Monday, December 29, 2008

Macho and "Marley and Me"

I took the family to see "Marley and Me" last night, the somewhat tear-jerking tale of a newspaper columnist and his yellow Labrador retriever. On its surface, the movie is marketed as a "what a crazy dog" sort of film. But once inside, you actually get a story full of heart as this crazy dog worms his way into the lives of the couple who adopts him and the three children they eventually add to their family.

Not to say that this movie should be construed as a dog training film. The characters played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston make many, many mistakes in raising a puppy. You bring home a puppy and leave him in a cardboard box in the garage rather than a crate? Your dog has something inappropriate in his mouth, and you chase him rather than luring him with a dog treat to get him to drop what he has in his mouth?

My emotional stake in the film was furthered that I owned a yellow Lab very much of the same temperament as Marley. His name was Macho and he was a wonderful pet. I had to give him up when I got married a year ago. I often think that Macho has been adopted into a loving home that would accept him, warts and all. Macho was adopted a few months before my first wife died, and for the couple of years afterward that I had him, he was probably the only dog I could truly say was mine and mine alone. I have a wonderful puppy now, but I'll always remember Macho and what his companionship meant to me in the months after my wife's passing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"It May Be Toxic, But I Don't Care"

From an early 2006 episode of "Dancing with the Stars", here is Jonathan Roberts and his amateur partner, Rachel Hunter, dancing the tango to an excellent adaptation of Britney Spears' "Toxic" by Harold Wheeler and the DWTS orchestra. And this dance was very well received by the judges. Lisa Canning is conducting the kiss & cry (as they'd call it in figure skating) interview; she was later replaced by Samantha Harris. Three years after the fact this is still one of my favorites from the show.

Merry (ACHOO!) Christmas!

Ever been sick at Christmas? It seems to be a recurring thing with me. Two out of the last three Christmases, including this one, I've had really bad colds. One time I had food poisoning from too rare meat at Christmas eve dinner. And when I was a child, all the Mackey children were quarantined with chicken pox at the Holiday season.

I think I stand a pretty good chance of getting in to see a doctor on Friday. Everyone else will be returning Christmas gifts!

Whatever your health, happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Signpost Up Ahead Is Calling

This is a strangely-staged song, but it well worth your time. The 1979 Manhattan Transfer song "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" in a live version. The guitar solo is Jay Graydon, coming nowhere near the overdubbed solo he did on the original recording. Janis Siegel is on lead vocals. That may be Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax. I like Janis' little embellishment at the end... "just you and I, here in the twilight". The other MT's are Cheryl Bentyne, Alan Paul and Tim Hauser.

Joanie Get Angry?

From 1985, here is k.d. lang, with a rip-snortin' take on the 1962 Joanie Sommers song, "Johnny Get Angry". lang does not change the lyrics of the song to suit her sexual preference, but gives an honest reading that really strips away the sugar-coated goodness of the sweet-voiced Sommers. The arrangement is an adaptation of the 1962 original by Tommy Oliver.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looks Like It's Bye Bye Globat

For the second time in five weeks, our homepage redirect has been changed without our knowledge or consent.

Part of our mission at is to provide our readers with an environment free from ads and spyware garbage. Our site has recently been redirected to two sites that I feel do not provide this.

Globat, our hosting provider (and I feel that it's time to name names), has been advised that they must provide me with adequate security for what I pay them to host my sites, or they will no longer be hosting my sites.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting A Little Stormy Out

Here's the video I wanted to post when Dennis Yost's death was reported last week. This is "Stormy" - a lipsync of the recording. I had suspected for years that an organ was used on this song, and someone sitting at a B3 is all the confirmation I need.

I'd like to know what's up with the sax player's shirt.

"OMG! Someone Got The Showcase Right! What Do We Do Now?"

This clip has generated a lot of debate on Internet game show boards. It is from Tuesday's episode of "The Price is Right", where apparently a fellow with a great love of the show and a photographic memory shouted out a number (23743) to a contestant, which sounded reasonable enough to bid.

