Sunday, December 26, 2010

McCracken News Tidbits

Just when you thought there were no words to mark the passing of mime performer Lorene Yarnell, here's Elizabeth McCracken with a whole bunch of them in this year's contribution to The New York Times' annual necrology feature.

And while we're talking McCracken, congrats to my pal of 20 years, Harry McCracken, on his marriage today to the lovely Marie Domingo.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weight Loss Update

It's been two years since I gave you an update on my weight loss program. Let's give you some background. I weighed close to 250 lbs. in October 2006, roughly about the time I met Tracy. My first wife had been gone a year and the next year was an orgy of meals out and badly executed home meals. Blew up like a balloon.

I looked at myself in a mirror four years ago Thanksgiving and thought I looked pregnant. Which is no kind of shape for a 45-year-old male to be.

I embarked on a weight loss contest with Tracy the following January, and by April was down 16 pounds to 234.

The following December, 197.

A month later, six more pounds miraculously shed. 191.

Fast forward almost two years, with an increased exercise regimen including lots of walking and ballroom dancing (thank you, Fred Astaire). Thanksgiving morning, 2010, I step on the scale, and lo and behold - 178. I have never weighed that little in my adult life, perhaps since the last year of college.

Am I going to keep going? Yes. When I went on my first weight loss plan, I thought 175 was a reachable goal, and now I'm within five pounds of that. I am setting my sights even bigger and hopefully by this time next year, I'll see 160.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Covering Charlie

Charlie O'Donnell, who died on November 1, gave "Wheel of Fortune" 28 years of prize copy, everything from ceramic dalmatians to "ONE MILLLLLLLLION DOLLARS!"

Why, then, is Sony Pictures Television trying to erase his final performances on the show?

Game show fan friends have been watching "Wheel" quite closely lately. Some have even been to tapings and have noticed O'Donnell's presence, but the shows that have aired since O'Donnell's passing have had a different voice reading the copy, that of incumbent "Jeopardy!" announcer Johnny Gilbert. The show has even gone so far as to have Pat Sajak overdub his throws to "Charlie" and replace them with "Johnny". (Check the closed captioning and see if it still says "Charlie"...)

My guess on the situation is that much of "Wheel" is narrated in post, but if Charlie was there, then we should still be able to hear him. "Wheel" producers could rationalize that it would be too confusing to viewers to still hear Charlie after his death was widely reported, much in the same way "What's My Line?" viewers of 40 years ago could still enjoy syndicated episodes with Bennett Cerf long after he left us.

The show is searching for a new announcer, and so far the front-runner is former "Price is Right" announcer Rich Fields, who has already taped several weeks of shows.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fox/Cablevision Dispute resolved

And no, I'm not going to run to my TV to watch the World Series.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy 35th, SNL

"Let us begin. Repeat after me. 'I would like...'"

"I would like..."

"' feed your fingertips...'"

" feed your fingertips..."

"' the wolverines.'"

" the wolverines."

35 years later, the show is still here. Happy 35th, SNL, and in celebration, we've freshened up the SNL Band Pages with a new year-by-year timeline and updated bios of all the regulars.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


