Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Birthday To Marilyn McCoo

On Sunday Sept. 30th, Marilyn McCoo celebrates her 64th birthday. Depending on your age, you probably associate her most with one of two things: her years as a member of The Fifth Dimension or her stint as the host of Solid Gold.

Marilyn was one of two female members of The Fifth Dimension. I almost feel sorry for the other female in the group (Florence LaRue). I say this because although Florence was pretty, she had nothing on the gorgeous Marilyn... husband Billy Davis Jr. is one lucky man.

After she and Billy left the Fifth Dimension, they had a successful career as a singing duo (highlighted by the #1 hit "You Don't Have To Be A Star"). As was customary with many recording acts in the 1970's, they even had their own summer replacement TV variety show.

Along with her hosting duties on "Solid Gold", Marilyn would also sing one of the top chart hits of the week on the show. Even back then I always thought it was funny to hear the smooth voice of Marilyn tackle such songs as "Only Time Will Tell" by the rock group Asia.

In recent years, Marilyn has continued her performing career (both solo and with husband Billy). Along with concert tours, Marilyn and Billy appeared in two episodes of "The Jamie Foxx Show" as the parents of Fancy Monroe (played by Garcelle Beauvaix). Even in her 60s, she is still as fine as ever!

Below is a clip of The Fifth Dimension performing their 1969 hit "Working On A Groovy Thing" on "The Ed Sullivan Show". I'm not even trying to be funny when I say this, but those are some sharp ass outfits they are wearing!

In the late 60s and early 70s, The Fifth Dimension were one of the most successful recording acts around. You might not know that if you listen to the oldies stations, who play the same few songs by the group over and over (no, I don't wanna let the sunshine in anymore). Below for your downloading pleasure are some of the other hits that the group had.

Blowing Away

California Soul

Go Where You Wanna Go

Save the Country

Sweet Blindness

Retro Commercial: The California Raisins

Today I am introducing a new feature where I'll dig up a classic commercial from back in the day. The first ad is from one of my favorite series of commercials of the 1980s... The California Raisins. Launched in 1987, the commercials were created to promote the California Raisin Advisory Board.

Didn't it seem like the Raisins were everywhere for awhile? Along with the commercials, there were TV specials, 3 studio albums, a Saturday morning cartoon show, and tons of merchandise. When I worked at Hardee's way back when, we offered California Raisins figurines as part of a promotion for our Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits. I can't remember if I gave the ones that I had to one of my nieces or what. I know if I have them and they turn up, I might be able to retire.

The commercial below is from 1988 and features the Claymation version of The Genius, Ray Charles (aka Raisin Ray). I hope it brings back some memories.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2008 Nominees Announced

On Friday, the nominees for possible induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced. According to the rules, the top 5 vote getters are to be inducted. I'll explain that last sentence later on in the post.

One of my favorite discussions that I have with friends, relatives, countrymen is the RRHOF and who we think should and shouldn't be in. As a music fan, one thing that I enjoy about the RRHOF is that it recognizes the achievements of people who with the passage of time, often get overlooked. Artists such as Ruth Brown, The Orioles, and Gene Vincent as well as sidemen like Johnnie Johnson and James Jamerson come to mind.

Unfortunately, the RRHOF induction process often falls prey to the 3 P's: political maneuvering, popularity contests, and personal vendettas. One of the main criticisms is that the nomination process is controlled by a select few such as founder Jann Wenner, former foundation director Suzan Evans, and music critic/writer Dave Marsh. As a result, the decisions regarding who gets in and who doesn't is dominated by their personal likes and dislikes. I mean, the only way that some of the inductees should get into the Hall of Fame is if they buy a ticket like the rest of us.

The following is a 2001 letter by a former RRHOF board member that was sent to Fox News:

"Thank you for your insightful article on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am a veteran music journalist who spent two years on the Hall's nominating committee and saw from the inside some of the politics at work.

"I saw how artists were sometimes chosen for nomination because of their affiliations with the directors of the Hall and others were shot down without so much as a moment of consideration simply because some people in that room didn't like them personally or because an artist had bad blood with someone calling the shots.

"At one point Suzan Evans lamented the choices being made because there weren't enough big names that would sell tickets to the dinner. That was quickly remedied by dropping one of the doo-wop groups being considered in favor of a 'name' artist.

"During my second year on the committee, I received a petition signed by 5000 fans of the Moody Blues requesting that the group be considered for nomination. Personally I am not much of a fan, and neither, apparently, was anyone else on the committee (at least no one who would admit it). Still, I felt they were a legitimate contender for the nomination and that it was my duty to present the petition since so many people had taken a lot of time to put it together. I plunked it down on the conference table to a great roar of laughter from the assembled bigshots.

"Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager, asked me if I personally was a fan of theirs. 'Not really,' I said. 'End of discussion,' he said.

"On the other hand, I saw how Atlantic Records artists were routinely placed into nomination with no discussion at all, due to the large concentration of Atlantic executives on the committee. I saw how so-called critical favorites were placed into nomination while artists that were massively popular in their time were brushed off. I saw how certain pioneering artists of the 50s and early 60s were shunned because there needed to be more name power on the list, resulting in 70s superstars getting in before the people who made it possible for them. Some of those pioneers still aren't in today — but Queen is.

"I was finally kicked off the committee after writing a guest editorial for Billboard in which I criticized the Hall for its insider ways.

