Friday, June 30, 2006

I Get One Of My Gifts from Comcast...

A while back (maybe a year and a half ago) I asked a couple of pretty coy questions about channels that Comcast could add to its cable, including "What do you do when you like to go places?" And the answer to that is Channel 188... The Travel Channel, now on our Toms River system.

Perhaps I'll be watching just the one show I'm interested in on that channel (the one that starts with "World" and ends in "Tour" and has a whole lot of "Poker" in the middle), but at least it's another viewing option.

Probably less viewed will be some other channels being added... Oxygen, CSPAN-2 and TNT HD. Hey, it's more choices... and hopefully more will be added so I can finally justify my $141 cable bill....

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lennie Weinrib 1935-2006

Actor/director/writer Lennie Weinrib, an ubiquituous presence in cartoons of the 1970's (including many DePatie-Freleng productions) and a featured actor on several Krofft television shows, has died at a hospital near his home in Chile at the age of 71. Mark Evanier has more details and stories about this remarkable performer on his blog.

My Computer Nightmares Are Over!

No, I didn't toss them all out the window, but, eerily parallelling my recent weight loss (about 19 lbs. and counting), I have reduced the number of computers in my house by one - but not in the way I wanted to do it. And along the way, I had to wrestle with a nasty adware virus on my primary machine.

Since Nancy passed away, I have been doing the bulk of my computer work on her machine, which is conveniently located off the living room. A few days ago I noticed the computer powering down on its own quite often. I purchased a new mouse, thinking that was the culprit. However, last night, while I was away from the machine, something else happened. I think the power supply or the motherboard might have said "no mas" in its own electronic way and turned what I had been working to into toast. (Between problems that Robair and I have both had with this brand, it's obvious that the "e" stands for EVIL.) Therefore, it was time to bring the computer I had been using as my primary computer upstairs.

But first, I had to rid it of a persistent adware virus I picked up from somewhere. God knows where I picked it up, but my computer was insisting that I had a bunch of spyware on this machine and I needed to get this wonderful program called Spyware Sheriff that would get rid of my woes once and for all. I knew something was up when my computer would not let me change my start page from an obvious ad for Spyware Sheriff, and the fake security alerts which were popping up. Sure enough, through some research I had to do on my notebook (which thankfully is in tip-top shape), I confirmed what I had suspected: not only is Spyware Sheriff no good at removing spyware from your computer, but it IS spyware in and of itself!

Through a variety of products including the excellent Spyware Doctor and the wonderful free Bazooka utility from kephyr.com, all traces of Spyware Sheriff were removed. Spyware Doctor additionally found bits and pieces of many other spyware-adware "products" picked up in my surfing.

Nancy's old computer is in bits and pieces in the living room, with most of the surviving pieces destined for Robair's use with my old notebook (the one I did the $38 patch on a while back). But now I feel more at home using my own computer on a regular basis once again.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Red Sox Radio Station To Bastardize History

Per this page regarding the 1986 World Series (which, of course, was won by the New York Mets),
The 10th inning of Game 6 will forever be remembered as a low point in Boston sports history. But what if you could re-write history? WEEI wants to know what "Your Dream Ending to '86" would be.

Now you all remember game 6, right? Bottom of the 10th at Shea, score tied 5-5. Red Sox have a 3-2 series lead. With two outs, the Red Sox have blown a 5-3 lead thanks to Gary Carter and Kevin Mitchell. Now Ray Knight is on second, and Mookie Wilson at the plate. Wilson hits a slow dribbler to first base, which (in the immortal words of the late Bob Murphy) GETS BY BUCKNER! Knight scores from second and the Mets win, 6-5, evening the series 3-3.

Now, WEEI, in their own twisted way, wants to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest seasons that the Mets have ever had and give the Boston fans one chance to get their jollies as if they had won the Series that year. WHICH THEY DIDN'T. The station will select a winning entry from those e-mailed to the station and will re-create the final inning of the broadcast as if the ball had not gone by Buckner's legs.

Actually, there's a lot more to it than that.... the winner would have to craft a complete eleventh inning with Red Sox scoring and Mets failing to score to create a Sox win in the inning. So someone is going to have to do a lot of work to make the Sox win, if you are using Buckner's error as a launch pad.

So, in that spirit, we present the play to you, as it really happened. Vin Scully with the call. (But here's Murphy's call if you like that one instead.)

And screw you, WEEI, and your attempts at revisionist history.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Website Update

At the urging of one of our longtime readers, we've reestablished our archives for this blog, now going all the way back to 2001. That was about three or four service providers ago.