combined no hitters not counted
10/06/10 Philadelphia Phillies (Roy Halladay - postseason game)
07/26/10 Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Garza - team's first)
06/25/10 Arizona Diamondbacks (Edwin Jackson)
05/09/10 Oakland A's (Dallas Braden - perfect game)
04/17/10 Colorado Rockies (Ubaldo Jiminez, team's first)
07/23/09 Chicago White Sox (Mark Buehrle - perfect game)
07/10/09 San Francisco Giants (Jonathan Sanchez)
09/14/08 Chicago Cubs (Carlos Zambrano)
05/19/08 Boston Red Sox (Jon Lester)
06/12/07 Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander)
09/06/06 Florida Marlins (Anibal Sanchez)
05/18/04 Arizona Diamondbacks (Randy Johnson - perfect game)
09/03/01 St. Louis Cardinals (Bud Smith)
09/11/99 Minnesota Twins (Eric Milton)
07/18/99 New York Yankees (David Cone - perfect game)
09/17/96 Los Angeles Dodgers (Hideo Nomo)
07/28/94 Texas Rangers (Kenny Rogers - perfect game)
04/08/94 Atlanta Braves (Kent Mercker)
09/08/93 Houston Astros (Darryl Kile - vs. METS)
04/22/93 Seattle Mariners (Chris Bosio)
08/26/91 Kansas City Royals (Bret Saberhagen)
07/26/91 Montreal Expos (Dennis Martinez - perfect game - now Washington Nationals)
09/02/90 Toronto Blue Jays (Dave Stieb)
09/16/88 Cincinnati Reds (Tom Browning - perfect game)
04/15/87 Milwaukee Brewers (Juan Nieves)
09/30/84 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Mike Witt - perfect game)
05/15/81 Cleveland Indians (Len Barker)
08/09/76 Pittsburgh Pirates (John Candelaria)
08/13/69 Baltimore Orioles (Jim Palmer)
NEVER San Diego Padres (team's inception, 1969)
NEVER New York Mets (team's inception, 1962)

Sunday, October 03, 2010


No Mets talk until spring training, at least. Will be happy to see Omar and Jerry out the door, and hopefully management can get some good arms that will not only get the Mets to the playoffs and the World Series, but possibly also pitch a no-hitter next year in the Mets' 50th season.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It was nine years ago today. I showered, dressed, kissed Nancy and Trisha goodbye, and made the drive from Toms River to Eatontown, where I was still working for Comcast Cable Advertising. It was a beautiful fall day, cool air and bright blue sky, with a half moon overhead that would slowly blend into the sky as it descended. I said good morning to my compartiots, Louise and Denise, and started printing out our log reconciliations from the Monday before. Tuesdays during a non-billing week were generally slow-type days, on which we could concentrate on polishing log templates or catching up on entering orders and then running avails.

A WABC-TV news anchor broke into the waning minutes of "Good Morning America" at about 8:55 a.m. to report that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. The news cameras trained on the towers. At 9:03 a.m. a horrified world saw another plane hit the other tower. At 9:42 a.m. came word that the Pentagon had been similarly hit. By 10:50 came word that yet another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania.

2 WTC collapsed at 9:59 a.m. 1 WTC a half hour later. Comcast sent everyone home as soon as they could get their work done for the day. I saw the smoke from the parking lot in Eatontown, ruining the beautiful blue sky day.

New York City, town of many nicknames, sadly earned a new one that day: Ground Zero.

Nearly 3000 people died in the carnage of all the combined incidents. Please pray for their survivors today.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BP Trouble?

Hi, folks. Been a while since I have talked to you about my health. As you may or may not know, I have had some real health issues over the years, beginning with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes in 1996. Three surgeries for detached retinas in 1998. Hospitalizations in 2003 for high blood sugar and 2004 for heart issues. The last introduced me to my cardiologist, Dr. Douedi.

High blood pressure has been a fact of my life for quite some time but I think that we've finally come up with medications that have worked to bring it down. My last three BP readings have been in the 100-120 range systolic which is my target range. 140 is not normal for me, and I've run much higher than that for some time. Then, I got to thinking about my blood pressure kit. Mark Evanier discussed it in his blog last year. At the time the consensus was that the meters read 20 points too high. Do any of you - either Blog readers or Facebook friends - have any experience with this type blood pressure meter?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Also New on the Blogroll

A couple of years ago at the big Tournament in Brooklyn we met this wonderful and very funny lady who likes to go by the name of Polly Esther. (I don't know if she'd want me to share her real name.) She is a performance artist and comedienne who lives in Toronto and has now been to the ACPT twice. Anyway, this year we wised up and caught up with her on Facebook, and now Polly's got her own blog called "Polly's Piece of Peace". Should be fun if it's anything like Polly is. Look for it to the right on the big ol' Blogroll.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

