Monday, December 31, 2007

Guaranteed: The Last Blog Post Of 2007

Right now, Tracy and I are taking it easy. We have New Year's dinner reservations, a prix-fixe five course dinner at one of Cape May's prominent eateries. Then, back to our B&B for some New Year's revelry, and hopefully watching Dick Clark successfully count backwards from ten. Happy New Year... the next blog post will be from home.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Requiem for A Phone Phreak

The always-worth-reading Elizabeth McCracken details the life of Joybubbles, said to be one of the very first phone phreaks, in today's New York Times.

Hello from Cape May

Tracy and I give greetings from the southern tip of New Jersey. Yesterday was the first day of our honeymoon and we did a tour of the Cape May Vineyard and Winery and also a nighttime tour of Christmas lights, capped off by a tour of the Emlen Physick estate.

The wedding ceremony went well. The food was great, the Jazz Lobsters were jammin', and people were having a great time.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Of All Days to Link to This...

One of my favorite theatre moments from the Stephen Sondheim show "Company", captured in the incredible "making of" documentary. This is the song "Getting Married Today", sung by three members of the original Broadway cast. The brunette singer who is spitting out words a mile a minute is Beth Howland, who would later play the endearingly dizzy waitress Vera on the sitcom "Alice". The others are Steve Elmore and Teri Ralston.

As I remember, there was a little bit of a turnover in the cast, with Dean Jones (who played the main character, Bobby) being replaced very early in the run by Larry Kert, who was nominated for a Tony that year for his performance, marking one of the few times a replacement actor in a role was nominated for a Tony. But it was Jones' performance that survives on the incredible original cast recording, many copies of which I've owned over the years.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I'm sitting here, working on a crossword puzzle to send to Will Shortz, and then it hits me.


Yes, it's a thought that has ruled my consciousness since I proposed to Tracy back on September 1. But now, we're about 34-1/2 hours from walking down the aisle, and it just all of a sudden hit me how close we are to saying our I-Do's.

Apart from some little nitpicky things on both sides of the aisle, we're pretty much ready. I can't guarantee how soon I'll be back blogging, as I'll be on my mini-honeymoon through Tuesday. However, as with my last wedding, Harry McCracken will be in my entourage, so I would look for some coverage on before too long.

If you're one of my regular readers who is saying to yourself, "Gee, Dave, how do I go about celebrating if I can't make the wedding?", we're registered at (search for Dave Mackey or Tracy Meyer).

See you after the honeymoon!

Friday, December 21, 2007

"The Voice of Curling" Silenced

We are saddened to hear of the death of sportscaster Don Chevrier at the age of 69 this week. The versatile sportscaster counts among his career highlights calling the first-ever Toronto Blue Jays game in 1977, but to many who enjoy watching the Winter Olympics, he was the "Voice of Curling", introducing many Americans to a sport that is very popular in Canada during the last several Olympic games for NBC, teamed with Don Duguid.

T Minus One Week

Well, it's excitement laced with some nerves as my wedding day approaches. Tracy's told me she may get a little crazed over the next week or so, but what bride doesn't. I am hopeful she doesn't turn into a Bridezilla.

So if postings to this blog are ever more infrequent, that is why. Merry Christmas.

(Oh, and in case you're wondering who I hired to play at my wedding... wonder no more.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You Have Your Team, I'll Have Mine

Here's a really passionate insight into why the Dodgers ran into difficulty this season... from Alyssa Milano.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Warning: DO NOT ever grab a dinosaur by the tail. Or this happens.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"Eight Crazy Nights" Begins Tonight

To those who celebrate it, happy Hanukkah.

Counting The Days

We're now just three weeks from Christmas, and as seems to be par for the course for me, I haven't done a lick of shopping yet. Not that I haven't gotten suggestions from loved one, I just haven't acted on them yet. Of course, it's going to be harder this year with the dual distractions of getting ready for my wedding on December 28 and selling my house. So if this blog somehow falls into disrepair, it's because I'm so damn busy anymore.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


As sort of predicted here, Tom Glavine has signed with "his" Atlanta Braves, a team I've, quite frankly, grown to despise over the years.

Like most of my former relationships, I would sort of like to forget the five years or so he was here never really happened.

And Tom, please don't throw a no-hitter after all those years of not doing so with the Mets.

(You know it's going to happen.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Make The World A Better Place

How, you ask? By using to check that wild email you got before sending it on to me. I've been getting a lot of these in my e-mail both privately and at my school from well-meaning folks. Please be aware that I will not think any less of you as a person if you don't check that "this really works" e-mail against the Snopes site to see if it's legit or not... everything from free meals to kids needing greeting cards to viruses to state troopers setting new speed traps... it's mostly been old, false news. We'll be throwing a link to Snopes over to the left, it's such a valuable resource. Thank you in advance.

Dear ABC,

I find your little television network harder and harder to deal with as the years go by. Back in the day, you had many of my favorite shows on. "Happy Days." "Laverne & Shirley." "Mr. T. and Tina." "Mork & Mindy." "Home Improvement."

Now, what do you give us? More crap per capita than any other network, and shows that have roughly the same effect as steroids (you know that commercial with the deflating balls? Exactly).

And now, you have screwed viewers royally (thankfully because I don't get caught up in this) with your latest "Bachelor" finale in which the guy wound up picking no one.

Wake up, ABC. Love can't be manufactured. Don't do ANY MORE "Bachelor" series. We've all had enough.

(And I hope to God that Lacey Pemberton isn't in charge of the casting any more. Get her back in her little Card Sharks dealer uniform, for goodness sake!)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Paige Davis Rides Again

Great news from TLC, home of the floundering "Trading Spaces" franchise: Paige Davis is set to return as host, and many of the classic designers from the early production run like Doug Wilson and Hilda Santo-Tomas are coming back to the show too. Since we did a bunch of "TS" coverage from 2003 to 2005 around here, we can't let this great news pass without notice.

The show is also getting a new production company. Banyan Productions, who have produced the show since the first season with Paige Davis (the very first season with Alex McLeod being produced by Ross Productions), has been ousted in favor of A. Smith & Co. Productions, which is the producer of chef Gordon Ramsay's TV projects.

TLC rather short-sightedly canned Davis in January of 2005 in favor of a "hostless" format to try to set it apart from all the other home makeover shows then coming out. Besides Wilson and Santo-Tomas, Laurie Smith and Frank Bielec - two other "TS" originals - are slated to return too.

Will I be watching when Paige Davis comes back in January? You bet!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Warren Batchelder 1917-2007

I don't keep my ear to the animation grapevine as I once did, but I can't let the passing back in February of former Warner Bros. and DePatie-Freleng animator and director Warren Batchelder slip by. He died back on February 12 just a couple of months shy of his 90th birthday. He's a guy who's just got a lot of entries in my animation pages here at He was one of the undersung greats of the industry.

Born on April 18, 1917 in Los Angeles, Warren Batchelder had been hanging around Warner Bros. as an assistant, most notably with Virgil Ross, since at least the mid-1930's, but it wasn't until 1958 that he was promoted to full animator in the Robert McKimson unit. His greatest glories were ahead as he was one of the primary animators at Friz Freleng's studio for its entire history, getting hundreds of credits on Pink Panther, Inspector and Tijuana Toads cartoons and all their various TV shows.

Marvel Productions was his next stop where he was director on many of their series including "G.I. Joe" and "Jem". There was even a brief stop at Warner Bros. where he worked on episodes of "Tiny Toon Adventures" as a character layout artist. Batchelder stayed active in animation for about another decade after that, finally putting the pencils away in 2002.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NJEA Convention, Day Two

I hit the grand slam of professional development! I went to three more seminars today, maxing out my total hours of PD at the convention at 12.

First up was the husband and wife team of Rae and Debra Moses. Their topic was "Evaluating Appropriate Literature for your School Choirs", with particular emphasis on the male voice as it changes through adolescence. We sang some of Carl Fischer's newest choral arrangements, edited by Mr. Moses.

Next, after a very fast hot dog lunch, a little movement (make that a lot of movement) with John Jacobson. The energetic composer and choreographer put a room full of teachers through their paces with some of his latest songs from "John Jacobson's Music Express" magazine, published by Hal Leonard.

Finally, fiddling around with Mimi Butler, master violin teacher, with some very interesting thoughts on playing fiddle music. NOT violin music, but fiddle music. I was very interested to learn of the structure that underlies the basic form - the kickoff measures, the tune, the break (fancier version of the tune), the background (all other instruments either playing open chords or a bass line) and the tag (two bar ending played by the leader). Very interesting stuff to know!

It was one of the very few conventions where I could find six seminars that directly addressed all my classroom activities, from band, to choral, to strings. The hours are useful but each seminar gave me a few things to take back to my students. The weekend between the convention and the return to school is always one of anticipation for me as I cannot wait to get back and try out some of the new things I've learned on my classes.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hello From Atlantic City

Greetings. I am in my hotel room at one of the leading casinos (I think it's the one that has its own brand of vodka), attending the NJEA Convention. Some of these comments are going to be digested and included on my school website, but are included here for immediacy's sake.

First of all, the NJEA absolutely has to do something about seminar scheduling vis a vis nutrition acquisition. A few years ago, the NJEA elminated the sale of food in the convention hall. This is now overloading the few restaurants within walking distance of the convention center. It took me ten minutes to walk to Quizno's and another ten minutes to walk back when I realized I couldn't possibly be waited on in ten minutes. How I survived all day on a pack of Hershey's Kissables, I'll never know. We had some wonderful food in the Ocean County hospitality suite, which functioned as my dinner along with some colleagues, Bev and Gina.

