Saturday, February 10, 2007

Weekend Update with Chevy Driver

It has been brought to my attention that the tone of my blog is decidely far too negative and that it's high time I said something positive for a change!  Okey-fine, I aim to please, so I'll do it.  Hmmm—okay, I'm drawing a blank here.  Give me a few minutes, mmm-kay?.....

Being as the Stupor Bowl was last weekend, it can only mean one thing—pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a couple weeks!  Ah yes, time to start thinking about beisbol season, and for 2007, the Kansas City Royals have unveiled their new slogan:  "True. Blue. Tradition."  Not bad, actually.  Certainly better than the one they had in 1992, "Royals Baseball: It’s Here!"  Still and all, I prefer my suggestion:  "Kansas Shitty Royals Baseball: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This—EVER!" or my alternative:  "Royals Baseball: Come On Out—Sit Anywhere You Want!"

In spite of the past few dismal seasons, I’m actually looking forward to the season here this year—there’s always hope that the Royals could emulate what Detroit did last season.  We’re just as shitty as the Tigers were a couple years back, and they turned it around in a short time, so there's always hope.

"You’re So Vain"—CARLY SIMON (1972) "I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee…", better known to me as "there were clowns in my coffee…" Better lay off that caffeine, Krusty!

I can state with great certainty that I am POSITIVE I am sure as hell NOT the father of Anna Nicole Smith's child!  One of my favorite ZZ Top songs applies here: "I wouldn't touch it with a Ten Foot Pole..."  Not even a 20-foot pole!

Speaking of the dearly-departed, a co-worker of mine claims she heard that there is suspicion that A.N.S.'s late son might well be the father of her infant child, thus why he offed himself last year.  Not that I really care about any of this in the first place, but my response to that is, "EWWWW!" with a capital "EW"!

Remember a few days back when I reported about K.C. Mayoral candidate Stan Glazer's proposed 50-story "observation wheel" for the Kansas City riverfront area?  Well, one enterprising individual found a practical use for the damn thing after all....By the way, I forgot to mention that ol' Stan used to be the owner of a couple local comedy clubs here, and I'm pretty sure that he smoked a joint or two with the likes of Pauly Shore, Carrot Top, and Bob Saget, so it ain't too hard to figure out where he gets his ideas from.  This is almost as good as that episode of "Frasier" where the good Dr. Crane threw his support to the candidate who admitted to communicating with aliens.  No wonder he so strongly supported the "little people!"

"Ventura Highway"—AMERICA (1972) "Alligator lizards in the air…"  Yikes!  Doesn’t sound like any kind of highway I’d want to drive on—I think I’ll take the back roads when I finally do get out to Californy…

"Rockin’ Into The Night"--.38 SPECIAL (1980) "I ain’t no new messiah, but I’m close enough for Rock ‘N’ Roll."  Huh?  What’s one got to do with the other?

"Firehouse"—KISS (1974) "And the quicker you get sicker, she removes your medication…" Reminiscent of the Bon Jovi "Bad Medicine" lyric, this one contradicts all logic.

"Eve Of Destruction"--BARRY McGUIRE (1965) "Think of all the hate there is in Red China, then take a look around to Selma, Alabama..." Barry didn't write this, so it ain't his fault, but based on the rest of the song's rhyme scheme, there's a major FUBAR hereChina and Alabama do NOT rhyme!  China does rhyme with North or South Carolina, though.  Just a guess, but I think this song's composer woke up on the wrong side of the bed the day he wrote it, and it sounded like McGuire sang it while he had a serious case of the shits! Again, that's just a guess...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Even MORE unrelated things...

Not that I'm condoning any of this, but can you believe the absolute ratings bonanza the television media has already been bestowed with for this year's February sweeps?  Between this whacked-out astronaut chick (or "Lust In Space", as Faux News Channel is already calling the story), Prince's so-called phallic symbol at the Super Bowl, the former NBA player who outed himself, and now the not-so-surprising death of Anna Nicole Smith, it's a veritable feast for every TV pundit, news hound and talk show host from Maine to Maui.  Even our little boom-boom here in K.C. last night was a boon to local TV news outlets.  What's scary is we're barely a quarter of the way through the month!  At least I haven't had to hear anything about Terrell Owens for the last month or so...

Regarding John Amaechi, the former NBA player who has come out as being gay, pardon my cynicism here, but I just couldn't help but notice the timing of his little admission—just in time for the above-mentioned February sweeps.  Think about it—he has a book to sell, and by coming out (both literally and figuratively) now, he's assured of getting booked on all the talk shows (Oprah, "Good Morning, America", Anderson Cooper, "Good Morning, Sacramento", Leno, "Good Morning, Chattanooga", Letterman, "Good Morning, Punxsutawney", ad nauseam), thus generating more publicity, thus translating to more book sales!  Ain't America great?  Meantime, I have one other question—did this guy actually play in the NBA?  While I don't follow the NBA all that closely, I'm more than just a casual fan, and I can honestly say I'd never even heard of this guy until yesterday.