New on the Blogroll

I have added Deb Amlen to the blogroll. Deb is a very funny and very nice lady who has written a book called "It's Not PMS, It's You!" and has a very funny humor blog. Check it out often. Deb also makes crossword puzzles.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


combined no hitters not counted
07/26/10 Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Garza - team's first)
06/25/10 Arizona Diamondbacks (Edwin Jackson)
05/29/10 Philadelphia Phillies (Roy Halladay - perfect game)
05/09/10 Oakland A's (Dallas Braden - perfect game)
04/17/10 Colorado Rockies (Ubaldo Jiminez, team's first)
07/23/09 Chicago White Sox (Mark Buehrle - perfect game)
07/10/09 San Francisco Giants (Jonathan Sanchez)
09/14/08 Chicago Cubs (Carlos Zambrano)
05/19/08 Boston Red Sox (Jon Lester)
06/12/07 Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander)
09/06/06 Florida Marlins (Anibal Sanchez)
05/18/04 Arizona Diamondbacks (Randy Johnson - perfect game)
09/03/01 St. Louis Cardinals (Bud Smith)
09/11/99 Minnesota Twins (Eric Milton)
07/18/99 New York Yankees (David Cone - perfect game)
09/17/96 Los Angeles Dodgers (Hideo Nomo)
07/28/94 Texas Rangers (Kenny Rogers - perfect game)
04/08/94 Atlanta Braves (Kent Mercker)
09/08/93 Houston Astros (Darryl Kile - vs. METS)
04/22/93 Seattle Mariners (Chris Bosio)
08/26/91 Kansas City Royals (Bret Saberhagen)
07/26/91 Montreal Expos (Dennis Martinez - perfect game - now Washington Nationals)
09/02/90 Toronto Blue Jays (Dave Stieb)
09/16/88 Cincinnati Reds (Tom Browning - perfect game)
04/15/87 Milwaukee Brewers (Juan Nieves)
09/30/84 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Mike Witt - perfect game)
05/15/81 Cleveland Indians (Len Barker)
08/09/76 Pittsburgh Pirates (John Candelaria)
08/13/69 Baltimore Orioles (Jim Palmer)
NEVER San Diego Padres (team's inception, 1969)
NEVER New York Mets (team's inception, 1962)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sitting Out The Next "Dance" For Good

I am so done with "Dancing with the B-List". Tired of all the backstage romances that really clutter up the show, and the politics of casting the celebrities and pros to encourage this.

Show's run its course, why do another one?

And it would kill Betty White.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jack Hannah and Freeloading Feline

An important transitional cartoon for the Walter Lantz studio. Lantz was always on the lookout for castoff cartoonists from other studios, and when Walt Disney curtailed its shorts unit in the late 50's, it left a lot of talent looking for a home. Some went to work for Hanna-Barbera, but Jack Hannah - one of the last shorts directors at Disney, responsible for some screamingly funny Donald Duck and Humphrey Bear cartoons - found work with Walter Lantz for a few years. Hannah did some cartoons in the Doc series, the character originating with Alex Lovy a few years prior, as well as Inspector Willoughby, Woody Woodpecker, the Beary Family, and a character named Fatso Bear - a thinly-veiled knockoff of Humphrey Bear. This is his first Doc cartoon, "Freeloading Feline", which Hannah also wrote, and it's probably the funniest example of this character.

Hannah had been hired because Lantz was looking for someone with live-action TV experience to direct the wraparounds for the Woody Woodpecker TV show. Hannah brought with him some Disney colleagues such as animators Al Coe and Roy Jenkins and background artist Ray Huffine.

