Saturday, December 1, 2007

Blog 'Til Ya Drop!

We’ve lost yet another ‘70s icon with the passing of daredevil Evel Knievel yesterday at age 69.  This man cheated death probably more than any other human being and was a perfect fit for the madness that was the 1970s in America.  Evel never struck me as the nicest guy in the world, but he had kind of a Rock star aura to himhe was Elvis on two wheels for us pre-teens back in the dayand he was as synonymous with Saturday afternoons on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” as Muhammad Ali and Jim McKay.  Undoubtedly, Knievel was the inspiration for the rather infamous “Fearless Fonzarelli” episode of “Happy Days” where The Fonz jumped trash barrels on his motorcycle.  I also remember a hilarious sketch drawing my older brother once had that parodied Knievel called “Anal Kanal”, featuring a semi-truck jumping over a bunch of Harleys!

Knievel made a couple jumps right here in Kansas City, including one just a couple miles from my house at K.C. International Raceway just a few months before his infamous Snake River Canyon jump in September, 1974 in his custom made “Sky Cycle” rocket contraption.  I remember being pissed off that we were unable to watch it live because it was only available as a closed-circuit pay event at movie theaters (or something like that).  That jump didn’t seem all that bizarre to me back when I was ten, given the extravagance of the timethis was about the same period that some fool strung a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers and walked across it, so jumping over a river in a homemade rocket al a Wile E. Coyote seemed downright normal.  Looking back on it 30 some-odd years later, it’s more of a classic “What the hell was he thinking?” moment.

R.I.P., Evelthe ‘70s wouldn’t have been the same without you, ya crazy mutha…

I’m currently watching the new Season 3 “Happy Days” DVD set, which features the above-mentioned episode.  This was the season HD really took off and “Fonzie Mania” swept the nation.  I loved that character at the time, but the years have given me a chance to reevaluate Arthur Fonzarelli a bit, and he was a bit of a douche in some ways.  And if he was so cool, then why did he hang out with dorks like Richie, Potsie and Ralph?  I have another observation about HD:  Wasn’t Mr. C. just a tad overdressed to run a hardware store?  He always wore three-piece suits to work!

Still, there were some damn funny episodes that year, like when Richie tries to fight the hoods at Arnold’s (although “Taxi”’s Jeff Conaway hardly made a convincing thug) and when Ralph runs over Fonzie’s bike.  This was the lone HD season for Pat Morita as Arnold, as he was a hoot in his Mr. Miyagi voice when he threatened Richie and Potsie with, “I’m gonna kick you out of Arnold’s for lifemaybe even a couple days longer!”  Morita made a poor career move the following year by starring in his own short-lived ABC series “Mr. T. And Tina”.  No, not that Mr. T., but I pity the fools who watched it anywayit was a crappy show.

I’m also watching the season 3 DVD of the show HD spawned, “Laverne & Shirley”, or as Archie Bunker called them “Lavine & Shirley”.  This is another show that seemed like a great idea at the time, but it seems horribly dated now.  The storylines were awfully hokey, and they got a little carried away with the physical comedy at times.  I never could stand Laverne’s old man, eitherI couldn’t understand a word that man said!  As Robin Williams once described race car driver Jackie Stewart, Mr. DeFazio was "a man who speaks English and still needs a translator!"  I loved Lenny and Squiggy, thoughthere was actually talk of a spinoff for the other L&S at one time, but it never happened.  Just as well, because they were more effective in small doses anyway.  "Laverne & Shirley" got really stupid when the cast moved en masse from Milwaukee to California, and overstayed its welcome when it became just plain "Laverne" after Cindy Williams left the show during a contract dispute in the early '80s.  Not sure if I’ll even bother with those final couple seasons when they come out on DVD.

Y'all remember Lenny & The Squigtones, doncha?  Yes, that legendary band famous for "Night After Night"a song "about two nights in a row".  And I defy you, gentle readers, to name the cat behind the drums in the photo here, with cat being the key word...