What's hacking people off his how Drew Carey really underplayed this moment. And whether Mr. Know-It-All belongs in the audience of "Price".

Your Weather Forecast

Sure, this is from the dark ages, but I really, really liked this weather forecaster.

Walter Monheit Lives!

Only now, he's cloned himself and changed his name to Peter Travers and Pete Hammond.

Bonus points if you even remember Walter Monheit, and which magazine he gave his reviews for. Fire off a comment if you know.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sen. Kennedy, Again?

There are two schools of thought regarding Caroline Kennedy's pursuit of the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

School of Thought 1: Mrs. Schlossberg is worthy of this seat, being the lone survivor of Camelot, and with her uncle Ted clearly not having a lot of time left, this Senate seat, once occupied by her late uncle Bobby, is her birthright.

School of Thought 2: What the hell?

What do I think? I've always admired Caroline for the dignity that she's shown staying out of the Kennedy family circus (like in the 70's, where tabloid headlines regularly screamed about Ted and Joan, and Jackie's activities). She has had a wonderfully happy marriage and three children and a prestigious Park Avenue address. Does all this entitle her for a Senate seat? As much as it entitles me. It sounded like a good idea when I first heard it, but I have to side with School of Thought 2.


Bob Sassone of TV Squad discusses "The Magnificent Marble Machine" and links to a YouTube presentation of what is possibly the only existing episode of the short-lived 1976 series.

Sassone gives all the facts correctly. The program was a concoction of the Merrill Heatter-Bob Quigley production company, which had greater successess with stuff like "High Rollers" and "The Hollywood Squares".

At the time of the show, pinball was ruling the arcades, with Gottlieb (Surfer, Bank Shot, Buccaneer), Williams (Space Mission, Aztec), Bally (Black Jack, Night Rider, Old Chicago) and Chicago Coin (Cinema, Sound Stage) putting oustanding product on location. (Of those four companies, only Chicago Coin still is in the pin biz under the name Stern.)

So why didn't this game show work? Because of its size, the machine action is very clunky, and the camera angles favored by director Jerome Shaw did little to enhance the action. Celebrities included the likes of Florence Henderson, Gary Burghoff, Leslie Uggams, Earl Holliman... you know the type. And one wonders if host Art James was aware of the absurdity of the whole exercise and just played along because he was such a pro.

The one thing that was improved about the show since this episode - which I believe was the fourth episode produced - was that music man Mort Garson eventually came up with more cues for the front-game ticker. And I do believe that NBC eventually demanded the show convert to an all-star format, which proved that the network didn't learn their lesson from tinkering with "Baffle" in the same way several years earlier.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New On Our Blogroll

Our blogroll keeps getting bigger and bigger. Jill Pantozzi is our newest blogroll member who has an impressive blog about comic books, called "Has Boobs, Reads Comics". I was a comic collector back in the old days and still have an appreciation for those who ply the art today, as well as the living and departed legends of the field. Jill seems to like DC Comics best, and I would have to say I leaned more toward DC than Marvel in my collecting days.

Jill's not only a comic fan, but she's also a radio disk jockey for WJLK-FM. She's on from 10pm-2am. And her birthday is coming up soon or has passed (NOTE: it's today - born on 12/14/1982) - so happy birthday Jill and congrats for making the blogroll!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I don't want to hear... ads for films that HAVEN'T EVEN COME OUT YET that include the line, "...and now, (name of movie) has been nominated for (number) Golden Globe Awards!" THE MOVIE ISN'T EVEN OUT YET!

The Golden Globes are a total waste of my time! Who has time to go to the movies during the holidays?

Putz In The Eighth...

The Mets have traded with Seattle for J.J. Putz, who will primarily be setup to K-Rod. Among the players cast off are now-superfluous arms Joe Smith and Aaron Heilman (so you threw a one-hitter once... well, good riddance).