The credits of this cartoon reveal an interesting mix of old and new. This is animated by Coe and pioneering female animator La Verne Harding, who spent almost 30 years working for Lantz. Huffine does the backgrounds here with Raymond Jacobs, who left the Lantz studio after this cartoon (the other background guy at the time was Art Landy). Coe and Huffine got the most out of their Lantz experience: Huffine was with the studio until 1968 and Coe was still there at the studio's shutdown in 1972.

The music is by Eugene Poddany, who'd been working with Lantz since about 1956 or so to give Clarence Wheeler a break once in a while. Lantz at this time also brought back his classic 1940's music director, Darrell Calker. Poddany eventually became music director for Chuck Jones at M-G-M.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Crystal Clear

With just two weeks to go before "American Idol" leaves the air for the season - not coincidentally coinciding with the last day of May Sweeps - it's all but on paper that Crystal Bowersox is your next American Idol. Crystal of late has begun evoking the early Jewel, right down to the less-than-perfect smile. She has worked very hard since her pre-teens to get to this performance level. She above all others is worthy of the crown.

Crystal really did good for herself in both her solo and duet performances on Tuesday, but somehow wound up in the bottom echelon of contestants Wednesday night. Tuesday, Crystal mined deeper meaning out of the goofy Kenny Loggins "I'm All Right" from "Caddyshack", and really shone in her face to face duet with Lee DeWyze, while the dizzying 360-degree camerawork of director Bruce Gowers seemed to favor neither contestant.

Last year we had Adam and Kris in the finals; year before that the two Davids. Last female in the finals was Jordin Sparks three years ago, who won. I'm hoping for Crystal and Lee in the finals. Lee has just been a house on fire the last few weeks and should be on the Nokia stage with Crystal on May 25.

Next week, we will have video packages of Lee, Crystal and Casey's return to their respective home cities, and two songs from each contestant. The following week I think the finalists do four songs each. It should be entertaining.

Last point: as long as we're talking winning "Idol" it does not necessarily mean that second place is the first loser. Look at Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert... all post-Idol successes who didn't win the big prize.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Lives They Lived: 2009 Edition

Due to our St. John trip, we neglected to check the annual New York Times Magazine necrological feature and in particular the annual subject of one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth McCracken. Here is her write up of two people buried in their own way - one an underground explorer, the other a woman who spent 61 years in an iron lung.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Sesame Street Flashback

Did you know that's GRACE SLICK singing on this? 41 years I've been watching this and I never made the connection. This short appeared on the very first episode of "Sesame Street" on November 10, 1969.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Allen Swift 1924-2010

Allen Swift, kids show host and voice actor, has died at the age of 86. The death was reported by animator Gene Deitch, who noted that Swift was "the last of my American buddies" and frequently visited Swift on trips to New York City from his home in Prague.

Deitch used Swift quite a bit in his cartoons. Here's a fun example, a 1962 Tom and Jerry cartoon called "Dicky Moe". Deitch made 13 T&J cartoons in Prague with varying results - it's said that the animators only watched about five of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons to get the characters down. But when Deitch played with the Tom and Jerry formula, the results were better than if he just stuck to the cat-and-mouse chases. Every so often he'd call in Allen Swift to do some dialogue in the otherwise silent cartoons and that made the cartoons so much more interesting.

(This is the English version. Leave it to me to link to a version that doesn't even have Allen Swift in it!)

In addition to being in cartoons, Swift also presented them, on a kids show for Channel 11 in New York, as "Captain Allen Swift", presenting a daily dose of Popeye cartoons. Swift's voice work eventually took him away from TV hosting and his replacement was that fine old Irishman, Captain Jack McCarthy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Carnac of Idol

Maybe it's just because of the relatively weak pool of talent that was pushed through to the Hollywood round this year, but since the Top 12 shows began at the Idoldrome, I've become something of a genius in picking who is going home this week.