I participated in three useful seminars today. First, Wilbur Wittemann, who I've never had the pleasure of playing for in spite of my fifteen years making music in Ocean County, talked about jazz pedagogy and why it's important for the jazz players of tomorrow to know about their past. He says that every jazz instrumentalist should know at least five artists on their instrument. (Those lists appear on Wittemann's website.) Wittemann told some great stories about his Lakewood Jazz Festival events, where he invites big name jazz stars (the first of whom was Dizzy Gillespie, the latest being drummer Dave Weckl) to play with the local students.

Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, appearing on behalf of Conn-Selmer, makers of many brands of band, orchestra and percussion instruments, gave a rousing lecture on how to motivate students to do their best. (Dr. Lautzenheiser is also one of the authors of Hal Leonard's "Essential Elements 2000" band method.)

My final seminar of the day was with Ed Sueta, the veteran band author and publisher, demonstrating his latest recorder book, "Be A Recorder Star". Sueta has designed a one-piece recorder make of unbreakable ABS plastic, motivational tools including books and stickers, and a carefully designed method book which makes learning the recorder a heck of a lot of fun. I know, because I learned along with about 150 other people in the lecture hall. We all got to keep our recorders, books and other paraphernalia, and some lucky audience members won alto recorders and tabletop music stands.

More convention fun tomorrow. It's pretty much bedtime now. Good night.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It's Now November

A few notable things about this month: it's the month I see the least of my students in school, owing to two Thursday-Fridays off in the month and one week with shortened lessons. It's the month my father was born (November 10, 1921). It's also the penultimate month of my unexpected bachelorhood.

Right now I'm sitting in the dining room of Tracy's house waiting for her to wake up. Bad weather is forcing us to stay close to home today, really nasty winds and rain forecast. I'm listening to the XM, where their annual pop music rundown, "IT", is now in 1973 and the tune playing is "Dueling Banjos". I'm now getting the visions of Ned Beatty squealing like a pig. Regardless, here's the song in its proper context from the film "Deliverance".


Thankfully they've switched to the energetic Moody Blues tune, "I'm Just A Singer In A Rock And Roll Band". I saw the Moodies about five times. One of Nancy's favorites. They just recently played the Ritacco Center, now down to a trio with the retirement of Ray Thomas. It's still Justin Hayward, Graeme Edge and John Lodge.

Hopefully, a very quiet weekend looms.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And In Other News...

I just found out five minutes ago that Cheryl Burke and the guy she was dancing with - what was his name, Newton something? Something Wayne? - was voted off "Dancing With The Stars."

For my $$$, Cheryl Burke is the best female pro dancer on the show. And as you can see, not bad looking, either.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Music Time!

For your enjoyment, here is a college band playing the theme to "Family Guy", music by Walter Murphy, arrangement by Roger Holmes.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Phillies Are Done, Man

Yeah, I know baseball season is over. But I'm more than a little gleeful with the fact that the Phillies have now been eliminated. Serves them right for keeping the Mets out of the playoffs. So now it will be the Diamondbacks and the Rockies - two expansion teams of the 90's - heading for the National League pennant.

And after tonight, they could be joined by Cleveland (go Tribe!) and Boston. Then, I'll suddenly be interested in baseball again.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Topps Hits Bottom

Because of problems keeping badness out of its frozen hamburger patties, the Topps company has decided to close up shop.

They must be partying at Bubba Burgers tonight.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


And Tom Glavine... please leave Queens now. Thank you. You're about as revered as Kenny Rogers now.


It's going to be a long winter.

And now that the Marlenes have scored four runs already, even longer, perhaps.

Colorado's Win Last Night Still Muddies Playoff Picture

Again, the NL West is making this still a wide open race.

As you know, the Mets and Phils are tied for first in the East. If both teams win or both teams lose, there will be a one-game playoff to see who wins in the East.

If the Padres win

Colorado still has a wild card hope, but in the West, if San Diego wins, they will automatically be the wild card, even if they wind up tied with the Diamondbacks. Colorado has to win today to keep it alive for them.

This is the wildest scenario yet: if Colorado, New York and Philadelphia win their games today, there will be a playoff game AND a three-way tie for the wild card, with the Mets-Phils loser, Arizona and San Diego. The MLB website explains it all.

Thankfully, there's no Sunday night games tonight, so this will all be wrapped up this afternoon.

Or will it?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

More Playoff Permutations

San Diego has already helped the Mets cause by losing today. They stand at 89 games won which will be the minimum for the Wild Card.

First place Arizona (90 wins) and third place Colorado (87 wins) will soon start a pivotal game.

Bottom line is the Mets need to win tomorrow again. Then we'll talk more.


And a big razz to Paul Hoover, who decided to get cute and dribble an infield hit, robbing John Maine of a great day AND depriving Mets fans of the no-hitter they've craved since 1962. (You sure that David Wright didn't make an error on that play, Mr. Almighty Official Scorer? And why is it always that when a Mets no-hit bid is broken up, it's on a ball batted in Wright's general direction?)

But hey, THE METS WON. And there is now still a myriad of possibilities for the pennant race. It ain't over, as Yogi once said.

In fact, until the games of tonight in the Western Division are finished, we won't have a clear picture of what the Mets need to do. So we'll check back later with you.

It's Pretty Much Over

Come Sunday, I expect to update the Mets No-Hitter Count for the final time this fall, and by approximately 5:00 p.m., I fully expect to be done with baseball for the year.

The Mets' collapse is pretty much a fait accompli with their loss last night to the Florida Marlenes. And if the Mets aren't involved in the post season, I don't give a flying fig who is in.

Come October 1, GM Omar Minaya has some very tough decisions to make, but I think the easiest one of all would be to fire pitching coach Rick Peterson. The crux of the Mets' downfall this season has been their pitching, particularly their bullpen. Probably the weakest set of arms on a team that ever held on to first place for most of the season, then just pissed it away at every opportunity.

I don't fault the offense. Reyes, Wright, Delgado, Beltran, Alou.... one hot bat after another. All that offense is nice, but the idea is to KEEP THE OTHER TEAM FROM SCORING... which the Mets, this season, have clearly indicated they cannot do. And that's why Peterson has to be shown the door. Fast. Fire him on the 30th if you have to. Announce it during the game when about a tenth of the 5,000 fans who show up on Sunday are left. This is the biggest no-brainer since the Mets had to fire Art Howe.

Playoff Permutations

Unfortunately, it's out of the Mets' hands now, because every scenario implies the Mets have to have help from other teams.

Mets can get in by virtue of winning the East. They would have to win both their remaining games and Philly would have to lose theirs. Mets could still also get in if they and Philly are tied, forcing a one-game playoff on Monday. The loser would probably go home.

Mets could also wind up the wild card IF they win both games. Any other scenario that has a second-place team winning more than 90 games will leave the Mets out in the cold. Gonna be a lot of scoreboard watching this weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Now Tied With Philadelphia In NL East

First place is now big enough for two teams. The Mets and Phillies are now tied. Never mind that Pedro couldn't throw a no-hitter tonight. Never mind that Moises Alou's hitting streak has ended, which has now probably hastened thoughts of retirement. What matters now is the Mets ABSOLUTELY NEED TO WIN THE FINAL THREE GAMES AGAINST THE FLORIDA MARLENES.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Mets Playing Horrible Baseball Down The Stretch

If you needed me to tell you this, you're not paying much attention. But then, neither are the Mets as their bullpen continues to wallow in their own make.

I seriously see some Mets coaches' heads on the block on October 1 if this team does not make the playoffs, which they're still in danger of.

Oh Boy! Lost Toys!

Our school system is doing a special gifted/talented curriculum this year on Terrific Toys. They will be examining the development of toys and games during the 20th century, with particular emphasis on the unique designs of Marvin Glass and the Wham-O company. There will even be side trips to the world of word-based games like Scrabble and even the development of crossword puzzles.

It got me to thinking about toys I owned as a child. I would wager I had every single game on the Marvin Glass list. (Mystery Date actually owned by my sister, of course.) I've found/remembered a couple. This one, by Ideal, was called Logus, and it combined the fun of word games with the horror of sliding picture panels. The groom in this commercial is played by Skip Hinnant of "Electric Company" fame. I don't know who the lucky bride is.

The other one is Booby Trap. Made in 1965 by Parker Brothers, this had a spring-loaded table on which you would put an assortment of various sized playing pieces, then systematically remove them without springing them all over the place. Have a look, courtesy of

Nancy, Two Years After

It is almost two years since I lost my wonderful wife, Nancy, to breast cancer, and articles like this one may give hope for the future. But they don't make me feel any better about what I went through two years ago.

And as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month approaches in October, I remind you to give generously to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to remind some marketers that breast cancer affects men, too, and not just as husbands of victims. Breast cancer is not a women-only disease. Richard Roundtree is a breast cancer survivor - that's right, John Shaft himself. Breast cancer was a contributing factor in the death of "The Price Is Right"'s flamboyantly-clad announcer, Rod Roddy, in 2003. My father in law had it, too. Think about that the next time you hear TV ads hawking medication or product-tie ins for yogurt or some other female-centric product. Thank you for your time.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I don't want to sound alarmist, but...

I've had this overwhelming sense of dread the last few weeks that the New York Mets, who've spent the entire season in first place in the NL East, now may not even make the playoffs.

The Phillies have been playing stellar ball the last month or so, and the Mets simply haven't. The Braves didn't even show up this season, making the Phils the Mets' new nemesis in the East... and as of last night's game, the Mets can really feel the Phils breathing right behind them 1-1/2 games back.