"Dancing In The Moonlight"--KING HARVEST (1972) "Dancing in the moonlight/ Everybody's feelin' warm and bright..."  I swear, it sounded to me like they were singing, "Everybody's feelin' a woman right..." which actually sounds like a damn good idea to me...

At the risk of sounding like an insensitive clod here, why am I not shocked by Anna Nicole Smith biting the big one today?  Apart from losing one of my favorite punch lines, I can honestly say I am totally unmoved by her death.  This White Trash whore was a member of this species of celebrity that I totally abhor—someone who is famous basically for merely being famous, and little else.  I include the Hilton sisters, Carmen Electra, the Simpson sisters, Carson Daly, Kid Rock, Donald Trump and many others in this same category.  It just astounds me why we make cultural icons out of losers like A.N.S. in our society.  And who didn't see this coming, anyway?  Her downward spiral was even more obvious than Kurt Cobain's was.  And in either case, it's hard for me to care...

Speaking of cultural icons that I abhor, talk is rampant about a Borat movie sequel.  The kicker here is that one Rupert Murdoch, aka "Mr. Truth, Justice and the Republican Way" is wanting to give his financial backing to the damn thing.  Can you say "hypocrite"?

What's in a name?

(In honor of Fred Sanford’s fictional roller derby faves, the San Diego Sapsuckers and Tulsa Titwillows!)

1) Macon (Ga.) Whoopee (minor league hockey)
2) Lansing Lug Nuts (minor league baseball)  Go Nuts!!
3) Albany River Rats (minor league hockey)  Great nickname and really cool logo too. (See photo)
4) Oklahoma City Slickers (outdoor soccer, early ‘80s)
5) Albuquerque Isotopes (minor league baseball)Absolutely brilliant idea—if you can't beat 'em, nuke 'em!
6) New Orleans Voodoo (Arena Football League)
7) San Antonio Gunslingers (United States Football League)
8) Pittsburgh Condors (American Basketball Association)
9) San Diego Conquistadors (American Basketball Association)  This one was a mouthful, but very cool.  All the sportswriters of that day shortened it to "Q’s".
10) South Carolina Gamecocks (NCAA)  It sure takes some balls to have a nickname like that!
1) Houston Texans (NFL)/Dallas Texans (AFL)  Real clever.  Zzzzz!
2) Utah Jazz (NBA)  Yes, they have such a great Jazz heritage in Osmond-Land!
3) The Floridians (American Basketball Association)/The Hawaiians (World Football League)  Not unlike Texans, naming a team after natives of a state is pretty darned uninspired.
4) FC Dallas/D.C. United/Real Salt Lake/Toronto FC (Major League Soccer)  Pretty hokey how these American soccer teams try to sound all European just to impress the World Cup crowd.
5) Philadelphia Bell (World Football League)  Sounded pretty dingy to me…
6) Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)  Minneapolis Lakers was fitting—L.A. Lakers ain’t.
7) Kansas City Wiz (Major League Soccer)  You gotta go!!! They wisely changed it to Wizards after one season.
8) Florida Marlins (MLB)  Should’ve been the Miami Marlins—sounds cooler that way. Florida Marlins sounds too much like Florida Evans from "Good Times".
9) Dallas Burn (Major League Soccer)  A game between the Wiz and Burn was a real pisser!
10) Memphis Tams (American Basketball Association)  T-A-M-s was meant to honor the region of Tennessee-Arkansas-Mississippi, but their logo was that sissy-looking hat—weak!

Great Moments In Radio, Vol. V

One of my favorite radio stories is all about a guy named "Easy" Earl Harris, who replaced me as the part-time overnight weekend guy when I went full-time at KKJO in St. Joseph in the Fall of ‘88. Earl—a black man—was, to put it bluntly, the station's token minority hire to keep the FCC off its back when affirmative action was becoming very prevalent.  How else do you explain why they would hire someone with absolutely no professional experience on the radio?  This was pretty evident upon his arrival, because Earl was greener than Shrek on the air.  You see, the "Easy One" came to us from that vaunted institution, the Columbia School of Broadcasting, where basically all they do is teach their students how to read Public Service Announcements and talk like a robot.  They don’t train people on actual radio equipment there, so when Earl arrived, he was totally lost trying to run the control board, let alone while speaking on the air.  He did have three things going for him, though—a wonderful bass-baritone voice (think Barry White), an eagerness to learn, and he was one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet.  However, Earl’s first few weekends on the air were—putting it kindly—an adventure, and the rest of us at the station didn’t think he had a hope in hell of succeeding in radio.