Bear in mind that because of the way Blogger archives, some site areas referenced may be unavailable, some links may be out of date, and some other material may now be all together wrong. Tread with caution!

Update: We have fixed some of the broken images.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

More Brookers

Wanted to share two more incredible YouTube videos from the talented Brooke Brodack (see below).

The first one, "The Invention of Mr. Buckett" (sic) is Brooke's tribute to the 80's-90's game Mr. Bucket, by Milton Bradley. Brooke makes a number of attempts to sink a ball in the bucket, then finally gives up.




And in "Everything Changes", we see a little of the real Brooke as she discusses her bright future, peppered with clips from some of her earlier work.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Very Special Edition Of YouTube

You may have heard the news last week that one of the more popular contributors of original content for YouTube, Brooke Brodack, has been signed by Carson Daly to a talent and development deal.

Brookers' videos have been noted for their professionalism, with multiple camera cuts and very good use of archival clips and music. Brookers herself is an amazingly good performer. Skimming through her oeuvre, I'm most struck by this video, which combines a fake commercial for Herbal Essences and a audition tape for "America's Next Top Model", which is inexplicably played back at twice regular speed and is frequently interrupted by her dog. Is this intentional? With Brookers, who at the age of 20 already has the skill of a filmmaker twice her age, you can never tell....

Welcome To Summer Vacation

Monday, June 19. In a less than perfect world, I would be in school today. However, due to the total lack of snow days this year, we got out one day early. (The administration has since wised up and has now built no snow days into future calendars.)

I have a busy summer planned. Lots to do around this house, and a few other commitments. We'll keep you posted on some of the more interesting things that I've done this summer.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Equal Time For NBC

And now, a flock of peacocks. The original NBC Peacock from the late 50's lives somewhere on Kris Trexler's website, but here are two others from YouTube.

This one is called the "Laramie Peacock" because the first program it was ever used on was the NBC western "Laramie". The music is a little different here, I believe it was used until 1968.


How about this oddity: a clip of the NBC peacock, with the later (1968?) music, and a custom voiceover by none other than the late Bill Wendell that the following SPORTS program is in Living Color?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Psychedelic, man!

And this clip is from the 1950's. It was the old CBS TV end of show ID that ran at the end of most of their shows in the mid-late 1950's. Sometimes GSN will screw up and you can see it at the end of "What's My Line" just before 4 a.m. That's probably where this clip came from, in fact.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

7057: Oh, So Close

Two lousy freaking hits to deep center field were all that kept rookie pitcher Alay Soler, in just his fourth major league start, from becoming the first ever Mets pitcher to record a no-hitter and erase 45 years of frustration for fans of the Blue and Orange (and sometimes Black).

The last time I felt this good about a Mets season was exactly twenty years ago. This year the annual Old Timers Day (which I think is now called something more PC) will honor those World Series winners of 20 years ago and gather as many of them that they can (those that aren't in prison, anyway). And, refreshingly, this surge by the Mets may spell an end to the Braves' dominance of the division.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Do Some Research, WENN

There was a riotous post from the World Entertainment News Network (WENN), London-based provider of news and innuendo to IMDb. It was in response to the announcement that Warner Home Video would be bringing forth the first authorized DVD release of Popeye cartoons.

WENN decided to challenge the statement that there were 220 Popeye cartoons made for TV between 1960 and 1962. Guess what, Wenn? This is correct and is an irrefutable fact.

Al Brodax and King Features contracted with Paramount Cartoon Studios (then being run by Seymour Kneitel) for an impossible 370 cartoons to be released to television, including 220 Popeyes and 50 each of Krazy Kat, Beetle Bailey, and Snuffy Smith.

The cartoons were jobbed out to several studios around the world. There were three different production units in Los Angeles alone, headed by producers Jack Kinney, Gerry Ray and Larry Harmon, all doing Popeyes (Kinney's first Popeye, "Barbecue For Two", just may be the worst cartoon ever made). Gene Deitch's studio in Prague did some Popeyes and farmed others out to Halas and Batchelor in Great Britain. Deitch also did all but two Krazy Kats. H&B also did about half of the Beetle Bailey series.

For their part, Paramount did the balance of the Popeyes and Beetle Baileys, the two Krazy Kats that Deitch did not do ("Mouse Blanche" and "Keeping Up With Krazy") and all the Snuffy Smith cartoons - all the while maintaining a theatrical release schedule. And every single one of those cartoons was directed by Seymour Kneitel.

The whole project was finished by 1963.

The next year, Seymour Kneitel dropped dead of a heart attack.

Coincidence?