But the battle in the West is worth watching, as the chances are now pretty good of both Arizona and San Diego being in the playoffs. Arizona has Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Colorado left on its schedule, while San Diego will face Colorado, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. Both Arizona and San Diego have the chance to add lots of wins to their record against these weaker teams.

Simply put: The Mets have to WAKE UP and win the division. They MUST hold their lead and hopefully pad it. And then, October rolls around and hopefully I'll still be watching baseball.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, June

June Foray's 90th birthday was yesterday. June is the gifted voice actress heard on millions of cartoons since the dark ages, and she's also been quite involved with the ASIFA animation society.

We are lucky to still have June with us and we still hear her voice from time to time on new projects. I doubt we've heard the last of her.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Belliard Breaks Up Another One...

Ronnie Belliard of the Washington Nationals broke up the no-hit bid of Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz in the eighth inning. If you will recall earlier this season, Belliard had the only hit in a rain-shortened five inning win for the Mets, dashing John Maine's hopes of becoming the first New York Met to EVER throw a no-hitter.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Semper Fi, Gil Hodges

It was heartening to read that tonight, before the New York Mets-Houston Astros game at Shea Stadium, there will be a ceremony to mark the induction of Gil Hodges into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.

I had only known Gil Hodges as the manager of the New York Mets (including the world champion 1969 team); I was too young to enjoy his exploits as a member of the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. Gil managed the Mets starting in 1968 and up until his death from a heart attack just prior to the start of the 1972 season, at which point Yogi Berra took over as manager. But I knew that Gil was a man of class and dignity and grace and I just thought it was a damn shame that he had to leave us so soon. Even at the age of 11 I knew that. So, it's glad to see that Gil is getting this honor for all he meant to several generations of baseball fans.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Music Page Update

Pleased to point you to some pictures of last spring's Jackson Civic Chorus concert. If you look hard enough you can find pictures of both the owner of this website and his favorite lady.

We had our first rehearsal with our new director Jason Diaz last evening and Tracy and I were both impressed with how smoothly the rehearsal went. It was a combination ice-breaker and feel-out session. Hey, if you sing, come out and join us!

Did Your Favorite Old Computer Make The Cut?

For those of you with a fondness for TRS-80's, Altairs, Commodore 64's and Apple Lisas, The Most Collectible PC's Of All Time are brought together in a neat photo essay by Harry McCracken.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Vacation 2007 - What Have I Learned?

Well, it's 7:08 a.m. Eastern time as I write this on my home computer in my own home. We had a whirlwind 11 days of fun and laughs and I'd do it again if I could.

Here's what I would tell people about the trip in as few words as possible.

Diamond Lake - friendly people
Crater Lake - scenic beauty
Eureka - majestic trees
Oakland - funderful suburbia (okay, I borrowed that phrase from a Paramount cartoon)
San Francisco - bustling town, more like New York than Los Angeles

It was also a time for reaffirming old friendships and also a time for cementing new familial relations.

Now, all that's left to do is to pick up the dog and the cat and everything will be back to normal.

And tomorrow it's back to school for me! So it really is over.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Last Day

Our time out West is slowly slipping away. Our next little trip will be to the San Francisco-Oakland International Airport, where we'll return our rental car and board the Continental jet that will whisk us away to home. Since we're losing the three hours we gained when we flew West, we'll leave here at about 1 and come home close to 10. By the time our limo drops us off at Tracy's house, it will be after midnight.

This vacation was the best time for all of us. Sure we had the little spats and disagreements, but what family doesn't? I'm proud to have taken the people I now am pleased to call my family on the trip.

Now to go print those boarding passes...

Monterey and SF In Pictures

Our hotel in Monterey had some great architecture and even better landscaping.

Here's Monterey's favorite author, John Steinbeck (photo by Tracy Meyer).

The Monterey Bay Aquarium also has little treasures in amongst the sea otters and great white sharks.

At the Dennis The Menace Playground, new equipment bears contemporary views of Gina, Ruff and Joey. Other panels on this apparatus feature Dennis and Margaret.

An aerial view of San Francisco from way high up in our hotel (photo by Nancy Crane).

Better you see it here than in some tabloid next Thurdsay (photo by Harry McCracken).

Oh Yeah, I'm Still On Vacation

We had a lot of fun on Saturday. Breakfast at Denny's, then a little pool time, then a nice ride into San Francisco. We had to table the Golden Gate Bridge trip, due to possible complications due to this weekend's Bay Bridge closure. Our concierge (who prefers to be called "Dirty Harry") recommended a nice little place called Pazzia for dinner tonight, and as you've doubtless read on other blogs/boards, Tracy and I have now become engaged. NO ONE AT THE TABLE KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING. (I've gotten so good at keeping secrets.)

We are very happy to have committed to spending the rest of our lives together.

I went into several record stores. There's a Virgin Megastore right down the street from my hotel, and there's Rasputin Music, said to be one of the last indie record shops in the city. They even had some recent vinyl reissues, including a 30th anniversary repressing of Steely Dan's 1977 album "Aja".

We'll most likely post our final pictures from the trip tomorrow or Monday, as we are headed back to New Jersey tomorrow afternoon. And I'm almost literally stepping off the plane onto a parade route.

Someone's Getting Married

Harry McCracken writes the society page of his blog, announcing.... well you go and read it.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Ad Makers Need To Retire Another Song

Years ago, in some forum, I called for the retirement of the song "Nobody But Me" by the Human Beinz because it was overused in ads.

I'm thinking that the song "What I Like About You" by the Romantics has now run its course as well. I just saw it in an ad for a hotel chain.

It gets annoying that our ad wizards just have to pick a song, secure the rights, throw visuals against it and that's your ad. No narration, no copy, no nothing. It's totally disenfranchising to blind television users. They just hear a song for 30 seconds and don't even realize it's an ad for Something.

Makes me glad I'm not in that business anymore.

Friday in Monterey, plus Pictures From The Week

First, the pictures.

Barry Bonds watches another one go skyward. Not very far, just skyward. This was one of two pop outs off the bat of the home run king on Wednesday. Looking at Bonds' latest lob shot are Colorado catcher Chris Iannetta and home plate umpire Tony Randazzo.

The Santa Rosa boardwalk was a lot of fun!

Now to today's visits. Monterey is a town just dripping with nice restaurants and little shops and one-way streets and the stench of old canneries and the spirit of John Steinbeck oozing from every pore. The main target of today's visit was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Now I'm a sucker for aquariums, and this one eschews the cliche that all aquariums must play Saint-Saens' "Aquarium" from "Carnival Of The Animals" somewhere in its soundtrack. The most noteworthy new addition is a baby Great White Shark. We did get some videos and pictures. The sea otters are always good for a few laughs, and we did get to see lots more fine examples of the pescatorial arts.

The other visits included the Dennis The Menace Playground (which has been around for over fifty years). There is a wood sculpture of Dennis and Margaret near the old Southern Pacific steam engine and newer playground equipment has pictures of Dennis and friends (including Margaret, Joey, Ruff and Gina). We also visited Jack's Park to watch a little softball.

So that's it from Day 9 of our vacation. Day 10 will see us returning to San Francisco tomorrow. And then Sunday we go home.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Thursday Night In Monterey

Much fun ensued on Thursday. We checked out of our Oakland hotel, did some laundry, and then drove down to Santa Cruz to visit their boardwalk and beach. The one arcade I went to had a few pinball machines but nothing to write home about. "Cyclone" had weak flippers but played remarkably well for an almost 20-year-old machine. The "World Poker Tour" I played had two bad flippers out of four, but were fairly priced. (Yesterday, I saw some machines on Pier 39 that I dared not touch due to their $1.00 playing price.) The girls and I enjoyed frappes and Dippin' Dots ice cream. It was also a treat to see some Crown Coaches on the way to Santa Cruz. Man, those old buses still hold up quite nicely!

Then, a very easy ride down Route 1 to Monterey. We'd been warned that the road from Santa Cruz to Monterey was twisty and mountainous but we were pleasantly surprised to find it mostly flat and straight. (Tracy did the driving.) We're staying at Casa Munras and it's a very nice hotel! Each room has a DVD player and you can borrow movies from the front desk to watch.

Tomorrow we're spending the day at the aquarium. We'll have some pix up soon of our adventures of the last few days.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Continuing Our Vacation

Today is pretty much going to be a traveling day. We are headed down to Monterey and we're waiting until the Bay Bridge traffic into San Francisco thins out a little bit so we can get down to the Pacific Coast Highway. We will likely make a few stops along the way. I'll report more when we're in for the night.

More Vacation Pix

First, some shots of Alcatraz...

And who's this guy working on a notebook computer?

More pictures later... I promise!

Time out for a baseball report

Even though I went to a Giants game and had a good time today, I never stop being a Mets fan. And the sad news is that they've lost the last four and hopefully it will not be a fifth game in a row on Thursday when they play the last game of their series against the Phillies. This series so far has been more damaging to the Mets' psyches than their record, and it was painful to hear the bullpen screwed Tom Glavine over again the other night. Hopefully I can listen to a little of the game on the way to Monterey tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

AT&T Park, At Last

Right now I am sitting at the Giants game. Harry McCracken is here, as is part of our traveling road show. We were excited to see Barry Bonds playing, but not to go 0-2 so far in the game, which is seeing the Giants at a 7-0 deficit to the Colorado Rockies in the top of the fifth inning. We will be staying in SF for the evening as the rest of my peeps will be joining us after the game for dinner. Tomorrow, we will be leaving for a couple of days in Monterey. But on Saturday we will be back in San Francisco for one final goodbye to the city.