"Almost ten years later nothing has changed."

In the six years since the former board member wrote that letter, things are still pretty much the same. How else do you explain artists who to me are borderline at best (Jackson Browne, Percy Sledge, and Lynyrd fuckin' Skynyrd just to name a few) being in while worthy performers like Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Hall & Oates, The Marvelettes, KISS, and Bobby Womack
are still singing the Little Anthony & the Imperials tune "I'm On the Outside (Looking In)?

Earlier I mentioned that "According to the rules, the top 5 vote getters are to be inducted." I phrased it that way because there was an alleged controversy with the voting process for the 2007 class. Last March, there was a FOX News article claiming that The Dave Clark Five should have been the 5th inductee because they had more votes than inductee Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The article went on to say that "[Jann Wenner] used a technicality about the day votes were due in. In reality, The Dave Clark Five got six more votes than Grandmaster Flash. But he felt we couldn't go another year without a rap act."

Although the RRHOF denied that the fix was in, they did acknowledge that late votes were received. Whether or not one believes last year's voting controversy, it still has to make you question what goes on behind the closed doors of the RRHOF.

Below are the 9 nominees along with my thoughts on who I predict will and won't get in this year:

Afrika Bambaattaa- Shouldn't and won't get in. A rap pioneer, Bambaattaa's 1983 track "Planet Rock" is one of the cornerstones of the genre. However, since another rap artist will more than likely be among the inductees (see below), I think that some voters will say that one representative of the genre is enough for one year. With that being said, I think that Bambaataa is worthy of getting in someday, just not this year.

The Beastie Boys- Should and will get in. There may still be people who think that The Beasties helped to destroy rap with their breakthrough album "Licensed To Ill". I say forget all that and give them credit for growing beyond their early beer swilling persona with albums like "Paul's Boutique", "Check Your Head", and "Ill Communication". Plus, the fact that the Beasties still have a high profile in the music biz (they released a critically acclaimed instrumental album earlier this year) will probably work in their favor.

Chic- should, but won't get in. I think the disco tag will prevent them from getting into the RRHOF, at least this year.

The Dave Clark Five- Should and will get in. Although they didn't have the staying power of other British Invasion acts like The Beatles or the Stones, The DC 5 pumped out some foot stomping classics back in the 60s ("Glad All Over", "Bits and Pieces", and "Can't You See That She's Mine" just to name a few). Plus, the alleged voting controversy that I mentioned earlier will probably help earn them an induction.

Leonard Cohen- shouldn't, but will get in. Since 2005, it seems like the honor roll of inductees has included at least one head scratcher each year. Cohen will be the one for 2008. I realize that he has a cult following and is well regarded within music circles, but still!

Madonna- Should and will get in. Despite her limited vocals, the lady from Bay City has cut some pretty good records over the years. Plus, she has been hugely influential (for better or worse) on many female artists who have followed her.

John Mellencamp- should but won't get in. I was pleasantly surprised when he was among the nominees this year. Apparently he made the nominees list previously, something that I wasn't aware of until recently. Because of his "tell it like it is" manner, Mellencamp has probably pissed off the wrong people (i.e. RRHOF voters) in the music industry. That's the only explanation I can come up with for why he isn't in the RRHOF already (he's been eligible since 2001). However, since it's the RRHOF and not the Congeniality Hall of Fame, any voters that may be holding grudges against Mellencamp need to put them aside and induct him into The Hall.

Donna Summer- should and will get in. Even more than Chic, Donna Summer is heavily identified with disco. However, it's been said that there has been a conscious effort to get more female artists into the RRHOF. If this is true, that may work in Summer's favor. With that being said, I think that Summer's track record makes her worthy of induction regardless of her gender.

The Ventures- shouldn't and won't get in. Although they were one of the top instrumental groups of the 60s with hits like "Walk, Don't Run" and "Hawaii Five-O", induction into the RRHOF is pushing it a bit.

The 5 inductees should be announced later this year, while the actual induction ceremony is scheduled to take place on March 10, 2008, at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Movie Memories: Glengarry Glen Ross

A couple of Saturdays ago, I had a long conversation with one of my relatives who now lives in Texas. One of the many topics we discussed was a film that we have both seen numerous times... the 1992 classic about desperate real estate salesman, "Glengarry Glen Ross". The title refers to Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms, two of the real estate properties mentioned in the movie.

The movie (adapted from an award-winning play by David Mamet) features one of the best ensembles ever: Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin, etc. In case you haven't seen it, "Glengarry Glen Ross" tells the story of a group of a real estate agency that deals in selling undesirable property. Spacey plays the office manager and Lemmon, Pacino, Harris, and Arkin are the four real estate salesman. Of the 4, only Pacino's character (Ricky Roma) is a "closer" (aka a successful salesman).

As a "motivational" tool, the corporate office asks a top salesman named Blake (Alec Baldwin) to go down to the office to fire up the 3 struggling salesmen. During his speech, Blake announces a sales contest. First prize is a brand new Cadillac... hey now! Second prize is a set of steak knives... damn, that's a big drop off from first prize! Third prize is termination... yikes! Blake also brings with him the Glengarry leads (the names of potential real estate buyers). These leads are like gold to the salesman. As a result, they resort to bribery, flattery, theft, etc. to try and get them.

