Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Of course, I said the party doesn't begin until I sell a crossword to the New York Times....

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Come See The Tacks

Never too early to get out and playing for the people again, so the mighty Brass Tacks Orchestra takes its act to the people this Wednesday, June 1, 2005 for a free outdoor concert at Veterans Park in Bayville, just off Exit 77 on the Garden State Parkway. 6:00 p.m. (the concert was part of a rally for Gubernatorial candidate Robert Schroeder).

The Tacks will also be at Barnegat Docks for July 4 (fireworks thereafter) and at the Ocean County Library in Toms River on Saturday, July 23, as part of the Carousel of Music. This is always one of our best concerts of the year so come out and enjoy. (Don't forget about the Dover Township Municipal Band every Friday night in July and August, an Ocean County tradition.)

The Sea Oaks Father's Day Dinner Dance has been CANCELLED. We will be appearing next at Sea Oaks on July 15.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Puzzled Yet?

Puzzles by yours truly are beginning to take over the world. Besides pending puzzles for Games (August 2005) and Los Angeles Times (date TBA), I've just been informed that I'll be making my USA TODAY debut on Wednesday, July 27.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sweeps Marred By Paramount TV

And with the "American Idol" finale in the books, our long national nightmare - otherwise known as the May 2005 Sweeps - is now over. (Granted, we still have the "Street Smarts" tournament finale at 4 a.m., but everyone will be asleep by then.)

What was the low point of the Sweeps? Paramount Television has to be called on the carpet for its extensive coverage of the wedding of child rapist Mary Kay Letourneau to her victim. I saw nothing romantic or fairytale about the whole thing. M.K.L. was a teacher who violated one of her students. This does not redeem what she did.

And Paramount's sponsorship of their nuptials - they will deny it up and down, but I'll bet they covered everything from the cheesy wedding band to the stale coldcuts that were served at the reception - almost screams out for a boycott of their programs by anyone who thinks that this is helping our nation's moral fabric go straight to hell.

Anyone remember when "Entertainment Tonight" used to cover ENTERTAINMENT? Me either.

And speaking of newlyweds, CBS, please, no more "Rob and Amber" ANYTHING. Don't put them on "Big Brother" with Mrs. Les Moonves, or anything else of the sort.

It's Carrie

We breathed a collective sigh of relief. The country girl from the midwest bested the stars-n-bars Southern rocker, but we got a pretty good show in the process as all of the finalists were paired (or tripled) off with (we're told) their own idols to perform duets. Some rang pretty true: Bo's take on "Sweet Home Alabama" with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Carrie joining up with Rascal Flatts. We're still pretty darn convinced that Vonzell Solomon would have been a great Idol after her duet with Billy Preston on "With You I'm Born Again".

We applaud the selection of Carrie Underwood because we're still smarting over last year's selection of Fantasia Barrino over Diana DeGarmo. It wasn't a very good year for the 2004-model Idols as neither made much of a dent on the music map. (I think William Hung got more work than either of them put together.) Compare that to past Idols like Kelly Clarkson and '03 runner up Clay Aiken (both of whom are coming to Toms River this summer - check this out), who are still on a lot of people's lips. But we're looking forward to a fresh voice on the country scene and hope to hear some great stuff from Carrie Underwood.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

AI: Who Will Win?

Other bloggers have been chiming in on who they think is going to win "American Idol" tonight - we're still waiting for a prediction from fellow crossword constructor Stella Daily, who's been following the competition for some time (she's a singer herself). Up until last night, I really thought Bo Bice was going to take it. Now it seems to be a tossup.

Bo sang well, but his material was a little on the dreary side. While Carrie had some good songs (including a Martina McBride cover), her pitch was all over the place.

I had to keep in mind what I'd been telling my sixth-grade students the other day during their auditions for their positions in intermediate school band next year - you're going to be nervous during an audition. Some of the AI advisors (as I call Randy, Paula and Simon - they don't really sit in judgement and don't really have a sway over who ultimately gets in) had read the nerves on both contestants' faces, including the usually unflappable Bo.

If Vote For The Worst is to be believed, tonight's winner will be Carrie Underwood. And in some small measure, I agree. But neither of the two finalists are going to be poorer for the experience; both will get record deals in some way. And my favorite, Vonzell, already had a small album out; someone's gotta get that one bigger distribution, or at least a chance to record some new stuff now that she's been through the "Idol" finishing school.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Why I Won't Be Watching The Indy 500 This Year

Mostly because I'm marching in a parade, but I'm a little taken aback by all this media fuss over Danica Patrick.