With the exception of the Michael Lynche "save" week (in which I picked Tim or Andrew to leave - I forget which), I've correctly predicted the departures of all of the contestants from the top 12 on down. And it's great for my pool at work, in which I picked Big Mike to win as a pre-emptive strike, given that the wonderful Crystal Bowersox has the top prize all but sewn up.

I just wish I had this foresight when I originally predicted who was going to be in the top 12 in the first place. Look at my crib sheet:

Boys: Aaron Kelly, Alex "Not Adam" Lambert, Tyler Grady, Todrick Hall, Lee DeWyze, Joe Munoz.

Girls: Katelyn Epperly, Ashley Rodriguez, Janell Wheeler, Lilly Scott, Siobhan Magnus, Didi Benami.

And I had Tyler Grady picked to win it all.

No Big Mike? No Mamasox? What was I thinking? Anyway, three of the top 12 I had picked are still alive. Next week, songs of inspiration.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Another Essential Mets Website, Plus Site News

On the Blogroll we continue to have a great site for Mets minutae fans, "Mets by the Numbers" - run by Jon Springer. Jon's been doing this site since 1999 and features rosters by number, complete uni history of each player, etc. (Springer has another claim to fame - his father was the late cartoonist Frank Springer.) From either that site or the aforementioned No No Hitters you can go to any of a number of other entertaining Mets blogs. Some of these we won't directly link to as they run counter to our language policy, but try Mets Grrl, It's Mets for Me, Crane Pooled, and Yes, Joe, It's Toasted for starters.

Now, the site news. As you can probably tell we've changed our colors from blue to green. I am going to be trying to make the site less templatey (if that's a word). We now also have opinion boxes for each post. We've got three categories, from best to worst: "Good", "Meh", and "WTF?" Be sure to cast your vote on every post.

Friday, April 02, 2010

The No-Hitter Count Rolls On...

Starting Monday, we will begin once more the annual baseball-season chore of advancing the Mets No No-Hitter Count at right by one every time the opposing team gets one hit or more per game, which is always. In 48 seasons, no New York Mets pitcher has ever recorded a no-hitter. (There was one combined no-hitter in spring training but it doesn't count.)

The No No-Hitter Count originated on Robair's now-defunct blog, something about eggplants. When he decided the blog was no longer worthy of his time, we transferred it over here to the much more established and almost impregnable In the interim, a full-blown web site sprang up, inspired by this noble idea - Dirk Lammers' "No No-Hitters". Oddly enough, Dirk, who writes on energy matters for the Associated Press in his workaday life, lives in the last place you'd expect a Mets fan to be - Sioux Falls, SD. Dirk has done so much more with the concept than Robair or I ever could.

Like with the MDA Telethon, we don't want this to go on any longer. We would like to see some Mets pitcher step up to the plate (better still, the rubber) and put the nice round number up under the opponent's H in the line score. This year.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

"Idol" Needs Women!

What's with the ladies on "American Idol" this season?

With the exception of Crystal Bowersox (who is one of the most consistent performers this season) and maybe Siobhan Magnus (if she gets over her tendency to go for big notes), it's clearly not a strong female class this year as the first three eliminees (?) were all ladies - from left to right above, Paige Miles, last night's 10th place finisher Didi Benami, and Lacey Brown.

The last two American Idols have been male - David Cook and Kris Allen - and I'm starting to seriously think there's going to be a third, probably either in the person of Casey James or Michael Lynche.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cartoon Brew In The Penalty Box

As much as we enjoy the Cartoon Brew blog of Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi, we have to remand it to the penalty box for a recent image displayed quite prominently on that site. If you clicked through to the blog and saw the image in question (a popular cartoon character with extra added "equipment"), we profusely apologize.

Stuff You Can't Possibly Make Up

I was with one of my fourth grade students today. We were going over a piece of music that had a measure with the notes A-G-E. I told him, "If you take the three letters of the notes in this measure, it spells a word that describes how old you are." The boy looks at me and gives me his answer - "Ten!" It took me a good five minutes to compose myself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Popeye, The Ace of Space

Now you know how much I love to see these with the ORIGINAL titles...