It's hard to pick out the best performance in the movie because they were all superb. However, my vote goes to Jack Lemmon. I think he gave the performance of his career in "Glengarry" which is saying a lot when you stop to consider that he also was excellent in such films as "Days of Wine and Roses", "The Prisoner of Second Avenue", "The China Syndrome", and "Mister Roberts". As Shelly "The Machine" Levene, a once top salesman who is now struggling big time, Lemmon gives us the patented nervous everyman which was his stock and trade... but adds a bit of an edge to his character.

I also have to mention Al Pacino's performance as Ricky Roma, the top salesman in the office. For his work, he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor Oscar (the same year he won the Best Actor Oscar for Scent of A Woman). If you ask me, his performance in Glengarry was better than the one in Scent of A Woman. I think that Denzel Washington should have won the Best Actor Oscar that year for Malcolm X, but I digress.

Along with the performances, "Glengarry Glen Ross" is notable for its outstanding, profanity-laden script (penned by David Mamet). Nobody writes dialogue like this guy! If you are familiar with his work, you know exactly what I am talking about. It's hard for me to describe, but the characters in his plays/movies have a certain way of talking. As I mentioned, the script is filled with profanity so if you are offended by salty dialogue, it's best if you watch the film on broadcast TV (according to Wikipedia, the word "fuck" is used 138 times and "shit" is uttered 50 times). Can you imagine if somebody played a "Glengarry Glen Ross" drinking game in which they had to imbibe whenever somebody said "fuck" or "shit"? They'd be drunk in the first half hour!

Below are a couple of clips that I hope you enjoy. Be forewarned: both clips are filled with profanity. The first is the classic "Coffee Is For Closers" scene from "Glengarry Glen Ross". This is the only scene that features Alec Baldwin. Although Baldwin's screen time is minimal, he makes the most of it!

The 2nd clip is a "Glengarry Glen Ross" multiple choice quiz. The question is, which character has the highest obscenity count? Whoever put this piece together did an awesome job!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #14: Quotes From Humphrey Bogart Movies

Most people who know me are aware that my all-time favorite actor is Humphrey Bogart. I first became aware of him when I was a kid when they used to show his films on programs like "Bill Kennedy At the Movies" on Channel 50 in Detroit. However, I became hooked when Superstation WGN did a week-long Bogie marathon during the summer of 1986. Each night they showed 3 of his films... it was cool as hell! Although his prototypical role was that of the cynical tough guy, he did get the chance to show he could do more in films like "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and "The Caine Mutiny". Below are some of my favorite lines from some of his films. The character's names precede the movie quotes (with the performer's real name in parentheses... if it's available). All of the single line quotes are by Bogart characters.

1. From "They Drive By Night" (1940)

Farnsworth (Charles Halton): Well, you don't have to be nasty about it.
Paul Fabrini (Bogart): We don't have to be, but it's more fun that way.

2. From "High Sierra" (1941)

Roy Earle: I wouldn't give you two cents for a dame without a temper.

3. "The Maltese Falcon" (1941)

Sam Spade (to Joel Cairo, played by Peter Lorre): When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it.

4. "All Through the Night" (1941)

said to Nazi leader, played by Conrad Veidt

"Gloves" Donahue: You know you're not a bad-looking character. I'd hate to see that fine nose of yours smeared all over your pan.

5. Deadline U.S.A. (1952)

Eddie Hutcheson: ...and the lawyers are up in the dome right now waiting to explain the nature of their crime with facts, figures and falsehoods. One more 'F' and they won't be drafted.

6. The African Queen (1951)

said to Rose Sayer (played by Katherine Hepburn)

Charlie Allnut: Well I ain't sorry for you no more, ya crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid!

7. The Big Sleep (1946)

Vivian (played by Lauren Bacall): I don't like your manners
Philip Marlowe (Bogart): And I'm not crazy about yours. I didn't ask to see you. I don't mind if you don't like my manners, I don't like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don't mind your ritzing me drinking your lunch out of a bottle. But don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me.

8. Across the Pacific (1942)

Alberta Marlow (played by Mary Astor): I'm not so obsessed with money as you seem to be. I can do without it.
Rick Leland (Bogart): You stick around with me and you'll get plenty of practice.

9. The Enforcer (1951)

Dist. Atty. Martin Ferguson: You think you can shut people up by killing them, but you're wrong. Maybe not in the courtroom but they'll be talkin' to you, Mendoza! At night when you're trying to sleep!

10. Dark Passage (1947)

Baker (Clifton Young): I got the license number. I always had a good head for figures.
Vincent Parry (Bogart): My only interest in your head is how easy it'll crack open.

11. The Harder They Fall (1956)

Willis tells Toro to throw his boxing match with the champ to avoid getting hurt

Toro Moreno (Mike Lane): I don't know, I don't know. What would people think of me?
Eddie Willis (Bogart): What do you care what a bunch of bloodthirsty, screaming people think of you? Did you ever get a look at their faces? They pay a few lousy bucks hoping to see a man get killed. To hell with them! Think of yourself. Get your money and get out of this rotten business.

12. The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Capt. Queeg: Mr. Maryk, you may tell the crew for me that there are four ways of doing things aboard my ship: The right way, the wrong way, the Navy way, and my way. They do things my way, and we'll get along.