The Royals joined the growing trend in baseball by signing Japanese relief pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta this week.  Hell, if the Red Sox can do it, why can’t we?  Hell, I say sign an Eskimo if he can pitch worth a damn!  Are there any Artesians with good arms out there?

I enjoyed the annual Army-Navy football game again today from Baltimore.  Never mind the fact that neither service academy is usually very competitive (although Navy is bowl-bound this season), I love the way the Cadets and the Midshipmen always battle it out like it’s the end of the world.  The only thing that would make it better would be if we could somehow resurrect old J.F.K. Stadium in Philadelphia (where Live Aid took place in ‘85) and play the game in the mud and the muck like they used to back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  BTW, Navy won 38-3 today.

I am very unimpressed with this new “TMZ” show that’s all the rage now.  Perhaps I’m a tad biased since I don’t give a monkey’s about celebrity gossip news anyway, but I can really do without these losers that host this caca-fest.  They look like a bunch of jaded coffee house denizens who can’t find real jobs…

“She Bop”CYNDI LAUPER (1984)  “I hope he will understand…”  Minor whiff on my part hereI thought she sang “I don’t even understand.”  Still and all, this is the third-greatest song ever about masturbation, right behind Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” and The Who’s “Pictures of Lily”.

For one night only, the University of Missouri, should alter its traditional “M-I-Z, Z-O-U” chant.  Might I suggest they change it to, “M-I-Z, Beat-O-U”?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Unthinkable!

Okay, it's well-documented here that I can't stand "Dancing With The Stars (Has-Beens)", but I stumbled across the highlights of last night's show on the early morning CNN news shows today, and thought I was dreaming.  Never in my lifetime did I ever figure on seeing a man placing his face within mere inches of Marie Osmond's crotch (at the 1:23 mark on the above video) on national TV!  I always thought that behavior was a big no-no with Mormon-types, but evidently not.  Just when I'd thought I'd seen it all...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

General meanderings

KEVIN DuBROW, 1955-2007
I'm rather fascinated by the differing opinions being expressed in the wake of the passing Sunday of Quiet Riot lead singer Kevin DuBrow.  In some circles, he's being highly-praised, like on Ken's Blog and by some of his fellow musicians, while in others, he's not so highly thought-of, like with Randy Raley and Dr. Sardonicus.  I tend to agree with the latter two.

I know it’s not nice to speak poorly of the dead, but I think it's rather hypocritical to suddenly heap glowing praise on someone upon their death when I wasn’t all that fond of them when they were alivewitness my reactions to Jerry Falwell’s and Anna Nicole Smith’s passings in previous blog entries.  Pretty much everything I’ve ever heard and read about Kevin DuBrow is that he was your basic David Lee Roth wanna-be, and just like DLR, he could be a real horse’s ass at times.  Sadly, over the years DuBrow more or less became a punch line and caricature for the stereotypical egomaniac has-been Rock star, especially with his ridiculous-looking wigsthese rugs made Mr. Tudball's toupes on the "Carol Burnett Show" look natural by comparison!

I definitely give Quiet Riot their due for their part in helping heavy metal to go mainstream in the ‘80s, but I also credit DuBrow with the band’s quick downfall.  When Quiet Riot’s second album came out in ‘84, DuBrow more or less alienated everyone with all his trash-talking bravado aimed at other up-and-coming bands like Motley Crue and Ratt.  I’ll never forget QR’s appearance on MTV when DuBrow kept jabbering like a banshee on steroids while bassist Rudy Sarzo sat there clearly annoyed with him and didn’t say a word.  Rudy left QR to join Whitesnake some time after that, and by the time QR’s third album came out in 1986, they were already has-beens.  Damn shame, too, because I think Quiet Riot could’ve been every bit as big as Def Leppard, Scorpions and Motley Crue were.  I saw them open for Z.Z. Top in ’83 right when "Metal Health" was really catching fire, and they were a damn good live band.  Hell, they were just here a couple months back opening for Z.Z. again, ironically.  Sarzo and drummer Frankie Banali made up a rock-solid rhythm section, guitarist Carlos Cavazo could be Eddie Van Halen-like at times, and Kevin DuBrow was your classic Heavy Metal screamer.  I’m rather curious what the cause of death is.  For a guy who was so in love with himself, I doubt if Kevin DuBrow would commit suicide, but who knows?