This is one half of the 3D print. There were only a handful of big-studio 3D cartoons. Warner Bros. had "Lumber Jack-Rabbit", Lantz had "Hypnotic Hick", and Famous had two - this and "Boo Moon".

Monday, March 22, 2010

Celebrity Sweepstakes

Here is the first part of the final NBC network episode of "Celebrity Sweepstakes", a show that ran from 1974-1976 on network and until 1977 in syndication. The show, hosted by Jim McKrell, had an obvious horse-racing motif and a checkered production history. There were legal wranglings between the two production companies involved, Burt Sugarman Productions and Ralph Andrews Productions. By the time this episode aired, Andrews was in full control of the show. The other parts are available to you in the sidebar.

There were a few format changes by the time the show ended - the celebrities, in the earliest episodes of the show, wrote their answers to EVERY question, and the odds were set on the basis of the questions themselves, not on the categories. There was also a tote board shown periodically that indicated the correct number of answers for each celebrity. I like this format, however, since it plays a little faster than I remember it. There was also a theme music change for about a year or so - an sprlightly Alan Thicke composition incorporating the "First Call" bugle tune heard at racetracks replaced the Stan Worth theme song heard here. And one of the nicer things about this show was that all contestants kept their money, even if they lost. One episode featured the loser going home with about $11,000.

In starting gate #4 we see Carol Wayne, then married to Burt Sugarman. She was a little less ditsy than I remember her being on the show, but she always had a sweet nature about her.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Blog carries the flame of the late Lloyd Thaxton, whose blog we discovered and linked to during the final years of his life.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tom "T-Bone" Wolk 1951-2010

The Music's Over blog is reporting that bass player and music producer Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, who played in the Saturday Night Live Band in the 1980's and 1990's, has died at the age of 58. Tom was also a member of Hall and Oates' backup band, along with guitarist G.E. Smith, who was musical director for SNL as well as Hall and Oates. Wolk was born in Yonkers, New York on December 24, 1951.

It's Wolk's insistent bass line introducing the Hall and Oates hit "Maneater" that draws comparisons to the bass player for the Motown house band, James Jamerson. Besides bass, he was also skilled on guitar, accordion, and organ. He played with and produced many other famous artists in a career that spanned almost 35 years.

Wolk and Smith joined the reconstituted Saturday Night Live Band in 1985 and brought a certain rock and roll style swagger to commercial breaks and other band appearances, so much so that after a year playing above the stage, producer Lorne Michaels brought the band center stage for the first time since the show's premiere in 1975 to give Smith and Wolk's performances more exposure. For his first several years on the show, Wolk shared the bass chair with Tony Garnier. Wolk left SNL after the 1991-1992 season and was replaced by a succession of talents: Paul Ossola, Tom Barney, and currently James Genus.

Tom "T-Bone" Wolk died Saturday night of a heart attack. Due to Wolk's passing, Hall and Oates have cancelled their expected appearance on tonight's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" anniversary show.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Crossword Puzzle Tournament

Visit The Puzzle Brothers for all the latest on the Crossword Tournament in Brooklyn this weekend.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Super Bowl Ad Review

I am going to put a link in this message to our replay of the event. Thank you for watching our live coverage.

I'm quite pleased to announce that this year's Ad Meter winner was the second spot thrown in the game - the first quarter ad for Snickers that featured 88-year-old Betty White and 88-year-old Abe Vigoda on rival football teams. One of my fellow game show watchers remarked, "Finally! A game Betty White can't play."

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bill Watterson Speaks!

This is said to be the first interview with the ultra-reclusive "Calvin and Hobbes" creator since 1989.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Interview

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Super Bowl Ad Review Live Blog Reminder

Even though crashed under the weight of all the live bloggers at the iPad introduction yesterday, I still have enough confidence in this product to give this a go for this year's Super Bowl Ad Review. We will be embedding videos, having polls, it will be like a party. If you like ads, THIS is the place to be on Super Bowl Sunday!