13. Casablanca (1942)

denying a bank official entrance into Rick's

Rick (Bogart): Your cash is good at the bar.
Banker: What? Do you know who I am?
Rick: I do. You're lucky the bar's open to you.

Don't forget to vote in the weekly poll (found in the upper left hand corner of the page).

(leave your link in comments so that other people can visit your Thursday Thirteen.)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It Takes An Idiot...

There is an old proverb that says, "It takes a village to raise a child." It can also be said that it takes an idiot to try to fuck up the blogosphere. Earlier today, a poster left a vile remark about the Jena 6 in the comments section of my post titled David Bowie Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is. Their comments (which of course were anonymous) have since been deleted by me. Going forward, anonymous comments will no longer be allowed. To comment, you can use either your Blogger account or Google account. If you do not have a Google account, you can create one by clicking on the following link:


As pjazzypar said in the comments section of my Intel Ad post, most people stop here to have a few laughs and get different takes on the latest news. One of the pleasures for me in starting this blog is to hear what a reader thought about a particular movie, song, TV series, etc. Even when I have brought up some of the heavier topics in the world of pop culture (Jerry Lewis' use of an anti-gay slur, Whoopi's take on the Michael Vick case, etc.), most of you have been able to convey your opinions in a civil manner.

For the idiot that served as the catalyst for this post, you are free to remain an idiot. You're just not going to be an anonymous one... not here anyways.

Tuesday Is National One-Hit Wonder Day

I recently learned that Sept. 25th is National One-Hit Wonder Day. As to what constitutes a one-hit wonder, there isn't a clear cut answer. For a breakdown of the different criteria, feel free to visit the following link:

One-hit wonder definitions

Below are some of my favorite one-hit wonders for your downloading pleasure. What are some of your favorite one-hit wonders?

Another Lover- Giant Steps

California Sun- The Rivieras

Double Dutch Bus- Frankie Smith

Just A Friend- Biz Markie

Life Is A Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)- Reunion

Mr. Bassman- Johnny Cymbal

Reach Out of the Darkness- Friend and Lover

Stay- Shakespeare's Sister

Supersonic- JJ Fad

TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)- MFSB

Tubthumping- Chumbawamba

Turn Up the Radio- Autograph

What's Up- 4 Non Blondes

White Horse- Laid Back

You Get What You Give- New Radicals

Final Results of Previous Poll

Barely edging out the competition, the reality show "Kid Nation" was voted as the most anticipated new series of the fall TV season. I watched the premiere episode last week and will definitely be checking out future installments to see if the kids can create a functioning society with little help or supervision from adults. Two "write-in" shows ("Reaper" and "The Salt and Pepa Show") also got some love, receiving one vote apiece.

Apparently, none of you are interested in "Dirty Sexy Money" because it received no votes. I'm going to pull out my crystal ball and predict that "Dirty Sexy Money" will be one of the hits of the 2007-2008 season. I think the premise and the cast (which includes "Six Feet Under" star Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland, and Jill Clayburgh) will make it a winner.

Below are the final results of the poll:

Kid Nation- 18%
Bionic Woman, Cane, Chuck, and Private Practice- 12% each
Back To You, Journeyman, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, and The Salt and Pepa Show- 6% each
Dirty Sexy Money- 0%

Monday, September 24, 2007

Publisher Denies Lesbian Claim By Brady Lady

From the "Not That There's Anything Wrong With That" file:

Last week, The National Enquirer reported that "Brady Bunch" alum Maureen McCormick's upcoming book would discuss details of a lesbian tryst between her and Eve Plumb. As you probably know, Maureen played Marcia Brady and Eve portrayed nearsighted middle sister Jan on the long-running sitcom.

Now, the book's publisher (Debbie Styer) is denying this claim. According to Styer, "We are verifying that it is not true. The real story of what happened in {McCormick's} life and behind the scenes of the show will all come out when the book comes out". At any rate, Styer's use of the terms "come out" and "comes out" were kinda funny to me.

It's amazing that after nearly 40 years, we are still fascinated by anything Brady-related. From Barry Williams' revelation about having a crush on TV mom Florence Henderson to the news that Robert Reed was gay, the public laps it up like the chocolate flavored stuff that Bobby Brady devoured when he entered the ice-cream eating contest. Although I won't buy the Maureen McCormick book, I'll check out the TV-movie that it's bound to inspire. With all of the behind the scenes goings on in Bradyland, I think it's safe to say that The Hallmark Channel won't be producing the movie.

McCormick's book, tentatively titled "Here's the Story, is scheduled to come out... er, be released in early 2008.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

100 Greatest TV Characters

The Bravo Channel came out with a list of the 100 Greatest TV Characters. I caught part of the 5 part series last year, but had forgotten about it. Thanks to pjazzypar (a regular visitor to my blog) for sending me the link to the complete list of characters (apparently, they reaired the special on Saturday morning).

Just like any list, there is always going to be complaints regarding who did and didn't make the cut. However, I will say that Bravo's compilation is not nearly as bad as some of the shitty-ass lists by VH-1 (case in point, their list of the 100 Greatest Kid Stars of All Time). I liked the fact that the compilers of the list recognized the rich history of TV and included such characters from the Golden Age such as Joe Friday (Dragnet), Sgt. Ernie Bilko (The Phil Silvers Show), and Bret Maverick (Maverick).

