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.