EDIT: Giants lose 8-0 and Bonds didn't get up to bat again in the game. Phooey.

Wednesday Morning, 9 AM

Oakland is turning out to be a damn hard city to get wireless access in, at least in the area around our hotel. Even the wired access, at a steep $9.95 a day (I guess you pay for the security), wasn't working as it should.

Today is the day of the Giants game at AT&T Park (and thank you Nancy and Harry for pointing out my mistake in calling it PNC Park, which I believe is in Pittsburgh). Yesterday we went to San Francisco for the first time this trip, taking the boat tour to Alcatraz Island and then hanging around Pier 39, then taking a cable car ride to Powell Street. More pictures later, hopefully!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Afternoon At UC Berkeley

The Lawrence Hall of Science on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley was our destination today. (That, and a trip to the North Face Outlet to get a new rain jacket. And lunch at Jimmy Beans - definitely try the Rocky Jr. Chicken!)

The current LHS exhibit is "Circus! Science Under The Big Top", which was originally developed by the Ottawa Science Museum. Unfortunately, this exhibit is closing on September 2, so you should get there if you can (and I don't guarantee the link will still work). It was very fascinating to see the scientific fact behind many circus tricks - how acrobats' routines affect their bodies, the reasons behind balance, the measurements required to get a human cannonball safely into the net. Children can actually try bungee jumping and tightrope walking in very safe simulations.

And different varieties of circus animals' feces. (I think they were really painted wood replicas and not the real things. So happens I read "Everybody Poops" this morning. Apparently it's a very popular book.)

The new exhibit taking over from "Circus" will be "Wild Music: The Sounds & Songs Of Life", beginning on October 6.

Pictures of Crater Lake and Diamond Lake

As promised there are some pictures of my trip so far. There's two of the Diamond Lake resort, and two of Crater Lake. You gotta see this in person someday.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday, 7:00 p.m. - Oakland!

We took a nice trip down U.S. 101 from Eureka down to Oakland today. The redwood trees were very impressive and the ride to Oakland very smooth. Except for the last 40 or so miles of very dense traffic.

Our only planned activities so far for the next three days are a visit to Alcatraz Island on Tuesday and the Giants game at AT&T Park on Wednesday. There will be some pictorial proof.

Sunday Morning, 8:00 a.m.

Now it's Sunday morning, and I was rudely awakened by the alarm that was set by the person who used the room before me. The girls got up just after me. They just got to talk to their dad on the phone, so I think they'll be okay today.

We're all ravenously hungry so I think we're going to find us some breakfast. Later, a report about the giant trees.

A Day at Crater Lake, and Will We Ever Get To Eureka?

It's 1:15 a.m. in beautiful (well, we've only seen it in the dark) Eureka, CA. Our journey here from Crater Lake was not without mishap.

Anyway, to get to Crater Lake first. WOW! Tracy told me afterwards that she wasn't going to be sure of my reaction, but I can honestly say it was a wow.

Yes, I survived the boat ride and especially the hike down and up from the trail head to the boat dock. The tourguide (a most helpful gentleman) said that it's best described as one mile down and ten miles back up. He also compared it to climbing 65 flights of stairs, with its almost 800-foot rise. Once in the boat we had a most entertaining two-hour tour of Crater Lake.

Through an error in judgment perhaps fueled by some bad online mapping (no GPS to speak of in our rental), we went the longish way from Crater Lake to Eureka, CA. Basically we went via Klamath Falls, then caught the 5 in Weed, CA, and then hung a right onto 299. Warning. Route 299 is not intended for those with weak constitutions or are prone to motion sickness. We did have one passenger lose her Burger King dinner en route. The nice thing about the reroute was the girls did get to see Mount Shasta.

But it's now off to bed for me (no idea when I'm going to publish this - no Internet access in this motel). Tomorrow, the giant redwoods and maybe some pix from Oakland. Bye now!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday, 4:10 a.m. - Diamond Lake, OR

It's 4:10 A.M. in Oregon. Tracy, the girls and I had a most exciting day at Diamond Lake Resort, which is not too far from Crater Lake. We were originally going to drop our stuff off here and then drive to Crater Lake, but Tracy and I were so taken with the place that we decided to stay the day here, then do Crater Lake on Saturday.

We got a very nice cabin, about the size of a small house. There are two bedrooms, one bathroom and a living/dining/kitchen area. The only bow to modernness is cable TV. There's only an Internet connection near the lodge, and our cellphones are on the roaming network now. This is about as disconnected as anyone should get in this day and age. Additionally, most of the outlets in the cabins are of the old two-prong variety. (Note to self: bring a grounding adapter next time.)

While not as large as Crater Lake, Diamond Lake is just as scenic. A distant mountain still has a touch of snow cover in late August, just a few months away from new snowfall that will turn this entire place into a winter wonderland. FOr now, there are boat and bicycle rentals and lots of opportunities for hiking. There is a small creek running just outside my bedroom window (it's called Two Bear Creek) and hearing it makes me think it's raining. But today was sunny and 80, and Saturday should be just as nice.

The paddleboats were very tricky to get in and out of with both me and Tracy almost taking an unexpected trip into the water. But once we got out there we had fun pedaling around the lake.

There are lots of very friendly people staying here. I would imagine that due to the decorations around some of the cabins, that there are some year-round residents here. They do have a general store that caters to them, selling delicacies unknown and obscure (did you know that Jeff Foxworthy has lent his name and face to a brand of beef jerky?). Lots of families with kids and you can bring your dog here too. There are some restaurants here and on the south shore there's even a pizzeria.

I turned in early; we were all huddled up on the couch watching "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" (when in Rome...) and I hit the hay around 9:00 p.m., and I reckon the girls weren't too far behind. As soon as the rest of the crew awakens and gets ready to go, we'll be going to Crater Lake, spending some time there, and then going to Eureka, CA to spend the night with the big trees.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Greetings From The Road!

The traveling road show is underway. I am writing this from a fairly decent guest room at the Courtyard by Marriott in Portland, Oregon. I was actually given a choice to stay in Vancouver, Washington, but passed that one up, not realizing that Washington is right across the river from Portland. Maybe we'll just drive by tomorrow.

I picked up a shiny new Chevrolet Impala as a rental and having driven and ridden in Impalas of various vintages, this is a nice one and it carries on the bowtie tradition quite nicely.

Other than a snag with the takeoff time of the flight (originally scheduled for 5:45 but we left sometime after 7:00 p.m.), the flight was uneventful. We did get two movies, "Spider-Man 3" and "Are We Done Yet" (the latter of which had an honest-to-God Wilhelm Scream in it, and I said to those sitting next to me "THAT WAS A WILHELM SCREAM!" Also some news features AND an episode of "The King Of Queens" to round out the entertainment portion of the flight. Plus, I did Nucky's crossword in the inflight magazine before the plane even left the tarmac. (The only xword book I brought with me was a book of Shortz Saturdays. You think I wanna do well in Brooklyn, or what?)

Tomorrow, Crater Lake, and maybe some pictures thereof. See you all tomorrow!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


We're frankly in awe of the Texas Rangers' performance last night in the first game of their doubleheader in Baltimore. They put up 30 runs in the first game, and miraculously, they did it all in four innings. Five in the fourth, nine in the sixth, 10 in the eighth, and another 6 in the ninth. And in the second game they scored another 9 runs. The 39 runs is thought to be the most ever scored by one team in a doubleheader.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Did You Miss Me On "Millionaire"?

See what I looked like some 25 pounds ago when I sat in Meredith's hot seat in a repeat of my appearance last spring on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". The show airs tomorrow (Thursday) in syndication.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Merv Griffin Show

One of those great Merv moments... RIP, Mr. Griffin.

O Rare Bayn Johnson!

Here's a cute sketch from "The Electric Company" which gives Short Circus player Bayn Johnson a bit of a chance to stretch out. In this Fargo North bit, Fargo (Skip Hinnant) goes on vacation and Kelly (Johnson) gets to take over. Crank (Jim Boyd) comes in and then asks Kelly to decode a message.

Johnson (born 1959) was only on "Electric Company" for two years (1973-1975) and was the replacement for Denise Nickerson. She had previously appeared on television on "What's It All About, World?" (a 1969 ripoff of "Laugh-In") and on Broadway in "Curley McDimple" (playing the title role). Almost the entire Short Circus (except for June Angela) was replaced for the 1975-1976 season and another blonde, tall, willowy Janina Mathews, was her replacement. After TEC, Bayn had a few small parts on TV series (I remember her being on "Switch") and pretty much faded from view after 1978.

Unfortunately, this clip comes from a kinescope, but I'd like to think there are nicer copies in Sesame Workshop's vault... buried under all of Elmo's fan mail.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Miss America On The Move Again

The Miss America Organization has announced today a new multiple-year deal with TLC to broadcast the pageant over the next few years, beginning with the 2008 pageant on January 26.

CMT opted not to continue broadcasting the pageant after horrible ratings the last two years, which not coincidentally were the first two the pageant originated from Las Vegas.

TLC has been a network desperately in search of an identity. Once known as "The Learning Channel", the network then went through a few phases. One was the "let's rip apart our house and redo it" phase, spearheaded by the show "Trading Spaces", a few years of which we actually chronicled here at, until the show got too big and too full of itself. "Trading Spaces" is now dead, killed partly by its former carpenter, Ty Pennington, who added mawkishness to the mix with his "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"; suddenly, it, "While You Were Out", "In A Fix", "Town Haul" and the like were all off the air.