About 95% of the time, the first word out of Earl’s mouth after a song was "Alright!", and sometimes when he was really excited, you’d get TWO "Alright!"s in a row—it took us a while to break him of that habit, as well as his constant stream of "Uhhhh"s.  His delivery at first was very stiff and deadpan, and dead air was often a staple of Earl’s air shifts, as he wasn’t the speediest learner in the world on how to work the equipment.  Another disadvantage for Earl was his unfamiliarity with the music he was playing.  I nearly wrecked my car one night while listening to him call the Beach Boys "Herman’s Hermits", and it got even funnier when we changed from Oldies to Top 40—instead of sounding out the letters in R.E.O. Speedwagon, he called them "Reo" Speedwagon, and Lita Ford became "Light-a" Ford.  Fortunately, I headed Earl off at the pass before AC/DC became "Ack/Dick", and I eventually wrote out some phonetic pronunciations for him to get by with.

Once Earl got more comfortable with the control board, he began to loosen up and have fun with his on-air style.  He would crack me and the other jocks up with sayings like "We’ll be kickin’ and stickin’ all night long on K-JO!" and referring to himself as the "Prince Of Darkness" (referring to his air shift, not his race) until management told him tone down his "Black-ness".  Earl also kept saying things like "It’s 52 degrees right now here at the KKJO Patio."  I didn't have a clue what he was referring to—we didn’t have a patio!  One night I asked him what he was talking about, and he pointed to this decorative trellis-like thing just below our second-floor studio window that hovered over this little porch—to Earl, that was the KKJO Patio!  Oh well, it did rhyme...

This story has a happy ending, too.  As time went on, Earl really applied himself on the air and got better and better, both technically and vocally.  As fate would have it, my departure wound up being his big break, as they made him the full-time overnight jock when I left.  After several years at K-JO, Earl landed on his feet in the late ‘90s at Hot 103 Jamz, the big-time R&B/Hip-Hop station in K.C.  One day circa. 1998 when I was working at St. Luke’s Hospital, we had 103 on the radio (most of my colleagues at the time were black), and Earl was on the air.  I even wasn’t aware at the time that he’d left St. Joseph, and I was like, "No way—it can’t be…"  I couldn’t get over how slick, polished and confident the man sounded on the air—a far cry from the "Alright, alright!" days.  Hell, he was light years better than I ever was as DJ, and I was so proud of Earl.  He was even allowed to use "kickin’ and stickin’" all he wanted to!

I've lost track of Easy Earl since then, so I don’t know where he’s at on the dial these days.  Earl, my man, if you're reading this, wherever you are out there, ya done good! Gimme a buzz sometime and let’s get together and have a beer or two.  And, long live the KKJO Patio!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Great Moments In Radio, Vol. IV

This isn’t really a radio story, per se, but it happened during my stint in St. Joseph.  On the night of November 26, 1988, my beloved ’87 Thunderbird and I had a rather unfortunate encounter with a deer on a dark highway outside of Joetown.  This was the very same night my radar detector was stolen—see Great Moments In Radio, Vol. III—it was most definitely NOT my night!  Luckily for me, the deer had the courtesy to fly up OVER the car after I hit him instead of coming straight through the windshield, or you most likely wouldn’t be reading this story.  Anyway, when I put The Bird in the body shop, I needed some wheels to get to work.  It was early December, so walking to work (at night) was not really an option, even though I only lived a couple miles from the radio station, so our manager offered me the use of the mighty KKJO News Car—a 1979 Chevy Chevette (or the Pontiac version of the same car, whatever they called it--I forget) that they no longer used for chasing news.

Let me tell you, my friends, I have driven in downtown Boston at the heart of evening rush hour, I have driven through the ghettos of Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis (sometimes even at night), I have driven up the side of Pike’s Peak and I have driven on ice and snow many a time, but I have NEVER been more terrified while at the wheel of a moving vehicle than the week I spent driving that piece of shit!  There were two major challenges in operating that vehicle:  1) getting it to go, and 2) getting it to stop.  The damn thing had trouble starting, and once you did get it running, it died about as often as Kenny on "South Park", and stopping the car was a whole other matter.  I felt like Yosemite Sam every time I approached a red light:  "Whoa, Camel! Whoa, Camel! Whooooooa, Camel!!!"  I came real close to actually getting out of the car once and screaming at it, "When I say ‘whoa’, I MEEEEANNNN WHOA!!!"  Come to think of it, the damn camel might’ve gotten me to work quicker—top speed in that car was about 30 MPH.  My parking spot at my apartment was on a slope, and I had to place a brick under the back wheel of the car to prevent it from rolling down the street.  Among its other problems, the heater didn’t work on those chilly nights (naturally), it reeked of gasoline all the time, and the windshield wipers were possessed by Satan.

