Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beware the Pop-Bottle Blogger!

If I didn’t know any better, if this whole Tea Party protest thing that took place this week had been staged by Democrats/liberals, Fox News Channel would’ve been labeling the demonstrators as “unpatriotic” because they were protesting paying taxes.  Instead, FNC was basically egging the protesters on, although they claimed “We don’t promote this—we merely report on it.”  Yeah right, and the Holocaust never happened, either…

The late Edward R. Murrow surely must be somersaulting in his grave since K.C. television station KCTV-5 was recently given regional awards named after him for Best Newscast and Best Investigation for their sleazy tabloid-y nightly crapfests that pass as TV news.  Granted, all TV news outlets are pretty much caca anymore, but Channel 5 is easily the worst of the lot in this town.  There was a time when this station produced a newscast they could be proud of, but that was before they fired all their long-time anchors and reporters and replaced them with a bunch of hacks who do nothing but tease-tease-tease and sensationalize everything.  What an insult to Edward R.’s memory!  Have I mentioned before how much I loathe TV news?  No?  I coulda swore I did…

John Madden abruptly announced his retirement from broadcasting this week after 30 years in the booth.  I have mixed feelings about it—it’s hard imaging NFL Sundays back in the ‘80s and ‘90 without Madden teaming up with my man Pat Summerall, and later on Monday nights and Sunday nights with Al Michaels, but just as with Chris Berman at ESPN, Big John’s act has gotten kinda stale over the years.  Still, I’d much rather see Madden continue on as color analyst than endure his replacement, the ever-smarmy Cris Collinsworth.  And sadly, this brings an end to my patented John Madden Drinking Game (i.e. take a drink every time he utters "those types of things", etc.), but like late Oakland Raiders announcer Bill King once said of Madden, “Get yer big butt outta here!”  Apparently he will…

Funny story I’m reminded of about Madden:  A dude I used to work with about ten years ago wasn’t even aware that John Madden was a highly-successful AFL/NFL head coach.  He only knew of him via the broadcast booth and his video games!

MERLE HARMON, 1926-2009
For the second straight week, we lost another sportscasting legend as play-by-play man Merle Harmon passed away on Wednesday.  Merle had K.C. connections as he worked with the Kansas City A’s and Chiefs in the ‘60s.  I was too young to remember that, but I do remember him doing some games for NBC’s baseball coverage in the ‘70s.  I also bought a jersey or two at his chain of Merle Harmon’s Fan Fare stores.

Let’s hear it for the high price of mediocrity as those dreaded Bronx Bummers lost to the lowly Cleveland Indians 22-4 today at new Yankee Stadium.  Even funnier, they gave up two touchdowns in the second inning to the Tribe.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer team…

I started in on Season 1 of “Fantasy Island” on DVD last week. Unlike it’s sister show “The Love Boat”, it took a little while for “Island” to attract big-name celebrities to appear, thus the first season featured such G-listers as John Schuck, Mary Jo Catlett (Mary Jo Catshit?), Mabel King, Jane Powell, Robert Clary and Bert Convy.  Then again, it wasn’t totally wretched, as seeing Marcia Brady (Maureen McCormick) in a tube-top was totally worth the rental!

It’s been a while since I did any of these, but here’s a couple more I dug up:

“Chevy Van”—SAMMY JOHNS (1975)  “I put her out in a town that was so small…”  Put her out?!?  Sounds like something you’d do with a rabid dog or a cat in heat, not some chick you had sex with in your van the night before!  He could’ve easily substituted “I dropped her off” instead.  Dumb song, anyway...

“In The Mood”—RUSH (1974)  “Hey, baby, it’s a-quarter-to-eight--I feel I’m in the mood/Hey baby, the hour is late--I feel I‘ve got to move…”  Uhhh, Geddy, you hoser, how can the hour be late when it’s only 7:45?!?  Or was it a school night for you?  This lyric is a classic illustration of why Rush would surely have been “victims of venomous fate” if drummer Neal Peart and his slightly more advanced lyrics hadn’t come along to save the day after their first album came out.

“Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”—CHER (1971)  “Picked up a boy just south of Mobile/Gave him a ride, filled him with a hot meal…”  Or as my six-year-old ears inferred, they “...filled him with a rotten meal.”  I must’ve concluded since they were indeed tramps and thieves, the chow would be substandard…

Back in the halcyon days of “Saturday Night Live”, Dan Aykroyd’s Leonard Plinth Garnell could’ve easily done a bit on that 1976 cinematic classic Two-Minute Warning, which I watched on AMC last weekend.  You had a sniper perched high atop the L.A. Coliseum during a Super Bowl-type football game between two teams who looked suspiciously like USC and Stanford and charmin’ Chuck Heston doing all his gun-toting macho-man histrionics as the police chief out to get the miscreant.  This thing was a total waste of an all-star cast that included Jack Klugman, David Janssen, Beau Bridges, John Cassavettes and Howard Cosell as his humble self.  A good example of the lameness of this thing are the scenes on the concourses of the stadium where there are absolutely no fans milling around or waiting in line at the concession stands while the main characters chat with each other.  Heston and his boys finally nab the scumbag, but not after he kills and maims numerous people and causes a riot in the stadium.  A better storyline might’ve had something to do with the sniper picking off ol’ Howie Cosell—he’d have been a hero instead!

I rented Cadillac Records—the story of the legendary Chess Records label—last week as well, and was fairly underwhelmed by it.  While I was rather impressed with Mos Def’s Chuck Berry impression as well as Beyoncé’s turn as the overrated Etta James, I was disappointed how the film seemed to play fast-and-loose with the facts.  Then again, if you love the word “motherfucker”, this movie is for you, as they set a record for usage of it in a single film.  Not that I’m offended by that kind of language, but it seems to me that the writers could come up with more imaginative dialogue than that.  As for Beyoncé, she was great here, but I’d really like to see her play something else in a movie besides a singer like she did in the Austin Powers flick.

I also threw in my special edition Fast Times At Ridgemont High DVD this week.  Fast Times was the American Graffiti of the ‘80s, and it was of its time (1982) as opposed to looking back 10-12 years later like Graffiti did.  I can’t think of any other film that ignited the careers of so many actors like this one did—Sean Penn, Judge Rinehold, Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, and Forrest Whittaker, as well as (to a lesser extent) Eric Stoltz and Nicholas Cage.  If you blinked, you missed Cage, as he was in the film for all of two seconds during the scene where Rinehold threatens the asshole customer with physical violence at All-American Burger.  And what heterosexual male didn’t get a stiffy watching the divine Ms. Cates removing her bikini top during the infamous masturbation scene?  I know I had one!

A little trivia for you:  the producers originally wanted the late Fred Gwynne (aka, TV’s Herman Munster) to play hard-ass teacher Mr. Hand, but he thought the film was a bit too risqué, so they gave it to the late Ray Walston, who as freakin’ brilliant in the role…The famed Galleria shopping mall, where much of Fast Times was filmed, was heavily damaged by the big earthquake in ’94, and eventually torn down altogether.  However, the mall that was shown as its exterior still exists in Santa Monica…In the scene where Judge Rinehold gets embarrassed trying to impress the chick in the Corvette at the traffic light (while wearing his pseudo-Captain D’s get-up), that’s Heart’s Nancy Wilson in the Corvette.  She’s married to author Cameron Crowe, who wrote the whole thing…According to Crowe’s commentary on the DVD, the inclusion of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” in the film was semi-intentional, given Mike Damone’s advice to Mark Ratner about playing Side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV, when of course, “Kashmir” was on Zep’s Physical Graffiti album.  Evidently, they weren’t able to secure licensing from Zep for anything from the famed Zoso album, but somehow got the rights for “Kashmir”, and given Ratner’s penchant for ineptitude, it seemed kind of appropriate anyway that he’d put the wrong Zep tape in while trying to score with his girl…

1 comment:

Mr. Mike said...

Thanks for explaining the "Kashmir" thing from Fast Times At Ridgemont High, I just thought it was a movie gaffe. Great trivia to a classic movie!