My guess is that characters from daytime dramas weren't considered because soap icons such as Erica Kane (All My Children) and Luke & Laura (General Hospital) should definitely be included. Whether you watch the soaps or not, I don't think you can deny that these characters transcend their genre and have become a big part of American pop culture.

The first 5 below are 4 removals and 1 adjustment that I would make to the list. In parentheses is the character's ranking.

1. Artie from "The Larry Sanders Show" (#96)- one minor beef about the list is that I think Bravo's website should have considered putting the name of the TV shows immediately after some of the character's names. When I first read the list, I was like, "who the hell is Artie"? I had to go to Wikipedia to be reminded who he was (since the character has no last name, I felt lucky that it came up on my first search). I know that Artie was a popular character on the show, but one of the 100 greatest... I don't think so.

2. Lt. Castillo from "Miami Vice" (#89)- As much as I enjoyed Edward James Olmos' terse portrayal as the superior of Crockett and Tubbs, I wouldn't put him on this list.

3. Ellenor Frutt from "The Practice" (#76)

4. Dick Solomon from "3rd Rock From the Sun" (#72)

5. I wouldn't have ranked Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex and the City" at #11. Although she deserves to be on the list, I wouldn't put her ahead of such icons as Hawkeye Pierce, Barney Fife, and J.R. Ewing, just to name a few.

Below are 4 additions and one change that I would make:

1. Fred Flintstone
2. Jeannie (I Dream of Jeannie)
3. Gilligan
4. Pete, Linc, and Julie (The Mod Squad)
5. The cast of The Simpsons instead of just Homer-(who made the list at #5).

Below is the link to the complete list. What changes would you make?

100 Greatest TV Characters

Happy Birthday To Joan Jett

On Saturday, former Runaway and should-be Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett celebrates her birthday (various sources list her year of birth as either 1958 or 1960). For anybody still fool enough to believe that women can't rock, all I have to say is that they must have never listened to Joan Jett. I have enjoyed her music ever since I first heard her singing about that guy "dancin' there by the record machine".

One thing you can say about Joan Jett's music is that it's dependable. If you are in the mood to rock and roll, songs like "Bad Reputation" (used as the theme to the short-lived series "Freaks and Geeks"), "I Hate Myself For Loving You", and "Riddles" (from her 2006 CD "Sinner") won't disappoint you.

In addition to her own tunes, Joan also put her spin on songs done by others. I liked the fact that many of these remakes were either lesser known tunes or songs you wouldn't expect Joan to do. In addition to "I Love Rock & Roll" (orig. rec. by The Arrows), Joan also cut songs like "Hide and Seek" (1st done by Bunker Hill), "Tulane" (a Chuck Berry tune), as well as "Love Is All Around" (the theme to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show").

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, Joan Jett should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. According to their website, artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record (Joan's 1st solo record was released in 1980). The site goes on to say that criteria for induction include the influence and significance of the artist’s contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll. Joan Jett was a huge influence on the Riot Grrl movement, which included such bands as Bratmobile and Bikini Kill. Not only that, but Joan still has an active recording and touring career (she is the opening act on the North American leg of Aerosmith's 2007 World Tour). If you want to let the Hall of Fame Foundation know that you feel that Joan deserves induction, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Along with her musical and acting career, Joan Jett is serving as executive producer for an upcoming biopic about her old band The Runaways. Titled "Neon Angels", the film is scheduled to hit the big screen in 2009. More details are available by clicking here.

Below is the video clip to one of my favorite tunes by her, "Fake Friends". This is one of those songs that I think should have been a bigger hit (it peaked at #35 on the Billboard pop chart in 1983).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Is That Singer In the iPod Nano Commercial?

For various reasons, there are some commercials that immediately catch my eye. Case in point: the new ad for the iPod Nano. I was instantly hooked by the catchy tune used in the commercial. When I first heard it, the singer reminded me of Bjork... but I didn't think it was her. To find out exactly who the singer was and the name of the song, I pulled out my seersucker cap and did some searches online. I discovered that the singer's name is Feist and the title of the song is "1234". Below is the video to the song. I hope it puts a smile on your face like it did mine.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

David Bowie Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

I have been a fan of David Bowie's music for quite some time. However, when I read the story below, he gained a whole new level of respect from me.

From the AP:

David Bowie has donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for six black teens charged in an alleged attack on a white classmate in the tiny central Louisiana town of Jena.

The British rocker's donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund was announced by the NAACP as thousands of protesters were expected to march through Jena on Thursday in defense of Mychal Bell and five other teens. The group has become known as the Jena Six.

"There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena," Bowie said Tuesday in an e-mail statement. "A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."

Bell was found guilty on second-degree battery charges June 28 by a six-member, all-white jury. Before the case was overturned by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, his sentencing had been set for Thursday.

The court said Bell, who was 16 at the time of the alleged December 2006 beating, shouldn't have been tried as an adult.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who helped organize the march, planned to do his syndicated radio show from Alexandria on Wednesday, then travel about 35 miles to Jena in an attempt to visit Bell, who remains in jail because he is unable to post $90,000 bond.

Sharpton says he expects more than 10,000 marchers.

"We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the NAACP's Jena campaign," National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement. "We hope others will join him."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #13: People Who Were Game Show Contestants Before They Were Famous

Before going on to bigger and better things, many soon-to-be famous people have taken the game show contestant route. How many of these do you remember?