I was never more happy to see my own car again than the day I picked up The Bird from the body shop.  I never found out whatever happened to the KKJO News Car after I left Joetown.  They might’ve had one of those take-a-sledge-hammer-to-it for charity things at the station, or maybe they pushed it off a cliff or something—pushing it was certainly safer than driving it!

More unrelated things

Step right up, folks, the psycho circus is back in town! The TV news media people have already taken to this diaper-wearing-astronaut-charged-with-attempted-murder-story like arsonists to a burning building.  The National Enquirer couldn’t even dream stuff up like this, and what perfect timing for all the news channels—it’s the February sweeps!  Mark my words, the media coverage of this thing will dwarf the runaway bride, Terry Schiavo and Natalee Holloway combined!  And I’m sure the ever-opportunistic Oprah will book this astronaut gal on her show the first chance she gets, the same way she pounced on (and exploited) that kidnapped kid from Missouri.  Strap yourselves in, folks—this is going to be a loooong month…

While I’m on the news media, Faux News Channel was making a fairly sizeable stink today about some woman who is being hassled by her neighborhood association for flying an "unauthorized" flag along with her American flag on her house to honor her fallen son who died in Iraq.  My condolences on the latter part, but the mistake she made in the first place was joining a neighborhood association.  I would never EVER allow my neighbors to have say-so on what I can and can’t do with my property!  But I’m sure Bill O’Reilly will get right to the bottom of all this and straighten it out, and all will be right (pun intended) in their little world.

I’m not being too cynical for you, am I?

Current K.C. mayoral candidate/nut-job Stan Glazer has proposed the construction of a 50-story $100 million "observation wheel" as a way to revive our moribund riverfront area.  According to Glazer, this ferris wheel-type thing—which he’s not quite sure how to pay for just yet—will attract over two million riders every year, to the point where "the St. Louis Arch won’t touch this!"  Riiiight.  What exactly will people "observe" while they ride this contraption?  All the crime taking place below in the neighborhood it’ll be facing?  How dirty the Missouri River looks from above?  Gridlock on the Paseo Bridge?  The carcass of the chemical plant that's burning as I type this?  You’re right, Stan, the Gateway Arch (the coolest man-made thing on earth, in my humble opinion) couldn’t touch this because it wouldn’t want to!

"Message In A Bottle"—THE POLICE (1980)  "A year has passed since I wrote my note…" translated to me as "A year has passed since I broke my nose."

Was reading a coupon in the paper today for Col. Sanders for a deal that included four "baked" biscuits with the chicken bucket.  Call me crazy, but is there any other way to cook biscuits?

"Comedian" Al Franken announced he’s running for Senate.  I’ll be damned—It took the som-bitch almost 30 years, but he finally said something that made me laugh!

During the Super Bowl, CBS kept hyping its new sitcom "Rules of Engagement" starring David Spade. I repeat—"Starring David Spade."  That phrase alone should be a red flag! How on earth does this snarky, no-talent yutz continue to get work?  On the funny scale, I’d put him in the same category as Michael Richards and Andy Dick—about as funny as a canker sore or maybe crib death...

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Radio Ga-Ga, Part III

As promised, here is a semi-comprehensive collection of my observations about and opinions of the current state of terrestrial radio.  Being a lifelong fan of this medium, it’s sad to watch it die a slow painful death like this, and I’m not sure what, if anything, can be done to revive it.  I apologize in advance for the length here, but I most definitely have a few issues…

One thing I will never understand about radio is how the morning drive guy at a station often pulls in a six-figure salary, while the overnight DJ who precedes him barely gets paid over minimum wage to do the same job!  Is this a case of sour grapes on my part?  A little, I suppose, but does this make any sense to you?  I’m not saying that the morning drive or afternoon drive people don’t deserve a little more compensation—after all, they’re the bread-winners for the station and pull in the most listeners and all—but the disparity between their salaries and the graveyard shift people and board operators is a joke to me.  Hell, you can make more money being a greeter at Wal-Mart than you can as an overnight DJ on some stations.  Throw me a fricken’ bone here…

