Friday, March 27, 2009

To go where no blog has gone before...

I'm still here, dear friends.  Just haven't had much time to post this week as I continue work on the new Great Wall of Raytown in my computer/stereo chamber here at the ol' homestead.  Full pictorial coverage coming soon to a blog near me as soon as I'm finished with it.

The Missouri Tigers went where no MU men’s basketball team has gone before last night by winning their 31st game of the season and upsetting the Memphis Tigers in their Sweet 16 game in the NCAA tournament.  My brackets are now totally trashed because I had Memphis winning the whole she-bang, but you won’t hear me complaining.  I have to admit, though, that when MU got up to that big 24-point lead and Memphis kept chipping away at it that I went into “Oh shit—here we go again…” mode, but for some reason, the other shoe didn’t drop this time.  The second half was interminable last night, but thankfully there was no Tyus Edney or fifth-down or illegal ball kick to ruin our evening.  Now if MU can beat them UConn cheaters (UCon?) tomorrow and Kansas wins their two games this weekend, this sets up a game for the ages as the Border War would be waged in the Final Four.  MU and KU both won on their home courts against each other this season, and I’m dying to see who’d win on a neutral floor.

DAN SEALS, 1948-2009
Singer Dan Seals died of lymphoma on Wednesday at age 61.  Although he was from Texas, he was half of “England” Dan & John Ford Coley, who had a nice little run in the “Soft Rock” genre in the late ‘70s with hits like “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight”, "We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again" and “Love Is The Answer”.  Seals re-invented himself in the ‘80s as an all-out Country singer and was fairly successful there as well, and once duetted with Marie Osmond on 1983’s “Meet Me In Montana”.  He was also the brother of singer Jim Seals of Seals & Crofts—no slouches in the Soft Rock genre themselves—and even toured with Jim as recently as last year under the name Seals & Seals.

Workers finally hoisted the new crown to the top of the scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium last week, then took it back down damn near as fast as they put it up.  Seems that the new one didn’t “glitter enough” to satisfy Royals officials, so it was shipped piece-by-piece to a place downtown where workers applied some sort of overlay cladding that will enhance the sparkle effect.  Sounds good to me, so long as they don’t splash a Crown Royal logo (get it?) across the front of it, which you know has crossed their money-grubbing minds at least once or twice.  They still hope to have the crown re-installed by opening day, April 10th.

Hollywood is once again showing its usual lack of originality as word has it that the dreaded Ferrelly Bros. are wanting to make a new Three Stooges movie, featuring Sean Penn as Larry and Jim Carrey as Curly.  This is not a biopic, mind you (we already have one of those), but a new Three Stooges story, and I think it’s a horrid idea.  This is like trying to remake The Godfather or The Wizard Of Oz or re-create Woodstock or something—it just ain’t done!  You cannot possibly improve upon or capture the spirit of the original, so why even bother?  Youse Farrellys are treading on sacred ground here.  Why, I oughtta…

Did ya see where AIG is thinking about changing its corporate name to something else to downplay the stigma of their unholy fuck-ups?  Too bad Dewey, Cheatem & Howe is already spoken for by the above-mentioned famous trio…

I’ve gotten a chuckle or two out of this week’s media hoop-de-doo over conservative radio host Laura Ingraham (Rush Limbaugh with a uterus, from what I gather) and her derogatory comments about John McCain’s daughter Meghan’s posterior and the size of it.  I’ve not seen Ms. McCain’s derriere myself, but that’s neither here nor there anyway—what I find fascinating is how these conservative jaw-jackers are starting to attack members of their own team now.  Oh by the way, if Ingraham has such a problem with overweight people, then Limbaugh ought to be a big target of her verbal bazooka…

In TV-and-Movie Land, people nearly always answer the phone on the first ring, do they not?  And the average response time in Hollywood to a ringing doorbell is 3.2 seconds, which far exceeds that of us normal humans.

My latest foray into classic old-school TV is the venerable "Hawaii Five-O", which I started watching on DVD this month.  I remember watching the show as a kid, just for that wicked opening title sequence with the exciting theme music by The Ventures—not to mention the hula girl shaking her ass right there on the screen! H5O had an unprecedented 12-year run on CBS from 1968-80, the longest of any crime drama series in TV history.  I just finished the first season on DVD and amazingly enough, the stories (even with Gavin McLeod playing a drug dealer) hold up quite well some 40 years later, as does the video quality—some episodes almost look as if they were filmed last week instead of in 1969.  It's easy to forget that even with the idyllic island paradise they have in our 50th state that they have slums, seedy neighborhoods and riff-raff in Honolulu just like they do in Chicago or Philadelphia.

I'd forgotten what a hard-ass cop Steve McGarrett was, and from what I hear, it wasn't necessarily an act, as the late Jack Lord was quite the taskmaster on the set as well, which rankled a few cast members at times.  I always liked Danno, too—I remember pretending to be him in my make-believe crime-fighting world when I was five or six.  What's really cool is even though I watched shows like "5-O", "Mod Squad" and "Streets Of San Francisco", et al, when I was young, I don't remember too many specific episodes, so when I watch them on DVD now, they're like brand new shows to me in a way.  So, you can keep your "Cold Case", "24", "Without A Trace", "CSI-Dubuque" and whatever—I'll take McGarrett, Chin-Ho, Kono and Danno over all them any day.

(WARNING:  Religious commentary ahead—reader discretion advised for those who are easily offended by mean old agnostics like yours truly…)

In a story that reeks of Bonaduce Syndrome, it seems that actor Willie Aames held a big yard sale at his soon-to-be-foreclosed-on home in nearby Olathe, KS yesterday (with reality TV cameras rolling) to help ward off his creditors as he’s supposedly just one step away from living under a bridge.  Aames has hit hard times lately which have included bankruptcy, a marriage gone south and even a suicide attempt over the holidays last year.  Don’t mean to pick on someone who’s down here—so long as they refrain from attempting to make the most of their losing streak—and I get a little indignant when some marginal down-and-out has-been celebrity exposes his pathetic situation just to star on another lame reality TV show and/or make a buck.  Evidently there is a market for memorabilia from Brother Willie’s illustrious career (some people were buying his stuff, anyway) that ran the gamut from TV fare like “Eight Is Enough” and “Charles In Charge” to a brief stint as a guitarist in Rock band to cheesy teen sex farce movies like Zapped! and even cheesier phony low-budget born-again Christian TV palaver like “Bibleman”, which Aames produced right here in K.C. in the ‘90s in conjunction with a Communist Christian organization known as “Youth For Christ”.  The moral of the story here is that even renouncing your past and becoming a born-again pinhead is no guarantee that your life won’t still suck anyway…

Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an “Eight Is Enough” Bradford sibling making unsavory headlines or running amok.  Adam Rich, who played young Nicholas, is notorious for his various run-ins with the law over drug busts and burglaries and such.  Actress Lani O’Grady (sister of Don Grady of “My Three Sons” fame), who played oldest daughter Mary, had a drug problem too, and died penniless while living in an Arizona trailer park in 2001.  Susan Richardson, who played (cleverly enough) Susan, also battled drugs, a nervous breakdown and once claimed that she was abducted by aliens.  She now works in a nursing home in Pennsylvania.  The other four Bradford sibling actors seemingly have vanished without a trace like Chuck Cunningham on “Happy Days”.

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