Putz should wear the number 20, which Howard Johnson should gladly yield to the setup man.

However, the Mets website is not letting me make a PUTZ 20 jersey, like I did for K-Rod. The website claims it's because of "past and present player names". Or is it because "putz" is a Yiddish word for a part of the male anatomy?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There Is Joy In Metville

So do I get the custom jersey, or wait for the production ones to come into the stores?

EDIT 12/14/2008 - Majestic Athletic has indeed released two T-shirts for Rodriguez, a black one that reads RODRIGUEZ across the back, and a light blue (?) one that reads K-ROD instead, both bearing his uniform number of 75.

New On Our Blogroll

The Dick Summer Connection. Ever hear/see TV or radio spots for Binder & Binder? Then you've heard Dick Summer's voice at least once, since his company produces those spots and he does the voiceovers. But before that, he was a radio disk jockey with some pretty big stations on his résumé like WBZ in Boston and the old WNBC in New York. Yes, I'm olde enough to remember Dick on WNBC. Well, he has a thoughtful, literate, and fun blog. So we're blogrolling it. Congratulations, Dick.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"ER" and "E/R"

Years before the NBC medical drama "ER", there was a sitcom called "E/R" (note the slash) that was set in an emergency room.

I can think of four performers who were on both shows. George Clooney is the only one who was in the regular cast of both, and Mary McDonnell (who is now on "Grey's Anatomy") was a cast member on slashy "E/R" and a guest star on no slashy "ER". Luis Avalos (always best remembered to me as a cast member from "The Electric Company") and Conchata Ferrell were cast members on the comedy and each did one episode of the drama.

Warner Bros., if they really want to mess with Sasquatch, should bring as many of the old "E/R" cast as they can to one of the final episodes of "ER", which is ending up its 15-year-run in March.


Details here. I weighed myself this morning. Remember Dave's Weight Loss Challenge? I'm down to 197 now. I officially weighed in 2 years ago at 234, but was probably close to 250 lbs. at my heaviest, which was just after Thanksgiving 2006.


You can have your A-Rod, Yankees. The Mets got their K-Rod today when reports surfaced that Francisco Rodriguez has signed to a 3-year, $37 million deal. The free agent closer will replace Billy Wagner, coming off Tommy John surgery, for the 2009 baseball season, the Mets' first in Citi Field.

Good show, Minaya. But you got to get to Rodriguez first. What's your plan then? The same panoply of tired arms that ruined our 2008 chances? Heilman? Schoeneweiss? Parnell? Smith (arguably the Mets' best arm right now, outside of K-Rod)? Or you still got a little money left for a good set up man?

Monday, December 08, 2008

An Earlier Late Night

The New York Times' Bill Carter on plans to move Jay Leno to a new 10 p.m. nightly time slot.

Needless to say, this is a good plan for NBC, which hasn't exactly set the 10 p.m. timeslot on fire in recent years. Acknowledging that basic cable and premium cable now seem to have the edge in producing quality TV drama, the network is going to put Jay Leno in a new 10 p.m. time slot, still doing his show from Studio 3 in Burbank.

Television has gone through many changes, but I really think we're going to see a sea change in how TV is programmed in the next decade, particularly if Jay Leno takes hold at 10:00 p.m.

My only problem with the whole Leno deal is that really undercuts and devalues Conan O'Brien taking over Leno's old time slot. What's the point of going on at 11:37 p.m. when you're still playing second fiddle to Leno?

NOTE: I posted this before I read this - Mark Evanier makes many of the same points, and even uses some of the same phraseology, including "sea change".

Dennis Yost 1943-2008

The lead singer of the 60's pop group The Classics IV died yesterday at the age of 65. He had been in ill health for some time.

Dennis' biggest hit with the group was "Traces", a video for which appears below. It was one of the biggest records of 1969. The group is also noted for such songs as "Spooky", "Everyday With You Girl" and "Stormy", recently adapted by R&B singer John Legend as "Save Room".