I generally despise morning radio shows anyway, thus I’m a bit biased to begin with.  My irritation threshold is much lower than that of most listeners, so take that for what it’s worth here, but there’s just way too much yapping and not enough music during my drive to work.  I’m not that hard to please, really—just give me the latest news, tell me who won last night, tell me where the wrecks are, tell me what the weather’s going to do, maybe tell a joke or two, then shut up and play something!  Rock stations are especially annoying because instead of music, all you basically get in the morning is talk radio, with maybe one or two songs thrown in so the jocks can field calls from a bunch of yahoos with cell phones making inane commentary.  As bad as the local morning shows are, now the big trend is stations switching to nationally syndicated yakkers like the "Bob & Tom Show", and they’re downright pitiful.  Ain’t nothing worse to me than unfunny morning radio people constantly laughing at their own jokes!  And don’t even get me started on that lower form of species known as the Shock Jock—I have no use for human roach droppings like Howard Stern, Grease Man and Mancow Muller, et al.  As you might imagine, my car CD player gets plenty of use in the mornings.

Call me Old School if you want, but I miss the good ol’ days when the music was the star, and you had DJs that who cared about what they were playing.  Guys like Randy Raley, Joe McCabe and even Dick Wilson from the halcyon days of Classic Rock at KY-102 in K.C. are good examples—you could tell they were fans of the music and they were also much more analytical about the stuff they played then.  Today, most jocks are either so jaded or so clueless about music that they could be playing a dial tone on the air, and they wouldn’t care.

Unfortunately, I live in what has to be one of the crappiest big-city radio markets in the country to begin with—I swear, Wichita and Omaha have better stations than what we have here.  We only have four AM stations with decent signals that broadcast 24/7—the rest are all low-power and/or daytime-only stations that you practically have to sit directly under their transmitter to pick up.  We have four all-sports stations here (and only TWO major league teams), none of which are particularly good, and one wastes a perfectly good FM signal for nothing.  Ironically, I used to complain that there were too many Country stations in Kansas City, but now there are too many Rock stations, and none of them get it right!  One plays nothing but current alterna-Rock crap, another plays almost nothing but Metallica and Nirvana, and the two "Classic Rock" stations are so bland, playing the same five Eagles songs, the same five Tom Petty songs and the same five Mellencamp songs, ad nauseam.  The news/talk stations here—all two of ‘em—are both so anally conservative they make Pat Buchanan look like a flaming liberal, so there’s no variety in viewpoints at all.  By the way, if the mainstream media is supposedly so liberal, then why is there this phalanx—not just here, but nationwide—of conservative talk shows all over the radio?  Liberal media, my ass!

Another problem I have with radio stations today is how they sensationalize the routine stuff they do anyway to make it sound like a big deal.  For instance, "Ten songs in a row, every hour!"  That’s pretty much standard on practically every station, regardless of the format—except, of course, at the stations where the DJ can’t count that high.  Or, "Nobody plays more Led Zeppelin than we do!"—they just forget to admit that it’s the same five Zep songs over and over ("Whole Lotta Love", "Stairway To Heaven", "Rock And Roll", "Fool In The Rain" and "Black Dog").  There’s a new trend now with stations trying to impress me by doing a "Lunch Time Shuffle" or "Shuffle Weekend", implying that they play more different stuff at random.  Isn’t that what they should be doing, anyway?  Back when I worked in radio, this was called "rotation"…

Then there’s the issue of "lost classic" songs.  How do "lost classics" become lost in the first place?  Because radio stations never play them!  I’ve never understood why it always takes some special occasion for certain old songs to get airplay on Classic Rock stations, like some annual A-Z chronology or a "Lost Classics Weekend", or the request hour, etc.  Granted, some songs don’t belong in the rotation quite as often as others, but couldn’t we forego a few spins of the Doobie Brothers’ (worn-out) classic "China Grove" in favor of "I Cheat The Hangman" or "Without You" now and then?

Thankfully, some stations still revere songs like these, like K-SHE 95 in St. Louis.  I always make it a point to tune them in on Sunday mornings when I do road trips there because they have a show that features more obscure stuff that rarely gets played anymore.  A good example is a song by Rick Derringer called "Don't Ever Say Goodbye" which I probably hadn’t heard in at least 20 years until a couple years back on K-SHE.  They also played some oddball stuff from Manfred Mann and Little River Band that I’d never even heard before, and it was great!  It’s not always that scintillating, but it’s still refreshing to hear something different in lieu of the same five Bob Seger songs, same five Kansas songs, same five Def Leppard songs, etc.  What do these stations have to lose by going deeper into a group’s catalog of music, anyway?  I find it hard to believe that a station is going to lose listeners by playing "Rock Brigade" now and then instead of "Pour Some Sugar On Me".  If anything, I would think they would gain listeners who appreciate a little more variety within the format.  As a major fan of The Who, I love "Won’t Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O’Riley" to death, but I don’t have to hear them every bleepin’ day on the radio, as Classic Rock stations seem to think I do.  By all means, please feel free to play "Slip Kid" or "The Real Me" instead once in a while!

