constitution". When was the last time you were in history class, dumbass? Stupid-E says he's filing a countersuit to block the investigation, which, of course, speaks volumes of how the Trump family has so much to hide. Sorry, Stupid-E, but the teflon's gone, and all you have left is a frying pan with rust holes in it. The countersuit is without merit (naturally), and likely will get thrown out of court, along with the dimwitted lawyers the Trumps insist on hiring. Seems they have the ACME Law Office on retainer......

Monday, January 10, 2022

A little of this and a little of that

 We know Vince McMahon craves mainstream media attention for WWE, any way he can get it.

Which is why, for the first time since Drew Carey was invited to appear at the Royal Rumble in 2001 (after Triple H had guested on The Drew Carey Show), McMahon is having a non-wrestler compete in the event, taking place January 29.

Johnny Knoxville is reviving the Jackass franchise with a new film, "Jackass Forever", and, as part of the promotion for the movie, Knoxville will take part in this year's Rumble match. It's also a means of Knoxville getting his name back out there, after he'd faded from the spotlight after the last film. The timing of Knoxville's appearance, coupled with a rumored February trip to Saudi Arabia, won't sit well with fans still salty over more than 80 men & women losing their jobs in the last year, most for the excuse of "budget cuts".
When even Fox News' Brian Kilmeade, 14 months after the election, is trying to convince Citizen Pampers to admit he got his ass whupped in 2020, you know things have gone too far. There are still GOPer marks who have bought into the "Big Lie", unfortunately, and won't accept the truth, even from Fox News.

You reap what you sow, yo'.
Proof that Peyton Manning will shill for anyone comes in the form of an ad for Caesar's SportsBook, in which Peyton, brothers Eli & Cooper, & papa Archie, are chillin' with Caesar (J. B. Smoove) and Cleopatra. Seems Manning's deal with Nationwide Insurance expired, as we haven't seen any new Peytonville spots. Maybe Brad Paisley finally got tired of being treated like a dork.
For baby boomers, this hurts.

Dwayne Hickman, who co-starred with Bob Cummings in The Bob Cummings Show, aka Love That Bob, before landing the lead role in Dobie Gillis, passed away on Sunday at 87. Hickman had spent more time behind the camera in later years, with one of his last TV roles being in the TV adaptation of Clueless

Shout! Factory takes us back to the premiere of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis from 1959:

Hickman's passing, however, was overshadowed by the loss of a more recent TV icon.

Bob Saget, who played widowed single dad Danny Tanner on Full House concurrent with the early years of his run on America's Funniest Home Videos, passed away suddenly on Sunday after a concert appearance in Florida.

More recently, Saget reprised his role in Fuller House on Netflix, and tried his hand as a game show host, first with 1 vs. 100 for NBC, and the short-lived Nashville Squares for CMT. Saget was 65.
The NFL regular season ended Sunday with three overtime games adding even more excitement.

San Francisco completed a 2nd half comeback by beating the Los Angeles Rams, the NFC West champions, 27-24. Las Vegas got another game winning field goal from Daniel Carlson to trip up the Los Angeles Chargers, 35-32. Coupled with Pittsburgh's overtime win over Baltimore and Jacksonville upsetting Indianapolis, the Chargers, along with the Colts, were eliminated from the playoffs.

With just one bye in each conference, the playoff format gets a makeover. To wit:

AFC: Tennessee is the top seed. The Wild Card matchups:

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City.

New England @ Buffalo. 3rd meeting of the season between the AFC East rivals. The Bills won the division by beating the Jests, while the Patriots were swept by Miami.

Las Vegas @ Cincinnati.

NFC: Green Bay sits atop the field. In the Wild Card round:

Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay. Both of last year's Super Bowl teams will have to hope the top seeds fall in the divisional round (January 22-23).

San Francisco @ Dallas.

Arizona @ Los Angeles. 3rd meeting of the season.

Predictions coming Friday.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

On the shelf: New heroes and spin-offs

 In 2019, Brian Michael Bendis, prolific writer, came to DC Comics, and launched the now-defunct Wonder Comics imprint. The first book under this umbrella was Naomi, the tale of a young woman from an alternate earth who lands on "our" earth, unaware of her powers.

There was enough interest in the character to the point where filmmaker Ava DuVernay was able to write a treatment for television, which was picked up by WB & the CW. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Naomi's exploration of her new home has seen her meet Young Justice and gain an, ah, internship, if ya will, with the Justice League, even before Bendis took over the latter series.