Where oh where were you people when Sarah Fisher was in the same situation just a few short years ago? She was at Indy. She even won a pole for one Indy Car race. But here comes the infinitely more marketable (read "prettier") Danica, who is driving for owners Bobby Rahal and David Letterman, and everyone wants a piece of her now.

With Sarah in NASCAR now (she's racing the 20 car in the Grand National West series), we'll likely be reading about Sarah winning her fifth Daytona 500 years from now. And then I will say "Told you so."

UPDATE: The Indianapolis Star recently interviewed Sarah, who is going to be tangentially involved with the 500 (as a spotter for a driver whose chief mechanic is Sarah's boyfriend). Her thoughts on Danica Patrick? "When I first started in these things, it was my first job right out of high school. I was just kind of thrown in. I'm happy that (a woman) finally has the opportunity to step in with first-class equipment. I just wish it was me."

So do we, Sarah.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Who Wants To Win An Emmy?

Sure, she's already got a shelf full of them for hosting "The View", but Meredith Vieira has definitely arrived with her Emmy win tonight for hosting the daytime version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".

Oh, there was plenty of hue and cry when she was picked, but she was right for the role from the start, and with 585 episodes already in the can, she's going back for at least a few seasons more. Of course, someday ol' Dave will be sitting across from Meredith getting questions (and a kiss at the end - who doesn't get a kiss from Meredith upon leaving the show?)

The picture, by the way, is not a trick photo - it is from when Meredith actually played a celebrity episode of the ABC version of the show.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

More Puzzles From Dave

We wish to apologize for problems with the Blog over the past few days. Every so often, the Falkland machine hiccups and forgets we have Blogger to deal with, and we have to tell it we're here. (This was a similar to a problem we had once when our former host had a hardware failure.)

I do have some good news, and it's not that I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico. (Believe me, I tried to get Geico when it became available in NJ, but that fell through for reasons I care not to recount.) I will be having some more crossword puzzles published. Two more for Games Magazine! I'm becoming part of the furniture over there. Run, don't walk, and get the July issue of Games World Of Puzzles to do my 15x called "Celebrity Pantry." And I have one coming in the August 2005 Games Magazine. Don't forget, my LA Times puzzle is coming soon (and I'll let you know as soon as Rich Norris puts it on the schedule).

When I finally crack into the NY Times, we will have a party somewhere to celebrate. You'll learn more if it happens.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

No Phishing Allowed

When banks I don't even have an account with start sending me mail on my otherwise unpublished address to update my "account" information - including such private details as my mother's maiden name and my social security number - then it's time to change my private e-mail address.

Therefore, within the next several weeks, if you regularly correspond with me, you will be given a brand-new top-secret e-mail address to use - and it will no longer be on the davemackey.com domain. In fact, we're not telling you where it is going to be... at least here. This is also in part due to the technical problems we've been having of late (See above post).

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Moving The Neck Further Down The Bottle

We note with bemusement Governor Codey's just-revealed plan to install a third traffic lane on the Garden State Parkway between Exit 80 in Toms River to Exit 63 in Manahawkin.

All this does, IMHO, is moves the traffic bottleneck down further. Right now, it's a zoo getting off the parkway in Exit 80, just before the final three-lane stretch merges down to two, anytime in the evening, most of all a Friday evening when the parkway becomes rife with bennies. It's the residents of Manahawkin and Long Beach Island that are going to feel the inconvenience when their third lane disappears, sometime in the early part of the next decade.

Why not just widen the damn thing all the way down to Atlantic City? Much of the Parkway traffic now is tour buses and others wanting to get down to that gambling mecca.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"Move On Up"

I've never been a big fan of the ageless technique of co-opting songs for use in ads. That said, I'd like to publicly chide Toyota for taking Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up" and turning it into possibly the next "Nobody But Me" (classic song turned into a commercial pass-around). Everyone's gonna glom onto this song, and that's pretty sad, considering it's one of Mayfield's lesser-known treasures. I'm not sure I wanna hear it every five minutes in commercials touting gas-guzzling, too-big-for-their-own-good SUVs.

Paul Shaffer took the tune down a few keys and arranged it as bumper music (remember that?) for the Saturday Night Live Band, and later pulled it out on episodes of "Late Night With David Letterman" on nights when the Tower Of Power Horns sat in.

The only nice aspect of the whole deal is that a few bucks is going to Mayfield's estate (he died in 1999, years after an accident that caused neck-down paralysis).

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

#6878: Not The Day For Jae

Never mind. Jae Seo will not have a no-hitter. He gave up a two-out hit in the fifth.

#6878: C'mon, Jae!

Jae Seo has no-hit the Phillies through four. Five more innings. Fifteen more hitters. Do it, man.