Oldies stations are just as bad, where it seems like you get nothing but Four Seasons, Motown and the Beach Boys 24/7.  There’s nothing wrong with them at all, but they’re so worn out.  Just once on an Oldies station, I’d love to hear "Indiana Wants Me" by R. Dean Taylor or "The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace—hell, even some Osmonds or Carpenters songs would make my day on an Oldies station.  I can’t really comment on Country or R&B stations since I rarely listen to them, but I get the impression that they suffer from the same blandness that Rock and Oldies stations do.  You CANNOT convince me that listeners really want to hear the same blasted songs over and over again, even though that’s what radio station programmers, consultants and managers insist is true.  If so, then why are so many people bagging terrestrial radio in favor of satellite radio now?

In conclusion, I’m beginning to wonder if what the late Freddie Mercury and Queen used to sing is still true:  "Radio, someone still loves you…"

Unrelated things

I posed the question back on Super Bowl Sunday, "Why does he (Prince) insist on playing that faggy-looking guitar?"  Well, I wasn't paying attention throughout his entire halftime performance, and I must have been in the toilet during the part where he went behind that big screen that silhouetted him while he strategically placed said faggy-looking guitar to make it look like a big phallic symbol.  Oh, that nutty Prince!  Looks like he could've used some Enzyte, though...

That disgraced minister from Colorado who admitted being gay, the Rev. Ted Haggard, now claims he's "completely heterosexual" after just three weeks of "intensive counseling".  Yeah right, now tell me that one again about how the Holocaust never really happened.  Oh yeah, I hear Elvis is still alive too...

"Still The Same"—BOB SEGER (1978) "You’re still the same—you still aim high."  I always thought Brother Bob was going for a drug reference here: "You still ain’t high!"

Who is the simpleton who writes these dopey Enterprise Rent-A-Car TV ads?  First, there was our good friend Biff going to his high school reunion in style in one of their cars.  Now there's the desperate soccer mom on the phone saying, "Hi, Enterprise? I'm here at the repair shop, and I need to rent a car..." and just in case you possibly miss the point, there's a large banner behind the whole scene that says "REPAIR SHOP".  Yup, she's at the repair shop, alright...

Awoke today to temps. in the low teens, but by the time I got off work, it was in the low '50s here.  I actually managed to get in a two-mile exercise walk and wash my car tonight!  I'm still not buying into the Global Warming thing, though...

Monday, February 5, 2007

Shark Jumping 105

Put on your bell bottoms and hop aboard the Way Back Machine for some JumpTheShark moments with two iconic '70s sitcoms, "The Partridge Family" and "The Brady Bunch". Come on, get happy with me here...

—David Cassidy once commented that he found it highly amusing in the show that Reuben was always getting these "toilets" for the group to perform in, and yet they were supposedly "big stars".

—When that creepy kid next door, Ricky, got five minutes at the end of every episode to sing a song, and everybody stood around smiling at him…

—I’ve always thought a trained monkey could keep better time on a tambourine than that under-animated Raggedy Ann doll (Tracy), and could probably also be trained to smile once in a while.

—The red-haired girl…she absolutely could not act!!!  The least they could train her to do was to say a line with expression and hit a tambourine properly…

—Apparently, the powers-that-be decided that the two-head ‘chrisandtracy’ character (notice they were never seen apart after the second season) were no longer cute and appealing, so they brought in Ricky.  It’s kinda hard to be cute or appealing when your total involvement with an episode encompasses saying “Bye, Mom” as you leave for school and looking bored while pretending to play instruments and lip-synching to baritone voices.  They should have dumped Ricky (though his mom was a hoot) and given the younger kids something to do.

—What did the casting call require (re: Ricky)?  “Must have hair of Schlep Rock; must have voice of a crashing oil tanker; Must be able to sit on a stool; Must be able to upstage Tracy and Chris’s fabulous ability to stare; Must be able to fit in a bread box!”

—Anyone ever notice how it seemed like the Partridge Family were always playing venues like hotel ballrooms and convention halls for mostly middle-aged and elderly audiences?  These folks always looked like they were there to see Jerry Vale or Jim Nabors instead of a pop group.  I watched this show when I was seven, and even then the PF always seemed very out-of-place to me when they played for the Lawrence Welk/Geritol generation!

—I agree with everyone who said Oliver!!  God, what an annoying little brat!  The equivalent of Seven on “Married With Children!!”

—This show definitely jumped when that snot-nosed John Denver look-alike entered the picture.