The problem I find in the book comes from Bendis. Much more dialogue heavy than anything else I've read by him. Bendis will also be involved with the Naomi series launching Tuesday on CW, his first live-action primetime project. Previously, his Powers had been adapted by Amazon Prime, and he'd been a writer-producer for MTV's ill-fated Spider-Man series in 2003. Artist Jamal Campbell became a superstar in the industry with his work on the series, and will return for a Naomi: Season 2 miniseries, launching in March. Campbell's art, especially with human characters like Naomi, is as realistic as possible. Bendis is no longer DC exclusive, as he is doing some work for Dark Horse on the side these days, and they've acquired his other creator-owned books that were published at DC & elsewhere.

Naomi: Season One gets a B+.
As long as we're talking girl power, let us consider Batgirls, which posits itself as sending Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, & Stephanie Brown off on their own. Barbara, who now is alternating between being Batgirl herself and her other alias, Oracle, plays like she now has two "adoptive sisters" in Stephanie (who's back in her Spoiler gear) and Cassandra (who has also used the names Black Bat and Orphan), though some might see her as a "single mom" type trying to rein in two "reckless kids". Stephanie is also the ex-girlfriend of one Robin (Tim Drake), so she has something in common with Barbara.

The artwork is all over the place, reflective of the crazy quilt pace of the action. It'll grow on you. 

Rating: B+.
Someone wants Christopher Chance, aka the Human Target, dead. Writer Tom King is riffing on the movie "DOA" in this 12 issue maxiseries from DC's Black Label imprint, because Chance is tasked to find his assassin before he buys it. 

Trust me. Chance won't die. DC may need him again down the road, and Black Label books tend to be outside of continuity. They're regretting retiring the Elseworlds imprint years ago, I tell you.

Issue 3, just out during the holidays, includes a guest appearance by Green Lantern Guy Gardner, he of the Moe Howard tribute hairdo, who's still obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Ice. King has a tendency to take his books on bizarre tangents for no other reason than to pad the story. 

To think this story started with Chance being hired by Lex Luthor to impersonate him......

Rating: B-.
Marvel is spinning off a miniseries from the current What If? cartoon on Disney+, and this will make fans real happy. 

Captain Carter, launching in March, is centered on Peggy Carter, and the story of how she, and not Steve Rogers, became Captain America during World War II. The cartoon was a hoot, and this book should be, too.
We are so not digging DC Vs. Vampires from James Tynion IV, Matt Rosenberg, and Otto Schmidt. In the first issue, Tynion & Rosenberg have already killed off Zan, one half of the Wonder Twins (remember, this again is non-continuity), leaving Jayna to find her brother's killer. Schmidt is the reason I stopped reading Green Arrow a few years back, as his linework doesn't work for me. I'd rather have Stephen Byrne drawing this book. Then, I might not feel so bad.

Rating: D.
DC is planning a couple of big crossovers in March.

War on Earth-3 spins out of the core storyline in Suicide Squad, and will tie in with The Flash and Teen Titans Academy, the latter of which has fallen off the rails of late. It's a 5 week miniseries, launching March 2. 

Meanwhile, there's a separate arc involving Deathstroke, Inc.. Shadow War will tie into Batman, and, likely, Detective Comics, come April.
World's Finest returns in March, under the direction of Mark Waid & Dan Mora, and the opener will have several variant covers, including one with Super-fan Jerry Seinfeld. Batman & Superman get headline billing, but this book will be a revival of a classic brand to me. Tom King will write another Batman limited series, this time, a 6 issue mini, Killing Time, due in March. A number of variant covers in March will tie into the forthcoming "The Batman", starring Robert Pattinson & Zoe Kravitz. We are not digging the design of the Catwoman's cowl on Zoe (daughter of Lenny Kravitz & Lisa Bonet). Worst cowl ever. Whether the not the movie satisfies will be determined when it comes out.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Musical Interlude: Blue Suede Shoes (1968-85)

 Taken from American Bandstand's 33 1/3 Anniversary Celebration:

Dick Clark, and a few of his closest friends, decided to pay tribute to Elvis Presley with an all-star jam built around a 1968 TV performance of "Blue Suede Shoes". The only problem was that the song's author, Carl Perkins, was not invited.

The on stage band included some top names in jazz (Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Chuck Mangione, Tom Scott, Lee Ritenour), country (Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, and TV's Dukes of Hazzard, Tom Wopat & John Schneider), and artists who were on the charts at the time, including Lee Rocker (Stray Cats), Rindy Ross (Quarterflash), Tommy Shaw (Styx, later with Damn Yankees), Stephen Stills, Teena Marie, and Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac).