More importantly, this will be a test run for our live blogging of the finals of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament later in February. Please visit our sister site, The Puzzle Brothers, for more information about that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV Ad Review Pre Game Show

USA TODAY has the complete list of spots.

It's two weeks before "A Madison Avenue Christmas" hits television screens, so it's high time we checked the broadcast log and see who's got what in Super Bowl XLIV, which hopefully will star the Jets and the Vikings.

Anheuser Busch In-Bev: Anheuser has bought five minutes of ad time, most of any advertiser as has been tradition. The majority of their avails should be going to Bud Light's humorous commercials, with Bud Light's new tagline "Here we go" at the center. According to Advertising Age, this may be an off year for Bud's Clydesdales, but Bud will have two spots, one a :60. Michelob Ultra (with Lance Armstrong) and Budweiser Select 55 (getting a :15) will be featured too. Wonder if Conan O'Brien's going to show up this year? Some of Bud's spots for this year have already been posted to their Facebook page.

Audi: A :30, 4Q for the A3 TDI will feature Cheap Trick.

Boost Mobile: One :30 will reunite many of DA BEARRRSSSSSS who participated in their 1985 "Super Bowl Shuffle" ad. NOTE TO CRAFT SERVICES: I don't see The Fridge among the participants. Bring a quarter of the food you were originally planning.

Bridgestone: Two :30's (1Q and 3Q) and halftime name sponsorship of The Who's performance. This company needs to be watched closely as over the last two years, two of their spots were red-flagged for "Do Not Attempt". To be fair, though, they did do that creative "Mr. Potato Head" ad last year. So they could run either way. One :60, 1H.

Careerbuilder: One viral :30, 2Q. If you remember, a consumer-created ad for Doritos topped last year's USA Today Ad-Meter and won a million dollars for its creators. One ad up for consideration takes "Casual Friday" to a new and frightening extreme.

Chrysler: One :60 for Dodge that is said to present "a message of irreverence". What? Something FUNNY from a Detroit automaker? Whatever.

Coca-Cola: Two :60's, 1Q and 3Q. One of the spots will feature characters from "The Simpsons"; quite odd that this occurs in a year where the Super Bowl ISN'T on Fox.

Denny's: One spot which will highlight a special promotion at their restaurants. Chickens watching television.

Diamond Foods: Creative for their 4Q :30 has changed - it is now going to be a dual-purpose ad with both Pop Secret and Emerald Nuts, the latter of which has been in the Super Bowl before with its Robert Goulet ad.

Dockers: One 2Q :30 for khaki pants. For all you Khaki Hunters out there. (Dave's really reaching with a "Porky's" reference.) The ad will feature mostly men wearing no pants, singing about wearing no pants.

Dorito's: 3 30's, again consumer-created. That worked so well for them last year.

Dr Pepper: One 2Q :30 with Gene Simmons (the alive rocker, not the now-dead actress) promoting their super-delicious, gotta-drink-em Cherry flavor soft drinks. (You may leave the cases of Diet Cherry Dr Pepper on my doorstep. Directions to follow.)

E-Trade: One :30. Creative has traditionally featured the talking baby.

Electronic Arts: At least one spot. CBS has rejected the creative for their spot for the "Dante's Inferno" game.

Focus on the Family: One spot from the Christian group featuring Tim Tebow. Women's groups are protesting the spot's inclusion as the ad is said to be pro-life.

Godaddy: Two 30's (1Q and 4Q) again with spokesbabe Danica Patrick. As is our custom, we will evaluate their "unrated" (and generally unexciting) online content as well.

HomeAway: One :30 which will feature Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo as the Griswolds from the "Vacation" movies.

Honda: One :30 2H featuring the Accord Crosstour. The ad will feature an animated squirrel and the tune "Funky Stuff".