TLC seems now populated by a weird mix of Teutuls, Roloffs and tattoo artists, plus the occasional appearances by grotesquely obese people and Clinton and Stacy. Now, we add Miss America to the mix - and TLC is going to hop on that one big time with a planned reality show about the pageant.

Ugh! I remember when Miss America only required three hours of our time once a year - and came to you live from the sun and fun capital of New Jersey, Atlantic City! Now it's out in Vegas and people don't seem to care. Even the Miss America Walk near the new outlet shops stops somewhere around the time Ron Ely started hosting the pageant, sidestepping that whole Vanessa Williams thing (oddly, losing that crown kicked her career in high gear).

TLC, how's this? MOVE THE FREAKING PAGEANT BACK TO ATLANTIC CITY! That's the only thing that can save it. And you.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Late Addition to the Music Calendar

Tomorrow, at the Holmdel Community United Church of Christ, I will be duetting on "How Great Thou Art" with my partner in all things, Ms. Tracy Meyer. Service starts at 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


The Record Book

Home Runs, Lifetime
Barry Bonds................ 756 *
Hank Aaron................. 755
Babe Ruth.................. 714

* Record achieved with the use of steroids.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"It's Madison Time! HIT IT!"

So happens that ABC Family aired the original "Hairspray" film last night, complete with the "Madison Time" sequence that does not appear in the new movie. (A version is in the Broadway musical, with Corny calling the dance moves.)

Here's a clip from the 1988 movie, cut off during Eddie Morrison's call of the Wilt Chamberlain basketball step. That's a younger and portlier Ricki Lake playing Tracy. If you can read choreography notation, here's how you can do The Madison at home, complete with all the steps for all the custom moves, from the Cleveland Box to the big strong Jackie Gleason.

It's interesting to note that The Madison did not originate in Baltimore, but rather in Columbus, Ohio.

7264: Unravelin' Glavine

Well, all Milwaukee was abuzz as to whether Tom Glavine would get his 300th win last night, but when the Brew Crew tied up the game, the point became sadly moot.

Note to Bill Webb: Cool it with the reaction shots of Mrs. Glavine.

Tom Terrific II tries again Sunday in Chicago to join the 300 club.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Cult Of The "Wilhelm Scream"

I didn't know such a thing existed until I saw this clip... it's kind of a secret joke among sound editors in Hollywood. I'll be listening to movies a little more closely for it, now that I know what it is.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tssss! More "Hairspray"

As a music arranger, I find articles about the process quite fascinating, so here is an interview with Marc Shaiman and how he created the score and those incredible orchestrations for "Hairspray" I talked about in yesterday's post. (A couple of nasty words should not stop you from reading this.) Shaiman, of course, wrote the songs for the musical with his partner Scott Wittman.

BTW, if you recognize the name, Marc Shaiman was sort of an adjunct member of the SNL Band in the late 80's, playing piano and arranging medleys for the Sweeney Sisters sketches featuring Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Hairspray": Some More Thoughts

I went to a matinee of "Hairspray", the new musical film, with the girls yesterday (as alluded to in the previous post). Part of the fun of these movies is trying to find things that don't quite mesh chronologically. In the first five minutes of the film, I found the first one as a 1963 Chevrolet Bel-Air whizzed by, a car that would not have been made yet in the spring of 1962. And then, later on, in Motormouth Maybelle's record store, there's a copy of Junior Walker's "Road Runner" album, which the sax great didn't record until 1966. Robair thinks some of the songs on Corny Collins' countdown board came out after the events of the movie transpired, and may not ever have charted together as a group... we'll have to wait until the DVD comes out to break that down.

Whose performances was I impressed with? Well, I always get a kick out of Christopher Walken, who's playing Tracy's dad in this film (and taking over from Jerry Stiller, who's moved over into another role in the new movie). Michelle Pfeiffer is great as well as the TV station manager and she and Walken have a great number together. Allison Janney was very funny as the mom of Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes). Some of the young performers were good too such as Jason Marsden (who played Corny Collins), Brittany Snow, and star Nicole Blonsky. Bynes, as Penny, got off some good lines and did some of her trademark pratfalls. Elijah Kelley played the guy Penny falls for, driving a lot of the plot of this film.

But John Travolta? My goodness, 30-some years after "Moment by Moment", he STILL looks like Lily Tomlin! And in drag and a fat suit, he looks like a bloated Lily Tomlin! I'm sorry, I just couldn't get that image out of my head. But he did dance pretty well, shaking his prosthetic ass for the camera. (And that's probably the only time you'll ever see that phrase on this blog. Bottle this moment in time.)

The songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman were great. These songs have worked on Broadway for several years and they sound much bolder on the big screen (and have the benefit of some great orchestrations). (Shaiman, Wittman, director Adam Shankman, and original "Hairspray" star Ricki Lake - not looking anything like the chunky Tracy of '88 - all had cameos in the film as talent agents.)

The one thing I miss about this new version? "It's Madison Time! HIT IT!"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks, Cleveland Rocks.... Ohio! (hio, hio, hio)

As I'm sure you've heard by now (because you're surfing legit news sites rather than going blogging), Drew Carey has accepted the hosting vacancy at "The Price is Right", after an extensive search that saw many legitimate contenders (and Rosie O'Donnell) vie to tread the sacred ground of the Bob Barker Studio at CBS, long corded mike in hand, presiding over pricing games and Showcases.

How does this corner feel about it? Great! We've been watching Drew in action for years both as sitcom actor and as host of "Whose Line Is It Anyway", but now he gets to interact with real people trying to win prizes. The deal was literally finalized as Drew was preparing to go on air with David Letterman earlier this evening, so the Letterman crowd was the first to hear the announcement that Drew is now the Plinko Master.

How's poor ol' Nikki Blonsky, so wonderful in "Hairspray" (which I saw today), gonna follow that? Perhaps signing on as one of Carey's Cuties?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another All-Star Perpsective

...from one who was there. Our longtime pal Harry McCracken, whose offices at PC World are just three blocks from AT&T Park, was at the All-Star Game and got some nice pictures. It's whetting my appetite for visiting the ballpark, which I will do in late August as part of my West Coast trip.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WSOP In A Bit Of A Decline...

Where did all the players go? There are some 2400 less players involved in this year's Main Event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Fittingly, this year's first prize has been reduced, too, from the record-breaking $12,000,000 of last year to this year's relatively measly $8,250,000.

Possibly because of the prohibitively high buy in ($10,000) without even the guarantee of making the money. Or perhaps because online poker is in decline because of questions of its legality, and there are correspondingly less Chris Moneymaker rags-to-riches stories.

I used to play online poker, never for money, just for fun. But I stopped, because I knew that eventually it would lead to me playing for money. And that's a little sick - gambling from home, without the social element.

OTOH, Tracy and I really cleaned up a few weeks ago at the 3-Card Poker tables.... at a casino, with live dealers and people watching. Lots more fun than winning at home.

Please note: if you are one of my impressionable younger readers, please realize that gambling is an ADULT ACTIVITY.

All Star Game Recap


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

JACK FM is The New New Coke

It's such a good analogy, I wish I'd thought of it. But Phlash Phelps, morning guy at XM 6, came up with it out of the clear blue this morning on his show. And he's right.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, CBS Radio has decided to return WCBS-FM New York to its classic oldies format that it had for 33 years before making the JACK FM switch in June 2005.

The format is going to be a little more strictly defined, starting with The Beatles Invasion and ending with songs from the late 80's. No early Elvis, no early 50's R&B. But there should be plenty of Motown.

Dan Taylor has signed on as morning man (supported by two other station veterans, newsman Al Meredith and weather forecaster Irv "Mr. G" Gikofsky) while station mainstay Bob Shannon has signed back on board to do Bill Brown's old midday shift. Broadway Bill Lee will do PM drive. CBS will flip the switch on the restored station on Thursday at 1:01 p.m.

WHAT? You want me to explain New Coke, too? (These kids today...)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Summer Of Woody

In a busy summer with lots of good cartoon releases out there (starting with today's release of the complete Batfink series), Woody Woodpecker is not to be denied. Universal is going to be presenting a DVD set of the first several years of Woody Woodpecker cartoons, including all of his 1940's cartoons and some from the early 1950's, after producer Walter Lantz' brief sojourn at United Artists and subsequent temporary closure of the studio. (Many of Woody's friends will be onboard as well.) This will be released on Tuesday, July 24. (Universal, of course, previously released many of these cartoons on 8mm film through its Castle Films subsidiary - remember those? If you do, you're probably my age or older!)

In honor of said release, StoryMakers Studio is going to be mounting a special tribute to Woody and Walter on Wednesday, July 11, 2007. It is a free event at Mann's Chinese Theater. Please visit this site for more information about this special event, which will include the participation of June Foray, Leonard Maltin, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, and animator Phil Roman. If you can't make the event you'll be able to see it online. More details at that site.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thanks, CBS, But I'll Pass

Even if the annoying Julie Chen (whose husband runs the network - NEVER FORGET THAT whenever you watch her) weren't running the show, I'd steer clear of this year's "Big Brother" for this very reason:
On premiere night, Thursday, July 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), Houseguests will learn that some of them will be sharing the house with an enemy, a rival or someone with whom they have unfinished business -- in short, someone from their past who they had hoped never to see again or someone with whom there is an extreme amount of tension.

Nothing like light, happy summer viewing, huh, CBS? My TV's staying off, as promised.