1. Kirstie Alley- Before starring on "Cheers" and becoming a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, Kirstie was a contestant on two game shows. In 1979, she appeared on "Match Game" and the following year she was on "Password Plus". On both appearances, Kirstie stated that her occupation as an interior designer.

2. Sandra Bernhard- The Flint,Michigan native and former pal of Madonna was a contestant on the "$1.98 Beauty Show" (1978-1980).

3. Brian Billick- The current head coach for the Baltimore Ravens (he led them to a Super Bowl victory in 2000) was a contestant on "Match Game" in 1977.

4. Kassie DePaiva- Prior to her career on soaps (she played Chelsea Reardon on "Guiding Light" and has played Blair Cramer for the past 14 years on "One Life To Live"), Kassie was a contestant on the CBS game show "Body Language" in the mid 1980s. At the time, she was known as Kassie Wesley.

5. Siedah Garrett- The singer/songwriter (she duetted with Michael Jackson on the #1 hit "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and briefly sang lead with the Brand New Heavies) was a contestant on "Password Plus" (1979-1982).

6. David Graf- Best known as Office Tackleberry in the "Police Academy" movies (his famous line, "You're ready now mister!") appeared as a contestant on the "$10,000 Pyramid" in 1979. He actually won $10,000 in the Winner's Circle when he was paired with Patty Duke. When the two appeared as celebs on the show for a week in 1985, a clip of David's win was shown. This caused Duke to recall David as "the big fellow who almost broke my back!".

7. Mark Harmon- Back in 1972 while still in college, the future star of "NCIS" was a contestant on "The Dating Game"

8. Mel Harris- The actress (best known as Hope Steadman on "thirtysomething") was a big winner on the "$100,000 Pyramid" back in 1985.

9. Jenny Jones- Before hitting it big as a stand-up comic and a talk show host, Jenny appeared on "Match Game" and "Press Your Luck". On the latter show, she won over $18,000.

10. Cheryl Lynn- The R&B singer ("Got To Be Real", "Encore", "Star Love") won the grand prize on "The Gong Show" in 1976. The song she performed was the Joe Cocker ballad "You Are So Beautiful".

11. Renaldo Rey- When he was known as Harry Reynolds, stand-up comic/actor Renaldo Rey was a contestant on "Match Game '73". Among his numerous credits are roles in "227", "Harlem Nights", "Friday", and "White Men Can't Jump".

12. John Ritter- Before he became a master of the pratfall as the appropriately named Jack Tripper on "Three's Company", John appeared as one of the 3 bachelors on "The Dating Game" in 1966.

13. Vanna White- Prior to becoming the world's most famous letter turner/toucher, Vanna got to "Come On Down!" as a contestant on "The Price Is Right" back in 1980.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Susan Helene Gottfried
2. Chelle Y.
3. Lara Angelina
4. busy91
5. Lynn / vigilant20
6. Mama Pajama
7. The Gal Herself
8. Jenny McB
9. Nicholas
10. Lori
11. julia
12. No Nonsense girl
13. Damozel
14. katherine.
15. Xakara
16. Robin
17. Samulli
18. Morgan St. John
19. Ann Aguirre
20. Denise Patrick
21. Qtpies7
22. Courtney
23. Sniz
24. Celtic Angel
25. Nap Warden
26. J. Lynne
27. Impworks
28. Silencer76
29. Natalie
30. Kendra
31. The Mistress of the Dark
32. L^2
33. Frigga

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Poll Is Up

Results of the James Bond Poll

As expected, Sean Connery received the most votes (55%) in the poll asking you to name your favorite James Bond. Surprisingly, the actor who played the role for the longest time (12 years) only received 5% of the vote... Roger Moore. Here are the complete results:

Sean Connery- 55%
Pierce Brosnan- 25%
Daniel Craig- 10%
Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton- both 5% each
George Lazenby- 0%

Below is a clip from 1964's "Goldfinger", the 3rd film starring Sean Connery as 007. In it, James takes on one of the most memorable villains in movie history... Oddjob.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Match Game Panelist Brett Somers Dies At 83

This past Saturday, Brett Somers died of stomach and colon cancer at the age of 83. Although she had a lengthy acting career on the stage and on TV, she is best known for her years as a regular panelist on "Match Game". With her trademark husky voice, oversized glasses, and pearl necklaces, Brett traded barbs with host Gene Rayburn and fellow panelists like Charles Nelson Reilly, Betty White, Richard Dawson, and Fannie Flagg.

Ironically, Brett wasn't supposed to be a regular on "Match Game". When CBS revived the show in 1973 (it originally ran on NBC from 1962-69), the producers asked Jack Klugman to be a panelist during the first week. Klugman agreed on one condition: that Brett (his wife) be allowed to appear as a guest panelist on a later date. The producers liked her so much that she stayed with the show for the next nine years.

As a tribute to Brett, GSN is airing an all-day marathon of "Match Game" on Saturday Sept. 22nd starting at 9 am EST. The clip below is from a 1974 episode of "Match Game" in which Brett is the subject of one of the questions.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

You Make Me Smile Award

Mama Pajama recently awarded me the "You Make Me Smile Award." It was originally created by Bridget at And Miles To Go Before We Sleep. Recipients are asked to award other bloggers who make them smile. However, because there are so many bloggers that affect me in this way, I don't feel right about singling out just a few.