Hyundai: One 2Q :30 and one 3Q :30. One of their ads will look 10 years into the future, when Brett Favre is still winning football games at the age of 50.

Intel: One 4Q :30 with employees singing that damn annoying jingle.

Kia: One 3Q :30 for the American-made Sorento crossover which will feature a character from "Yo Gabba Gabba". Thanks for telling me, I wouldn't have known.

KGB: One 3Q :30 which will be in the vein of their past ads and featuring two of the Baldwin Brothers - but not Alec, who was pushing Hulu last year.

Mars: Snickers will have one :30 spot. Three years ago, the company aired a spot that featured two men sharing a Snickers bar simultaneously, ending in a kiss to which both men reacted with digust, triggering a backlash in the gay community. For some reason, we didn't review that spot that year. Now, we're so sophist that NOTHING ESCAPES OUR NOTICE. (UPDATE: The spot has Betty White in it. Sold.)

Monster: Last year's spot was a contest for Director of Fandemonium, sort of a do-nothing position with the NFL. Much like what Roger Goodell does. This year's spot will be different because Harry Kalas is not available to do the narration this year. We'll miss you, Harry. (UPDATE: Get ready for the violin-playing beaver.)

Motorola: One ad, possibly for the Verizon Wireless "Droid".

NFL: Two in house ads. We usually do not rate these.

Papa John's Pizza: The company is using a quarterback sneak to get into the Bowl by buying the ad time from the NFL rather than CBS. It will be a :30 for their present "Papa's In The House" campaign. The ad will feature PJ's founder John Schnatter delivering pizzas at a football game. The spot will be filmed at the Pro Bowl on February 1.

Pepsi: For the first time in 23 years, Pepsi is not advertising in The Bowl.

Qualcomm's FloTV: I think it's a TV channel that shows nothing but Polly Holliday saying "Kiss My Grits!" Wait, what? It's "personal television". (Sort of like MyNetwork TV.) Two :30's, one 1Q and other TBA. One has Jim Nantz and the other has redoing "My Generation".

Teleflora: Will be back for its second Supes appearance. This year the nasty talking weeds will be voiced by Mr. Warmth himself, Don Rickles.

TRU TV: One 2Q :30 promoting its "Full Contact" reality show, behind the scenes of the NFL.

US Census Bureau: One spot. This is 2010, after all. Be counted! (The spot is based on a concept by Christopher Guest.)

Unilever: One ad introducing Dove for Men. NOTE: It's soap. Plain and simple. Dove Soap. If you want men to be comfortable in their own skin, as your ad will say, at least speak their language. "Honey, where's the soap?" "On the shower floor, Bubba."

Universal: One spot. "Wolfman"? "Robin Hood"? "Despicable Me"? (And remember, movie ads are never rated.)

Viacom/Paramount: Three 1H ads for ""Shutter Island", "Iron Man 2" and "The Last Airbender".

Volkswagen: Not seen since Super Bowl XXXVI or so, VW is back a 3Q :30 that will star Tracy Morgan.

Walt Disney Pictures: One ad, possibly for the "Alice in Wonderland" remake. Eat me.

Yum/Taco Bell: One spot. I don't expect the creative to be anything more than what they're usually capable of.

As we march toward February 7, keep watching this post for more updates.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gus Arnheim Time!

I like the young lady singing with the Gus Arnheim orchestra in this 1937 Max Fleischer "Screen Song" cartoon, "Whispers in the Dark". Whatever happened to June Robbins, apart from singing with Eddy Duchin?

It's been pointed out that Stan Kenton is playing piano.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yum! Peanut Butter

How about some peanut butter for a bedtime snack tonight? That was the conceit of this live commercial from a broadcast of the NBC game show "Say When!", hosted by Art James. However, that last little bit of the peanut butter at the bottom of the jar can come out a whole lot easier IF YOU BREAK THE JAR.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

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