Bringing in Perkins and some other Sun Records alumni, including Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, would've made sense, too.

Presley would've been 87 today, and there are tributes all over the place. This is our contribution.

Old Time Radio: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (1949)

 "The man with the action-packed expense account", Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, was a CBS Radio staple for 13 years (1949-62), alternating between a weekly, done-in-one mystery format, and a daily serial, which ran 15 minutes a day, five days a week.

The most definitive Dollar in the eyes & ears of fans was Bob Bailey (ex-Let George Do It), whose portrayal of the sleuth was as low-key as possible. Bailey left the series when CBS decided to move operations from Hollywood to New York.

Let's take a trip to November, 1959, and the episode, "The Larsen Arson Matter":

A quick check of the series' history shows that radio vet Gerald Mohr had auditioned for the part at one point. So did Edmund O'Brien. Bailey made the part his own. This episode is included in Radio Spirits' "Gamblers & Gangsters" CD set, and we'll be diving into that again soon.

Rating: A.

Friday, January 7, 2022

A little of this and a little of that

 To follow up on what we wrote earlier this week regarding Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay formally, finally cut bait on the problem-plagued receiver on Thursday. Coach Bruce Arians now claims Brown never said anything about being injured leading to his farewell tantrum vs. the Jests on Sunday.

If anything, Brown has already said he doesn't need psychiatric help. The denial only convinces this desk that he does, if only to explain some of his behavior patterns in recent years.
According to recent reports, WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS, co-owners of the CW Network, are exploring the prospects of selling off the network, perhaps feeling tired of CW being "the comic book network", with Riverdale and several DC Comics series on their roster, the latest of which, Naomi, debuts on January 11. Fans are already speculating that if the sale goes through, Naomi, Superman & Lois, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, & Batwoman would join Titans, Doom Patrol, and the animated Young Justice on HBO Max.

That all depends on who would acquire the network. One or the other of the owners could take full possession, and if that's the case, WarnerMedia would probably have more of a vested interest. Stay tuned.
Proving once again that, in the words of comedian Ron White, "you can't fix stupid", Misrepresentatives Empty-G and DoorMatt Gaetz said they planned on retracing the steps of the "patriots" who walked from the White House to the Capitol one year ago.

Between the two of them, they only have an IQ of 10.

They claim to be proud of what happened last year, which suggests that, per Weird Al Yankovic, "can't nothing bring me shame" ("Tacky", 2014).

Farron Cousins offers his take:

Empty-G has won Dunce Caps on back-to-back weeks. She has started tweeting on her work account more of the same garbage that prompted Twitter to terminate her personal account. Told you that would happen. She thus gets, along with Gaetz, another set of Weasel ears.
After President Biden shredded Citizen Pampers, without saying his name, on Thursday, Pampers, through his press flack, Liz Harrington, whined, and lied some more. Same old BS, different day. He was talked out of doing a rebuttal-type speech at Mar-a-Lago, opting instead to do a rally in Arizona next week. I've got a better idea. Submit to a lie detector test, Dumb Donald, and watch the detector explode.
Comic book fans can be as passionate as anyone. Unfortunately, they sometimes take it to extremes that give the industry a black eye or two.

We've told you previously about how DC had decided that Jonathan Kent, the son of Superman & Lois Lane, was repackaged as being bi-sexual in his new solo series, Superman: Son of Kal-El. Superman purists are not having it, it appears, and have let writer Tom Taylor, one of the hottest writers in the industry, know about it in some very crude terms.

Nearly 30 years after her debut on Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn became a LGBTQ+ icon, and no matter where she appears, in comics or in her HBO Max series, fans expect her and her BFF-turned-partner, Poison Ivy, to remain a super-couple.

In Harley's current series, writer Stephanie Phillips decided to split Harley & Ivy up pro tempore, likely with a plan to bring them back together again at a later time. We've seen that happen on TV already. However, certain fans aren't digging that, either, and have flooded Phillips' social media accounts with death threats because they don't understand the long-term planning of comics storylines.

A writer on Reddit offered that Phillips & Taylor are getting their assignments from the editorial department at DC, which, in turn, is getting its instructions from marketing reps at WarnerMedia. Taylor, to his credit, has stepped up to the plate on his fellow writer's behalf. 