In my hopes of bringing a smile to your face, below I have embedded a clip from "Laverne & Shirley". It's from the episode titled "Guinea Pigs". In it, the girls took part in experiments for a weekend in order to earn money for a cocktail party. For their respective experiments, Laverne had to go without sleep and Shirley was deprived of food. When they get to the party, Laverne is dead on her feet and Shirley is absolutely starving.

Side note: When "Laverne and Shirley" was broadcast in Thailand, TV officials there decided that the zany duo were perhaps just a bit TOO zany for the Thai viewers to comprehend. When the show airs there, it is preceded with the following announcement: "These women were just released from an insane asylum."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy Birthday To Joey Heatherton

On Friday Sept. 14th, former sex symbol Joey Heatherton turns 63 years old. If you were born after the Jimmy Carter administration and are a sports fan you might be saying, "Joey Heatherton... didn't he used to be the quarterback for the Detroit Lions"? Of course the answer to that is no. From the mid 1960s through the late 1970s, Joey Heatherton was a household name (similar to another performer who celebrated a birthday earlier this month, Lola Falana). In addition to her films, Joey did scores of appearances on TV, had a recording career, and toured with Bob Hope on his USO tours. Unfortunately, just like Ms. Falana, Joey Heatherton seemed to drop off the face of the earth.

This past Sunday morning, I was watching a movie on TCM called Where Love Has Gone. It is believed that this movie was based on the Lana Turner/Johnny Stompanato murder case. Along with Joey, the movie featured Susan Hayward, Bette Davis, and Mike Connors. While watching the film, this led me to try to find out whatever happened to Joey because I hadn't thought about her in years. The last time I remember seeing Joey in the news was for a drug-related story about 10 years ago. In addition to her bouts with drug abuse, Joey also suffered from an eating disorder. According to, her most recent film appearance was in 2002. As for her current whereabouts & health, I was unable to find any information. If you want a 4-minute video summary of Joey's life and career, check out the 2004 song by Jill Sobule called Joey.

During the 1970s, Joey was a celebrity spokeswoman for the Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress. Below is a 1972 commercial that she did for the product. Dig Joey's bell-bottomed jumpsuit and groovy dance moves!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

8 Random Things About Me... Pop Culture Style

Recently, Lori of Lori's Old School Mix tagged me to participate in a meme in which I was to list 8 random things about me. Although I won't be tagging any other bloggers, they are more than welcome to pick up the baton and list 8 random facts about themselves on their respective blogs. In keeping with the topic of my blog, here are the 8 random facts about me:

1. The first celebrity that I ever met was Curly Neal of The Harlem Globetrotters. It was around 1977 and we went to see The Globetrotters at the I.M.A. (Industrial Mutual Auditorium) in downtown Flint. During the warmups, me and two relatives close to my age (a niece and nephew... I was born an uncle) were standing at courtside. Curly came over and shook our hands.

2. Just like Frank Costanza, I have an extensive collection of TV Guides. My collection started with the Fall Preview issue for the 1981-1982 season and ended during the summer of 2006. Although I still have most of them, some were lost because of water damage while they were stored in my basement. The reason I decided to stop collecting them is that I moved into an apartment last summer. Surprisingly, it wasn't hard to stop collecting them. If you know of anyone interested in buying some vintage TV Guides, let me know.

3. In January 2000, I was involved in a single-car accident in which my car (a red 2-door Cavalier) was totalled. While driving to work on the expressway, I blew a back tire and lost control of the car. My car bounced off the concrete median and flipped over (it happened so fast that I'm not sure exactly how many times it flipped). When it was over, the car was upside down! Luckily, I was wearing a seatbelt. It was similar to an episode of "The A-Team" because I was able to climb out of the car (while it was still upside down). The only injury I suffered was a minor bump below my left knee. The sister of my girlfriend at the time jokingly said that nobody but me could get into such an accident and walk away with nary a scratch. The song that I was listening to in my CD player at the time of the crash was "See You Later, Alligator" by Bill Haley & His Comets.

4. While on the subject of Bill Haley, one of the strangest things that ever happened to me involved him. In February 1981, after Monday night's episode of "The White Shadow", CBS ran their newsbreak. For some reason, I wondered to myself what if Bill Haley died (why a thought like that would come into my head, I'll never know). Shortly thereafter, the anchor doing the newsbreak announced that Bill Haley had died of a heart attack! Suffice it to say that this shook me up for a little bit.

5. One day when I was about 5 or 6 years old, I was outside playing. I can't remember exactly why (probably for a drink of water/Kool-Aid or to use the bathroom), but I came in for a bit. I noticed that one of my older brothers was watching TV and laughing hysterically. Naturally, I sat down to see what was so funny. At the point that I started watching, it was a fast-motion sequence of these guys being chased by some criminals in a warehouse. One of the bad guys damaged his hand somehow and it swelled up to the size of a baseball glove. I believe that one of the good guys got clubbed over the head by one of his own pals. I was mesmerized by what I was seeing. This was my introduction to The Three Stooges. I have been a fan ever since.

6. In late 2004, I did karaoke for the first time. For about a year prior to that, a friend kept asking me to do it. I told her that I would only do a song that doesn't require great vocal chops. Another provision is that I wasn't going onstage alone. The two of us (along with her boyfriend at the time) did the song "Lucille" by Kenny Rogers. I enjoyed it so much that later in the night, me and her duetted on "Chantilly Lace" by The Big Bopper!