Class Trip In Session

Haven't plugged Class Trip, five-piece band led by two former bandmates of mine, Jesse Frack and Mary Buck, in a while, so go to their website to see what they're up to. Most immediately, they will be at the Lighthouse on Route 9 in Waretown tomorrow evening.

I think we last mentioned Class Trip in this blog when I sat in with them one night at the old Caffrey's Silverton Hub (long gone, replaced now by Mulligan's).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So When IS Batfink Being Released, Anyway?

Shout! Factory is still maintaining a July 3 street date while Amazon is still posting a July 10 date. We'll see when it shows up in my mailbox, as part of a massive order of Five Cartoon Videos You Can't Do Without This Summer.

I'd still like to see Shout! Factory hire the guy who writes its ad copy for its website. Or at least acknowledge where the hell the words came from in the first place. Where I work, we call that... um.... plagiarism....

7234 - This One Hurts. A Lot.

The Mets have yet again lost their first no-hit opportunity for one of their pitchers, this time off a cheap-ass Scott Rolen infield hit.

Glavine will yet lead us to the promised land.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dr. Luke Has Left The Building

And that building is the GE Building, where "Saturday Night Live" is produced 20 weeks out of the year. Dr. Luke, of course, is guitarist Lukasz Gottwald, whose career as songwriter and producer (think "Since U Been Gone" for Kelly Clarkson) has now overtaken playing in the late night show's band. So, after ten years, the guitar chair is vacant again.

The foregoing is not based on any inside information, but just wishful, fannish thinking (even a 46-year-old is entitled to such thoughts).

G.E. Smith needs to reclaim his birthright and get back in the band.

When G.E. was hired as the guitar player in 1985, the band suddenly had a face and a personality. So much so that he was named co-musical director (with Cheryl Hardwick) the next year. The band was moved to center stage and director Davey Wilson did bumpers after almost every show segment with the band, something unheard of up to that point. G.E. and his bass player, the trusty Tom Wolk, were as much a part of the fabric of the show as Dana Carvey and the late Phil Hartman, the show's hot comics of the time.

Take away G.E. beginning in the 1995 season, and the band loses that. (Do you even remember who replaced Geege that first year? It was Jane Getter for a couple of weeks, then Yoshiko Hirashige.)

We'll see how this all plays out in late September, but of course, the ultimate decision is with those entrusted with SNL's music heritage, Lenny Pickett and Leon Pendarvis.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Last Remnant Of The Swing Revival

Yes, unfortunately, the Swing Revival is pretty much dead. Just don't tell Brian Setzer.

The artist who made the biggest waves of the mid-late 90's swing music revival with a regulation-size big band and a huge revival of Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive an' Wail" is set to tour again during the Holidays with his Christmas show. The only New Jersey stop this year is at the Count Basie Theatre on November 20. (No House of Blues this year. Sorry.)

Not only that, but Setzer is also busy wrapping up a new BSO album tentatively titled "Cuttin' Classical" (EDIT: eventually titled "Wolfgang's Big Night Out" featuring arrangements by the legendary Frank Comstock) in which the big band tackles more classical music, in the vein of "The Nutcracker Suite" (which was actually based on a Frank Comstock arrangement for Stan Kenton). Then he's going to tour with the Stray Cats. That's right - Setzer is back with Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom to give you that 80's groove and the rockabilly you crave.

I've actually lost track of how many times I've seen the Brian Setzer Orchestra. I'm thinking six, the most recent of which was with Tracy at the House of Blues last December. I even went to go see them while recovering from one of my retina surgeries, in 1998. It was my first time back behind the wheel since my surgery. It's a miracle I didn't get into an accident because my driving wasn't as sharp as usual - try it with one eye and you'll see why - but the show was great and we all had such a great time it was worth the risk.

But you will enjoy the holiday shows. The Setzer group is as tight as ever with many key personnel still around like Bernie Dresel, Spazz, Rob Hioki (kickass bass trombonist) and background vocalist Julie Reiten (who, not coincidentally, is the current Mrs. Brian Setzer).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

School's Out For Summer

Yes, we made it through another year. Of course, now you'll start seeing back-to-school ads.

This website will be taking two vacations: one at the end of June, and one at the end of August. So don't freak out if the No-Hitter Count has not been increased. (Of course, it would help if the Mets started actually winning games again.)

The June vacation has been scrapped. Sorry, you gotta put up with me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mets: Now It's Your Turn

Justin Verlander has just pitched a no-hitter for the Detroit Tigers. It is the first no-hitter for the Tigers in 23 years.

Mets fans have had to wait almost twice as long as that and we're still waiting. And we're damn sick of it.

One of you Mets pitchers want to step up and prevent more embarrassment than the 7220 games we've endured so far without such a feat?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Must Have Been Desperate!

I was actually watching some of "America's Funniest Home Videos" the other night, in spite of claims I was not going to watch TV this summer. I was struck by three things:
  • Tom Bergeron could host brain surgery and make it interesting. The man is simply one of the best there is.
  • The video quality is much better than in years past, where ABC editors were desperately trying to bring VHS tapes up to broadcast quality. Now with digital video, you can actually see butt crack when Junior's pants fall down.
  • Isn't this what YouTube is for?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Here And Now Still Fun

Played Monopoly Here And Now again tonight.

Won again when everyone wound up landing on my hotel-adorned Times Square.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mark Evanier Gives Two Guys The Finger

Sounds like something I did in 1982.

But we're actually talking about the annual Bill Finger Award, bestowed on two comic book writing legends. The award is named for the original writer of Batman comics.

This year's recipients are the late Gardner Fox and the very much alive George Gladir. Fox was a fellow writer for National Comics along with Finger, while Gladir still contributes stories for Archie Comics and is bearing down on fifty years service with the company, and for many of those years he was the head writer for Cracked Mazagine.

And just a thought. Wouldn't it have been nice to make it an all-Archie parlay and give the award designated for the deceased comics writer to Frank Doyle? Man, back in the day there was nothing like a good Archie story written by Doyle and drawn by Dan DeCarlo or Harry Lucey.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Playing With The Kids

Last week, when I told Frank Hughes I was coming to the High School North jazz ensemble concert, he had a proviso - "wear a loud shirt and bring your horn." Hmm. Guess I'm going to be watching from the stage, I thought.

When I got to HSN at 7:00 pm, correctly dressed and presumably a half hour early, I found the whole band on stage, ready to go. Whoops! Bungled the time. I did get my horn out and Frank pulled me the third trombone book (as this group only has two bones, the whole rationale for Frank having me sit in).

We had a wonderful concert. Some of the kids are great soloists, and you could hear Frank's voice choke up as he was having to introduce his four-year players for the final time. Frank's daughter Kelly sang some songs, including the familiar Natalie Cole version of Milton Delugg's "Orange Colored Sky" that we in the Brass Tacks regularly cursed, and a gorgeous new version of "My Funny Valentine" arranged by the great Dave Wolpe. Frank even got out his trumpet and took a solo turn on "What Is Hip?", the classic by Tower of Power, bolstered by a number of HSN band alumni including sax player Frank Hughes Jr.

None of my former students were in the group (maybe in a few years that will change), but I did recognize one of Fred Oltarzewski's boys on bari sax (I actually go way back with the Oltarzewskis, knowing Fred's brother John since high school) and of course the massively talented Neil Foglio on standup and electric bass.

It was a fun night. Frank, thanks for the opportunity, and see you at the races!

Friday, June 01, 2007

7210: What Might Have Been!

Okay, so Mr. El Duque gave up a couple of first inning hits. But he was brilliant after that, and the only other hit was given up by Smith when he went into relief of Hernandez. If Mr. El Duque hadn't given up those two hits in the first, the Mets might have had a chance at the big no-no that has now eluded them for 46 seasons.

HEY RUSSO! Your beloved Giants couldn't get it done against the Mets! Isn't it time you saw the writing on the wall?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Mark and Earl Show

Two of the funniest and media-savvy guys to ever write for TV and cartoons have been Mark Evanier and Earl Kress. They've both been working steadily in TV and comics since the early 1970's. (Kress even wrote a few episodes of "The Oddball Couple" - unbeknownst to me, I thought he was a grizzled old vet up there with all those other guys like Dave Detiege and Bob Ogle, but in fact it was his first TV writing credit.)

They will be commandeering Stu's Show on Shokus Internet Radio this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. Pacific. Mark and Earl are scheduled to address many topics, including some that are actually addressed by this website. Be sure to tune in if you're anywhere near the Internet tomorrow.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Duke

John Wayne . . . doesn’t represent The American Man only because he was tall, rugged, straight-talking, confident and impatient. Or because the only person you could imagine having a beer with him might be General Patton. No, his real qualification, often overlooked, is that he understood that life is one long to-do list. That’s what American Men do. They live and die figuring out ways to cross items off. It’s their quintessential trait.

New York Daily News columnist David Hinckley has got it right on target as usual. Happy 100th birthday, John Wayne.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Maybe I'll Turn Off My TV Earlier Than This Summer

With Melinda Doolittle gone from "American Idol" - who I had picked from the start, and Cheryl Burke and that guy she was dancing with from "Dancing With The Stars" - who I had picked from the start - I better stay away from the races this summer.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cut To The Chase

Someone at DePatie-Freleng must have thought spy films were good fodder for cartoon plots, and this forms the basis of the final theatrical Road Runner cartoon, "Sugar And Spies" (1966). Still not even close to the finesse of the Jones efforts, this is better than the Rudy Larriva cartoons talked about earlier on this blog. Directed by Robert McKimson and actually made on the DePatie-Freleng lot by the regular DePatie-Freleng crew, it's one of the few DFE cartoons to have an actual score (as opposed to stock cues) by Walter Greene, whose composing skills were given more of a workout over at Walter Lantz. I apologize for the Spanish soundtrack... don't quite know how to get that off. But the intrusions are blissfully few. Here it is. (Thanks to Harry for helping me fix the autoplay problem)

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm Turning Off My TV This Summer. Here's Why.