Consider this for a minute. WarnerMedia is on the Harley-Ivy train. As with any relationship, real or fictional, couples do have their ups & downs. Ye scribe has been there. My advice to these "fans" is to be patient. Harley & Ivy will be back together in print soon enough.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Musical Interlude: Stay (I Missed You) (1994)

 America was introduced to earnest, modest singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb with 1994's "Stay (I Missed You)", used as the first single from the soundtrack to the Ben Stiller-directed film, "Reality Bites", whose star, Ethan Hawke, directed the video for "Stay".

Said video is as simple as it gets. Lisa, apparently in her apartment, with her cat.

Lisa Loeb revisited her one-hit wonder last year in a commercial for GEICO as part of an ad campaign which also included ESPN's Dick Vitale.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

A butt-hurt football "fan" wants the Giants & Jets to play in New York, not New Jersey. He's asking too much money, though

 There have been frivolous lawsuits before, and, trust me, there will be more of those as time goes on. However, this one takes the cake, frosting and all.

Consider, then, the case of Abdiell Suero of Greenwich Village, who is asking for----get this---$6 billion in damages while demanding that the Jests and the Giants play their home games in New York, and accuses the teams and the NFL of false advertising. The Giants have been playing outside the Big Apple since the mid-70's, spending a year or two at the Yale Bowl in Connecticut before the now-defunct Giants Stadium opened in 1976. The Jests left Shea Stadium, home of the Mets, 8 years later, to join the Giants.

Apparently, Suero failed geography in school, otherwise he'd get a clue, and realize that New York, New Jersey, & Connecticut are commonly known as the Tri-State Area to downstaters. Three other NFL teams play their games outside of their stated home cities. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, have the Temple of Excess, aka AT & T Stadium, in Arlington. The Washington Generics, who will have a more formal team name next month, play in Landover, Maryland. The San Francisco 49ers play in Santa Clara. 

If Suero has a problem with football teams "falsely advertising", he'd probably go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over basketball teams like the Golden State Warriors, who play their home games in Oakland, but opt to use the state nickname for California, likely for marketing purposes. The Washington Wizards, for years, when they were the Washington or Capital Bullets, used to play in Landover. Not sure if they still do. The Detroit Pistons, until Little Caesar's Arena was opened, played in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills.

Get the idea? These teams are looking more at expanding their geographical bases than living up to their actual billing. Oh, by the way. The Buffalo Bills play their home games in nearby Orchard Park, and experimented with games in, like, Toronto, eh?

As a rep for the Giants noted, the suit is, predictably, without merit, and Suero is looking for a quick payday to make up for spending a lot of money on travel, frustrated with all the losing since the Giants' last Super Bowl run 10 years ago. That's what it really boils down to. Anger & frustration make him an easy mark for a lawyer looking for his 15 minutes. I doubt we'll hear about this fool's folly again.

Would someone send this airhead back to school?

 I know there's going to be another "Legally Blonde" movie coming out this year with Reese Witherspoon. While I've never seen those first two movies, I'd believe Reese's character would be a major improvement over a certain Georgia bubblehead.

Yep, Empty-G is in trouble again.

It wasn't enough that Twitter closed Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal account over vaccine misinformation and lies the other day. Now, Facebook/Meta has done the same, albeit on a temporary basis. And, of course, Empty-G is playing the victim card, claiming censorship, but it's all a fundraising scam.

Farron Cousins explains:

Come to think of it, Ms. Moldy Peaches might complain about the pending "Legally Blonde 3", thinking it's an attack on her, but I wouldn't waste a Carly Simon classic on her. She does get another one of these, though, for going all Wendy Whiner......

Get it through your head, Empty-G. Twitter & Meta are privately owned companies. Complaining about your 1st Amendment rights won't work, although some of your brainwashed followers might rally to your defense because they're just as weak in the head as you are. Farron may be right about one thing. What have you really done for Georgia, besides giving the Peach State black eyes every time you open your mouth and stupid things come out?

Andy Warhol said everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. A friend wanted to give you this message:

"Your 15 minutes are almost up."

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Holy Bat-vertisement: A commercial for Lava soap on Batman (1966)

 Today, Lava soap is no longer part of Procter & Gamble, as they've sold off some of their secondary brands. Back in 1966, however, it was right up there with Ivory, Camay, & Safeguard, especially in terms of advertising.

To this point, P & G's ad agency prevailed upon Batman producer William Dozier for this in-show (we think) spot, in which Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) scolds Chief O'Hara (Stafford Repp, ex-General Hospital) for having dirty hands, as the Dynamic Duo (Adam West & Burt Ward) are witnesses to this rare occasion:

Makes me think P & G was a regular sponsor of Batman during its 26 months on the air.