—Oliver…Who really thought this kid was cute?  He couldn’t sing, dance, or most importantly, act.  His only attributes were a voice you could grate cheese with and an excuse to throw a pie into someone’s face…

—But my all-time beef was with Carol.  She had to be the most useless, lazy-ass I’ve ever seen.  She didn’t work, didn’t cook, never did laundry and made a big deal out of carrying a few shopping bags in the house.

As for the controversy about Robert Reed’s private life, it should have been obvious from the very beginning just by listening to the theme song: “He was busy with three boys of his own…they were four men living all together, and they were ALL ALONE”

—I think it jumped when the boys mowed Astroturf.  Why the hell would you put Astroturf in your back yard?  Don’t they know that you get injured on turf more than you do on grass?  Idiots!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Maybe like Peyton Manning's team, maybe...

It's a holidayat least for me, it is!  Super Bowl Sunday always beats the crap out of Christmas, in my book...

Just a few observations, if you please:

This is my 38th-straight Super Bowl viewed live (at least in part) as it happened.  I only missed the first three, as I was too young to remember...

Ain't it just a tad warped that the Super Bowl pre-game show lasts longer than the game itself?

I couldn't help but chuckle at Katie Couric during her needless appearance on the pre-game show.  In a shamelessyet predictableact of self-promotion, CBS just had to bring her in to introduce some fluff piece, and Katie's hair got un-poofed by the rain, thus rendering her looking more like Carrot Top with dishwater-blonde hair!

The in-stadium pre-game performance by Cirque du Soleil was downright bizarrewhat, the Blue Man Group wasn't available?  Arty-farty!

I loved the fact that it rained throughout the game todaythis is football, not opera!

Why did Prince opt to go with the Aunt Jemima look for his halftime appearance?  And why does he insist on playing that faggy-looking guitar?

Best commercial goes to Budweiser, as usualthe one with the Dalmatian who wasn't a Dalmatian to begin with, to the tune of Dean Martin's "Ain't That A Kick In The Head?"

And finally, a HEARTY congratulations to coach Tony Dungy, QB Peyton Manning, WR "Starvin'" Marvin Harrison, WR "Stately Wayne Manor" Reggie Wayne, and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts for getting over the hump and winning it all!  The good people of Indy are most deserving, as are the above-mentioned gentlemen.  Well done, gents, well done!  Just a guess here, but I bet former Colt Edgerrin James is about to eat his jockstrap down in Phoenix right about now...

Not sure if this is a coincidence or not, but Super Bowl XLI MVP P. Manning was my QB on my fantasy football team this past season for the first time.  Yup, I'm sure that's what got the simian off his back...

Shark Jumping 104

Next up on the ol' Hit Parade of the Best of is "America's Funniest Home Videos".  Oh, by the way, if you're a big fan of (or a CLOSE relative of) Bob Saget, then reader discretion IS advised.  Strap yourself inthis is gonna be a lenghty ride

—Who ever decided that crotch shots, babies with spaghetti in their hair, and whining brats blowing snot bubbles was funny?  I don’t want to see geriatric underwear antics, nose-pickers and kids’ recital bloopers on TV—cake-in-the-face at the wedding reception is a great way to start a marriage—I am not amused.  And tell these cam-happy idiots who submit to this program to clean up their freakin’ houses before they make their stupid videos.  It’s hard to tell the difference between “Cops” and this show—at least the dopers getting’ busted on “Cops” can use their drug abuse as an excuse to live in a pig sty.  No wonder people in foreign countries hate Americans…

—This is a show for people for less brains than scarecrows…Bob Saget—he is the American equivalent of Alan Thicke.

—And why does a “live studio audience” need canned laughter anyway?

—We were all TRYING to laugh when the little girl sang the “I Love My Sister” song for the camera, and then screamed at her sister, when she came on camera.  If it was staged, it was stupid.  If it wasn’t, it was cruel; that spoiled brat is probably buying Barbie Dream Houses with the $10,000 she won.  Rewarding kids and putting them on TV for being mean to other kids is funny in no way whatsoever.

—What’s with their showing close-ups of people laughing?  Is that somehow supposed to enhance the absent humor in most of the videos?

—As for Bob Saget, my dad sums it up best: ten or 15 minutes into the first show, right in the middle of a Saget torture sequence, the “mute” appears on-screen and my dad holds up the remote and says something like, “I don’t know whose idea it was to put a ‘mute’ button on here, but I’d like to kiss the bastard!”

—On my list of “Things to do before I die”:  Find the guy who first told Bob Saget he was funny, and kick his ass…

—Why is it that, in real life, I have NEVER seen anyone lose their skirt or pants while dancing in public; fall off a roof; fall off a stage; get hit in the face with a pie; get bitten by a horse, goose, duck or cow; or smash their camera with a baseball…yet on this show it happened daily?