In any event, rest in peace, Kevin…

Can someone explain why they’ve already put tickets on sale for Celine Dion at Sprint Center, when the concert isn’t scheduled until November 15, 2008?!?  I’ve never heard of concert tickets being put on sale nearly a year in advance before.  Is this to allow her legion of fans (all 14 of ‘em) to schedule their vacations from work around it or something?  I thought that hack retired anyway.  Celine Dion is one of those singers who technically has a wonderful voice, but whose body of work is a total bore—Whitney Houston and Sarah McLaughlin fall into this category too.  (Sorry, Tom!)

I'm currently viewing the new version of Hairspray on DVD.  Nikki Blonsky, the new girl who plays Tracy Turnblad is light years cuter than Ricki Lake was in the original, but overall this is really an unnecessary remakestick with the original '80s release, it was much better.  And I never imagined saying this, but I actually miss Divine here!  John Travolta in drag playing Mrs. Turnblad is giving me the willies, especially how he sounds like Cher crossed with Mike Myers doing Dr. Evil when he talks!  As for Travolta dancing in dragI haven't seen hoofing like this since Dancing Bear on "Captain Kangaroo"...

Last week, a letter writer to the K.C. Star chimed in with his .02-worth about these moronic Sonic (what a rhyme-smith I am!) TV ads, accurately pointing out how ignorant they are.  In an astounding show of support, numerous other letter writers have staunchly defended these stupid things, accusing those of us who dislike said commercials of not having a sense of humor.  Now, I have a pretty open-minded sense of humor, but I'm having trouble producing even one chuckle out of these two 30-something dorks in a mini-van prattling on about mediocre fast food, okay, kids?  These commercials certainly don't do a very good job of selling the product, eitherthey sure's hell don't give me the urge to run out and a grab a burger at Sonic anytime soon.  I'm more of a Wendy's guy anyway...

"Border Song"--ELTON JOHN (1970)  "...please excuse my frankness, but it's not my cup of tea."  A little obscure here, but I thought EJ sang "please excuse my fracas."

I wasn't originally planning to watch last night's Monday Night Football game between the Steelers and the lowly Miami Dolphins until I saw they were having gawdawful weather in Pittsburgh, and there's nothing I love more sometimes than a mud-bowl football game on the tube.  They had just re-sodded the turf at Heinz Field over the weekend after it had been used for five high school games and one college game during the holiday weekend, and then a Noah's Ark-type rain came just in time to create a nice little quagmire.  This one was reminiscent of the Chiefs' Sunday night game here against Seattle in '97 when it rained so hard they had to stop the game for a while.  In both that game and last night's, a punted ball fell earthward and embedded itself into the turf and didn't movea self-teeing football, you might say!  Pittsburgh eventually kicked a field goal to win 3-zip last night.

If you ever want to see a microcosm of St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals football, just watch the highlights from their OT loss to the 49ers on Sunday.  This sad-sack franchise constantly endeavors to find new ways to snatch losses from the jaws of victory, and Sunday was a classic.  Arizona lined up to kick a 27-yard field goal in OT, but managed to let the play clock expire before snapping the ball.  The kick was good, but didn't count because of the delay of game penalty, which backed them up five yards, and true-to-form, the kicker whiffed on the ensuing 32-yard attempt.  A little while later, quarterback Kurt Warner coughed up the ball in his own end zone and a 49er defender scooped it up for the game-winning TD.  While the Chiefs are a frustrating lot to watch this season, I'll gladly take them over the ineptitude in the Desert.