Today is the beginning of what we call in the TV biz the "Fall upfronts", which are advertiser presentations which double as the networks' announcements of their Fall schedules. NBC goes first today, ABC goes Tuesday, CBS goes Wednesday (and at that time, CBS would be wise to let the cat out of the bag as to who's hosting "The Price Is Right" in the fall), and The CW and Fox go Thursday.

It's a safe bet, then, that the networks are going to begin peppering us as to which of their fall shows will be the big hits. [ABC has started already flogging its new sitcom "Cavemen". STOP IT NOW.] Sometimes the ruse works ("My Name Is Earl" was flogged by NBC all summer in 2005 and once it got on the air it became a big hit), sometimes it doesn't (CBS' "Smith" which ran, what, two episodes?), but it's always annoying, especially to those of us (e.g. teachers) who don't like to have the start of Fall any sooner than it already is. Therefore, once the final new episode airs this Spring, the TV goes off. I'm probably even cancelling my cable too. So there.

And ditto to you retailers who similarly want us to buy our back to school things in early July.


Monday, May 07, 2007

The End Of The Gilmore Girls

John Ford, an old radio colleague of mine from the bad old days at Y107, called it a mile away.

Yeah, But Throwing Money At The Problem Never Works

Listen to this audio package that hearalded Roger Clemens' return to the Yankees. You'll probably think when you listen to this, "When did Rosie O'Donnell start broadcasting Yankees games?"

(Well, okay, it's actually Suzyn Waldman. Suz, honey, lay the heck off the caffeine, okay? And John Sterling, we can do without your "Thuhuhuhuhuhuh Yankees Win" call. Shut up.)

Saturday, May 05, 2007


As the release of "The Simpsons" movie draws closer, I often wonder how much of that promotional artwork signed by Matt Groening is actually drawn by him. I'm thinking zero.


A public service of

Monday, April 30, 2007

Something A Little Happy To End April On

Check this out. This is the Buddy Rich memorial concert from the mid-80's, and here's Dave Weckl sitting in with them on the Rich chart of "Mercy Mercy Mercy". At least he knows the chart!

Here's That Rainy Day

We've just learned of the death of saxophonist and arranger Tommy Newsom this past Saturday. He was the butt of many of Johnny Carson's jokes, but man could he play that saxophone. This was from perhaps his last TV appearance, in January of 2005, shortly after the passing of Carson. David Letterman paid tribute to the man he almost replaced by bringing in Newsom on tenor sax, Doc Severinsen on fluegelhorn, and Ed Shaughnessy on drum set - three "Tonight Show" band veterans - as well as a full string section, on Johnny's favorite song, "Here's That Rainy Day". If I'm not mistaken, I think this was arranged by Newsom. Please enjoy.

(Newsom, of course, was one of many fine musicians who populated the Tonight Show Band. You also had Ernie Watts and Pete Christlieb in the sax section, the trumpets were led by Snooky Young and Conte Candoli, and Gil Falco led the trombones. A very tight sound!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

7178: As Far As You Can Get From A No-Hitter

Five Mets pitchers scattered a grand total of 20 hits in the 11-5 debacle attended in person by the Mackey Brothers today. Cruddy weather and subpar expensive food - plus seats under the canopy in the Loge - combined to make this one of our least memorable ballpark experiences. Perhaps we should wait for Citi Field to be finished?

Monday, April 23, 2007

7178: See You There!

Yes, Dave and Robair will be at Wednesday's Mets game, against the Colorado Rockies. I think Pelfrey's going for the Mets that day. Of course, the weather could change things... stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


current mood: what do you think?

7171: Maine Flirts, While Buehrle Flirts Harder

As we remind you every day here at, the New York Mets have never thrown a no-hitter. And this is one of the nights where it could really hurt.

John Maine took his no-hitter into the seventh inning before being broken up by the Florida Marlins' Miguel Cabrera.

And in Chicago, Mark Buehrle is about to take his no-hit bid in the ninth inning. As a Mets fan who's never tasted the glory of this rare baseball feat, I have no choice but to put on the whammy hex. See you in a few with the results.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Black Mark In Warner Bros. Cartoon History

Perhaps the only Warner Bros. cartoons not worthy of the name were the Road Runner cartoons produced by Format Films (acting as subcontactor for DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) under the mis-direction of Rudy Larriva. (They were bracketed by two far better cartoons actually produced at DePatie-Freleng with Bob McKimson directing.)

As his April Fool's joke, animation scholar Thad Komorowski has given us a pretty good overview of why Larriva's work is so rank. Sure, Larriva had at least one of Chuck Jones' animators aboard (Bob Bransford), but the other artists - which at times included even the great Virgil Ross - couldn't make a silk purse out of a coyote's ear. To borrow from my WB filmography, "Watch these cartoons and you'll know that WB censored the wrong 11 films!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Day At Millionaire: Update

My last green-room friend, Pittsburgh public radio personality Katherine Fink, played her game today and won... $8,000. I was hoping she'd go a little further, but congrats to her. She got tripped up on a question about what the actual name of the Prisoner of Azkabam (from the Harry Potter book) was.

Also, grab a copy of today's Ocean County Observer. There's a great piece about my appearance on the show and, surprise surprise, this very website is plugged! (Bonus!)

Cell Phone And Biggest Loser Update

If you're one of those lucky few who communicates with me via cellphone, you're going to be in for a wait of about a couple weeks. I have to wait until then to get a new phone and not pay a penalty to my carrier. My current cell phone, alas, is on its way out. I have a sentimental attachment to it, because it was the last gift Nancy ever gave me before she died. I'll probably keep it, although it doesn't work as well as it used to. So be patient if I don't get back to you right away, or call me on my regular phone. I'm in the book (I think).

Also, Biggest Loser update! MC is now officially out of the competition due to her pregnancy. (Yahoo!) We don't know about TC, and TM is busy counting inches, but for me, I've lost so far a total of 16 lbs. Meaning, I'm looking a lot less like Jerry Lewis on Prednisone than I did when I was on "Millionaire", taped five months ago.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Day At "Millionaire": 2

When last we left you, our merry band of wannabe millionaires was examining the set of the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" game show. We tested out the hot seat, taking the advice that the butt is always the first and last thing to go into or out of the chair. By this time, we're all wearing what we will be seen on TV, with one more outfit in reserve if we're called back a second time. Meredith has enough clothes for five shows and maybe more in her dressing room, all courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue.

We retreated to the Green Room and watched a tape of a memorable "Millionaire" contestant. This was the gentleman who ran a music store on Staten Island and suffered considerable property damage in a flood. He won $250,000, placing him squarely in the pantheon of "Millionaire" legends. By this time, Meredith Vieira is in her dressing room at ABC and the audience, including girlfriend Tracy, is in and getting their warmup. Lunch-type food is brought out. Our day is almost half over and we haven't even taped a single show yet.

Time was when the job of game show announcer and warmup guy were one and the same. Now, since most game shows have dispensed with the announcer position, warmups don't have to worry about reading prize copy. The warmup guy for "Millionaire" is very entertaining and puts the audience in the proper mindset to enjoy five episodes taped back-to-back. Meantime, a bunch of us are backstage taping those bumpers you sometimes see of contestants waiting to go backstage, and also promos for all contestants outside of New York City (Channel 7 does not run contestant-specific promos for the show).

Finally, 12 noon occurs, the set lights brighten, and we are on our way to taping Episodes 881-885 of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". We have an air feed in the Green Room so we can watch the shows as they're being taped. The returning contestant has a companion in the audience. When director Matt Cohen gets a shot of her, Tracy is there in the background! "She's here!" I think to myself.

Shortly after the first game commences, contestant producers randomly pick the next three players to be on deck. One of those three will again be randomly chosen to go next into the hot seat. When the pool is down to two, another one is whisked out of the Green Room. This, plus random selection of question stacks, helps keep the show from being "fixed". I'm one of the lucky ones to be called! Yahoo! I'm going to be playing the game in a few minutes. (Or so I think.)

Show 1 ends. I'm still backstage.

Show 2 ends. I'm still backstage.

Show 3 ends. I'm still backstage.

After the third show there is a union-mandated meal break for the crew, so we are treated to yet more food in the Green Room. Our continuing contestant must remain separate from the rest of us, so she's eating in the hair/makeup area.

Show 4 begins taping. Our hidey-hole is a backstage area with a small black-and-white monitor, and no mikes. We actually talk and answer questions during the taping, but no one can hear us on stage because the music and PA is so loud in the studio. There are a lot of questions I know, including one about an electronic musical instrument called the Theremin. I'm thinking... "Wow! Hope my questions are that easy...."

"The next contestant is.... DAVE!"

Showtime. Before I even have time to think, I'm out of my backstage hot seat chair, and the only thing holding me back from rushing the stage and claiming Meredith Vieira for my own is the right arm of stage manager Smith Sumroy. (His dad, Jack, did the same job 30 years ago for "The $20,000 Pyramid" for ABC. I feel his heritage.)

Smith drops his arm and I rather awkwardly lumber on the stage. Like a child who's just beginning to realize he can run. I shake Meredith's hand and land in the hot seat, butt first, just as we were told.