—Has anyone noticed that all of the interior shots of the “contestants’” houses looked the same?  They all have shag carpeting, faux wood paneling and something in the kitchen in either avocado or gold…If you are going to stage a video with your poor, unsuspecting infant and a full-grown cat, at least run the vacuum first!

—OH! There was this one, and this little snot-nosed kid was supposed to sing “ABCs” and he went up to the mic and SCREAMED A! B! C! D! and he won a crapload of money!  What the hell?  That was not funny!  That made my blood boil…

—Can’t the producers at least find one that doesn’t consist of babies being “cute”, kids screwing up in sports or lame-ass recitals, Daddy’s getting hit in the manhood, buildings falling, old people being senile, and unfunny wedding bloopers…

—The night the winning video was sent in by someone who had set up their camera on a beach to film the sunset.  About 30 seconds (or so) into the bit, along comes Fido, cocks his leg and unleashes a stream onto the camera.  Cripes, for 10-grand, I’da pissed on the camera, full Monty!

—My decision to not date a certain woman was made when she told me THIS was her favorite show!

—It was nice that Daisy (Fuentes) was able to wear fetish gear on a network owned by Disney—the irony was delicious.  I especially liked the times she wore heels so high she could barely get down the stairs at the start of the show.

—The close-ups of the audience—the producers must’ve told these fools the more obnoxious the laugh, the better chance you have of being on TV.

—Bob Saget is a tool.  My eight-month-old daughter has more interesting things to say, and has loaded diapers with more charisma…

—Then I noticed at one point that the laughs from the audience is all canned!  Watch it, you see Bob Saget in the audience making some lame joke, you hear tons of laughs, but hardly anyone is laughing!  Where are the mysterious laughing people?  Obviously, not on camera!

—At the end, the audience, would have a chance to vote for the funniest video of the night, let’s say between A) a guy getting nailed in the kiwis by a line drive (always funny), B) a guy getting bit on the kiwis by a Canadian goose or some damn thing (also funny), or C) a three-year-old kid reciting his ABC’s (awwww…).  So what did the audience ALWAYS give the award to?  You guessed it: the kid!  Funny stuff, huh?

—Bob Saget…plus the fact that at show’s end, he always acknowledged his wife—who, if she watched the show, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she refused to acknowledge him back!  Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if several times Saget went home to find the locks had been changed!

—Funny things are spontaneous—not fat people stuck in their appliances…

—A line from “The Simpsons”:  “It works on so many levels!  The ball!  The groin!”

—I think it’s terrible how they always give the $10,000 prize to a clip of some brat whining and ruining everyone’s fun, like the whiny girl who didn’t want to hit the pinata at a birthday party.  She spent the whole clip crying and howling, “This is the woooorrrrssst day of my liiiiiiiiiiife!”  How is that funny?  If my daughter acted like that, I would be way too embarrassed to show it on national TV.  Yet AFV awards it!  Nice message to your kids:  bratty behavior is not only acceptable, but gets richly rewarded and lets you appear on TV.  Great…

—The sights of dirty little redneck punks who scream bloody murder when they don’t get what they want.  God, if I ever acted that way, I’d have been smacked, not rewarded with a $10,000 prize.  This is the kind of shit that makes me embarrassed for our country.

—Poor, stupid people doing stupid things and getting injured is always funny…

—Bob Saget scared me on “Full House”, and even more on this show.  Even as a little kid, I thought this guy was a pedophile…

—I don’t consider Bob Saget as being a comedian.  He’s more like the uncle who pulls quarters from behind your ear.  The main thing I couldn’t stand about Bob was how he always laughed at his own jokes…

—AFV is not nearly as grating as it once was with Bob Saget.  I personally thought him to be as funny as Botulism…

—Who the hell is doubled over in laughter, practically falling out of their seat when they see a ten-second clip of a goat licking a baby’s face?!  Why do the producers think that the audience laughing like a bunch of retards looks natural?

—Usually, when a show jumps the shark, it’s a bad idea. In this case, replacing Bob Saget—who is about as entertaining as a face on a Roman coin—was the best thing that could have happened…

—You have to realize that AFHV appealed mostly to people that shared the whole Wal-Mart/urban sprawl/family van-driving/soccer Mom/white-picket fence/nuclear family mentality.  These aren’t people who care about the environment or pursue wordly causes.  These are people who get freaked-out if there are onions on their Big Mac’s…

—When Daisy (Fuentes) and John (Fugelsang) hosted the show, man was that awful!  Daisy wasn’t trying at all, and John was trying too hard!  They had the chemistry of lemon juice and a flesh wound…

also doubt that the viewers really decided the winners in each episode.  They were so bad…a blank tape could have ran away with the prize…