What you saw on TV was pretty much what happened. I can share with you this tidbit... during the Phone a Friend, you can see Meredith and I talking, and you can only hear the phone sounds. What Meredith was asking there was if Bob was my identical twin, and I replied, "Yes he is."

About 15 minutes later, it was over. My ignorance on Monegasques kept me from enjoying more money than I did. We did a pickup on one of Meredith's question reads, and then I was ushered backstage by Adam Matalon to meet Tracy and fill out some forms. Tracy greeted me with a hug and kiss and said she was proud of the job I did. I filled out some tax forms, gathered up my things, and headed back with Tracy to the Lucerne. It was a lovely fall day, more like summer. We had alfresco dinner (in the middle of November, no less) with very expensive wine. Time to celebrate. I had reached my goal of getting on "Millionaire", and I'd do it again if I could.

But I can't. I can only be on the show once.

So look out "Jeopardy!", here I come!

© 2007 Dave Mackey

Dave with his $8,000 fake check. Photo by Tracy Meyer

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Day At "Millionaire"

My "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" day began months ago, with a contestant exam at the Millionaire studios in New York City. It was late June, the summer warmth just beginning, my brain bursting with all sorts of facts. The test passed, I talk to a producer. Apparently he sees something in me that wasn't picked up on when last I passed the test, so I get the postcard telling me I'm in the contestant pool.

All through the summer, I think nothing more of the postcard, as "Millionaire" isn't to tape until August. I know that the season dates have been moved up somewhat to accomodate host Meredith Vieira's new schedule with "The Today Show" so they get a lot of their taping done before Meredith even starts on "Today". So, as September turns to October, I don't think my chances are that good of getting on.

Until Monday, October 30, when a qualifier calls to tell me that I've made the show and I'm to appear at ABC Studios in New York on November 9 for a taping. Yahoo! My girlfriend and her daughters are ecstatic. We make all the necessary arrangements with the Lucerne Hotel and gather up all the paperwork we need to satisfy "Millionaire" producers that I am indeed me.

We arrive in New York the night before, on a rainy Wednesday. I have a bit of a contretemps with a pedestrian who thinks I've intruded upon his sacred crosswalk. I mutter various anatomic-derived nicknames for the man as I finally give up trying to find a parking space in upper Manhattan and give the valet my keys.

The "Millionaire" day begins in earnest at 7:00 a.m., when about a dozen contestants gather outside the studio on West 66th Street. My cab pulls up right at 7:00. We size each other up for the first time, grateful we aren't playing each other, then are led to the Green Room, where we'll be spending a LOT of our day. Meredith Vieira, meanwhile, is trading verbal ripostes with Al Roker and Matt Lauer over at 30 Rock.

We meet with our respective contestant producers. I am assigned to the senior C.P., Darren Atlee. Great guy who really knows how to create interesting stories and craft good material for Meredith to work with. We do get to know some of the other folks. One of the associate producers has come down with a very nasty cold and is debating whether or not to call it an early day. I try to steer clear of the poor girl.

We have a nice breakfast spread in the Green Room, decorated with many pictures from "Millionaire" history. While most spot Nancy Christy, Kevin Smith and John Carpenter, I'm the only one who recognizes Eddie Timanus, the USA Today sportswriter who was the first blind undefeated champ in "Jeopardy!" history.

Rich Sirop, the show's senior producer, comes in and tells us about the rules of the game and gives us some useful hints. He also notifies us the shows taping today will air the week of April 2, 2007. And yes, Meredith Vieira is hosting today, in the wake of press reports that have indicated that Meredith is bringing in guest hosts for a few weeks this year. (I can't get any more information out of Darren as to whether the guest hosts will include the rumored Tom Bergeron, so I leave it at that.) NOTE: Tom Bergeron indeed was a guest host the week of May 14-18, 2007.

The show's attorney, Francesca Harewood, comes in and tells us of the legal ramifications of being on the show and has a whole bunch o' releases for us to sign, including the caveat that will rule my life for the next five months: I am not to reveal the outcome of any games I experience, including my own. Publicity maven Trisha Miller comes in and tells us about what kind of answers we can give interviewers, and has some more forms to fill out about what local station we watch the show on and the names of our local newspapers and radio stations.

Stage manager Adam Matalon then gives us a tour of the set, so we can see the hot seat close up and walk on that precarious-looking glass floor. He tells us our eyes should be fixed on either the screen or Meredith at all times. We are taught the specific technique to get in and out of the hot seat chair, several of which are going to be backstage for practice.

Part 2 tomorrow! Lots more to tell.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Not Quite A Million, But...

Well, the "Millionaire" experience has come and gone. Recognizing that not all markets have seen the show yet, I can't say too much more about it. However, I had a blast, and from all reports both schools I teach at were thrilled to see one of their own on a game show.

I'll be doing a radio interview tomorrow on WOBM; you can listen live at the station's website about 6:40 a.m.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Scrappy Birthday, Harry

As we always do on April 2, we wish a happy birthday to our longtime pal Harry McCracken, editor-in-chief of PC World Magazine, and proprietor of his own sites, including Scrappyland, the web's best resource on that famous Columbia cartoon character of the 1930's. Cheers to you and we're all looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco this summer!

Friday, March 30, 2007

More Millionaire Stuff...

As next Thursday draws nearer, here's another article that gets just about all the facts right... except my name!

Also, I'll be doing a radio interview sometime next week with Shawn and Sue on WOBM-FM, thanks to Kevin Williams. Way back in the day, I worked with Kevin at that station and helped out with the WOBM Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament.

UPDATE: Just talked to Sue Moll at WOBM. I'll be talking on air with them on Friday morning at 6:40 a.m. You can listen online at

Dave Mackey Wants To Be A Millionaire!

During the week of the New Jersey teacher's convention, I uncharacteristically played hooky. I usually approach the convention with a great amount of relish, but this year I had a pretty good reason to stay away. I was in New York City taping an appearance on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", and that show will air in syndication on April 5 (next Thursday). It's been an interesting five months, but I've managed to keep the secret of how much money I won on the program. We'll talk more about it after the show has aired. In the meantime, watch next Thursday.

Asbury Park Press Article

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Mets No-Hitter Count Rides Again!

Started eons ago by Robair on his old "Eggplant" blog (remember that?), we will once again be daily updating that number you see on the left side of the main page. And hopefully not for too much longer.

2007 begins my fifth decade of being a Mets fan. And lo those many forty years, the New York Mets have deprived its fans of baseball's ultimate joy - a no-hitter. There've been a number of one-hitters, and some of the Mets pitchers came very close last year. But this is the year I'd like to see one.

Please, Mets pitchers. Bring your A game to the mound every time out so I don't have to add one to this stinking number any more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Before Heather Mills...

The late, great Peg Leg Bates showed us that you CAN dance with one leg. Here's a clip from him from The Ed Sullivan Show. And NO, I don't think people tuned in to see if his leg would fall off.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

CompUSA To Close Most Stores

Mark Evanier weighs in with his thoughts on the CompUSA store closings. We're losing a CompUSA very close to me, in Brick, where I bought a lot of stuff over the years, including my trusty Acer notebook (which I just upgraded to Windows Vista). I like Mark's assertion that you can shop on the Internet for computer stuff and get the same amount of personal attention you get in your average CompUSA store - none.

(Disclosure: Robair worked for CompUSA, just before he got sick in 2000.)

Van For Sale

If you go to this page on eBay, you will find that I've finally decided to sell my van. I no longer have use for it and it will soon become a redundant vehicle in my household as Tracy already has a van and it gets the job done. If you have a wheelchair passenger you transport on a regular basis, it may be worth your while to check it out. This is a very nice vehicle.

Monday, March 12, 2007

More Boop

Here's one from the period where Betty Boop was reduced to cameo appearances in cartoons starring other characters like Pudgy, Wiffle Piffle, and Grampy. Those characters were each the invention of a specific Fleischer staff animator; respectively, Myron Waldman, Tom Johnson, and Dave Tendlar. This 1938 example, produced shortly before Fleischer moved to Miami, is called "Riding The Rails" and features Pudgy, here animated by Myron Waldman and Hicks Lokey (later a fixture at Hanna-Barbera). This one has a sprightly music score featuring lighter instruments. (There was a Popeye a few years earlier that used similar instrumentation... I think it was "Let's Get Movin'" "Cops Is Always Right".) So you see, the later Boops aren't entirely worthless.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Batfink DVD Coming!

Well, someone got the hint! Shout! Factory is going to be releasing all 100 episodes of Batfink on DVD on June 19, 2007. You can order it from Amazon here... Batfink: The Complete Series

Betty Boop Shakes Those Housecleaning Blues...

She's real fine, my 409. But I don't think that's Mae Questel as Betty...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More Fun With Popeye!

More Popeye for your Wednesday morning. Here, for your enjoyment is a 1952 Popeye cartoon, "Shuteye Popeye", complete with commentary track provided by what sounds like a couple of Italians who've been up late. They even try to read the credits but don't get past I. Sparber.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Another Cartoon Classic Comes To Video!

How come I'm just now finding out that one of the class DVD distributors, Shout! Factory, is coming out with The Milton The Monster Show on video on March 20? This is the one we've all been waiting for and hopefully the Hal Seeger Studios crew did a good restoration job on these. Order yours from Amazon (and we get some €'s) by clicking on the monster's good name.

(P.S. to Shout! Factory: You should really hire that writer who came up with the first line of the ad copy on your site for the Milton DVD's!)