7. The first music that I ever bought for myself was the cassette version of "Time Peace: The Rascals' Greatest Hits". My first CD purchase was "The Ultimate Box Tops".

8. I was once heard saying the word "fuck" on the air. A few years ago, I worked at an AM station in Owosso, MI. One of my duties was to do voiceover spots for our various clients. After I was done with my morning show, I would go into our recording studio and do the spots. One of our clients was a heating and cooling company. I hated doing these spots because the copy was so dry and boring. However, I did my best to breathe some life into them. Anyways, I was having a hell of a time getting through one of the spots... I kept blowing take after take. On about the 15th try, I was almost home-free. In my head I was saying, "Yes, I'm gonna finally get through it". When I stumbled over one of the words of the last few sentences, I said "fuck" out of frustration. Since I had to redo the spot, I erased the flubbed take... at least I thought I did. A few days later during her show, my Program Director played the abbreviated commercial on the air with me saying "fuck" at the end! Because it was in the computer and looked like a normal commercial, she had no reason to suspect that anything was wrong. Since she knew it wasn't intentional, she was pretty cool about it. We actually had a good laugh about it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #12: Special Guest Stars On the "New Scooby Doo Movies"

Since Thursday is the 38th anniversary of the debut of “Scooby Doo”, I decided to devote this week’s Thursday Thirteen to the Great Dane and his pals. Although the show has had many different formats over the years, my favorite was “The New Scooby Doo Movies”. The show aired in this incarnation from 1972-73 and featured a special guest star in each episode, who would help the gang solve the mystery of the week.

1. Don Adams
2. Sandy Duncan
3. Cass Elliot
4. The cast of “The Harlem Globetrotters”
5. Davy Jones
6. The cast of “Josie and the Pussycats”
7. Don Knotts
8. Jerry Reed
9. Sonny & Cher
10. The cast of “Speed Buggy”
11. The Three Stooges
12. Dick Van Dyke
13. Jonathan Winters

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

(leave your link in comments, I'll add you here)

2. Barbara (aka Layla)
3. Susan Helene Gottfried
4. Jenny McB
5. PJ
6. Nap Warden
7. julia
8. Lori
9. Silencer76
10. tommiea
11. Lara Angelina
12. Wacky Mommy
13. Sandier Pastures
14. Damozel (Buck Naked Politics)
15. Nicholas
16. Xakara
17. Mom not Mum
18. Robin
19. WAHM
20. Judy Callarman
21. Head Gaggler
22. No Nonsense girl
23. Qtpies7
24. Joyismygoal
25. erin
26. Sarah
27. The Gal Herself
28. Cindy Swanson
29. Buck Naked Politics
30. Melina
31. Michael Schurmann
32. Mama Pajama
33. Southern Girl
34. Shannon

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Kanye West: MTV Exploited Britney

Photo by: INF; Frank Micelotta / Getty

During a Tuesday interview on Sirius Satellite Radio's "The Morning Mash Up", rapper/producer Kanye West blamed MTV for Britney Spears' subpar performance at the Video Music Awards. West said, "Man, they were just trying to get ratings, and they knew she wasn't ready and they exploited her". He went on to say that MTV made a "bad move" by having Spears open the awards show, adding that he felt he should have been allowed to kick off the event with "Stronger" (the debut single from his just-released album "Graduation").

Although I am not a big fan of MTV, Kanye's comments about the exploitation of Britney sound like a bit of a stretch to me. Sorry, but I haven't heard any stories about MTV holding a gun up to Britney's weave job and forcing her to perform on the Video Music Awards. We all know that MTV's decision to have Britney open up the awards show was a ratings ploy... so what if it was? Also, since Britney was trying to promote her new single/upcoming CD, she definitely had something to gain by agreeing to appear on the VMAs.

If we are to believe some of the stories that have been leaking about the Britney fiasco, Kanye's theory about exploitation on the part of MTV becomes even more ridiculous. According to reports, Britney showed up for rehearsals over 3 hours late... with a frozen margarita in her hand. Another source stated that when Britney did finally show up, she didn't exactly throw herself into rehearsals, which caused the more elaborate dance moves that were planned to be scrapped.

After watching Britney's performance the other night, I felt a little sorry for her. I'm not a fan, but like most people, I enjoy a good comeback story. However, if these reports about Britney showing up late and dogging it during rehearsals are true, I have no pity for her.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Latest Poll Is Up

The latest poll has been "shaken, not stirred" and is all ready to go. Since it's been estimated that the equivalent of half the world's population has seen at least one James Bond movie, there is a good chance that if you are reading this, you will have an opinion on who is the best 007. For first time readers of my blog, the poll is in the upper left hand corner of the page.

Final Results of The "Thriller" Poll

The result of the "Thriller" poll are in and with 24% of the vote, "Beat It" narrowly edged out the title track as the favorite song off that classic album. To me, the most surprising thing about this poll is that the biggest hit off the album and arguably Mike's most famous solo tune ("Billie Jean"), only received 8% of the vote. One thing that didn't surprise me is that "The Girl Is Mine" was the last song to receive a vote. Although it is a guilty pleasure of mine, it's probably the weakest track on "Thriller". The complete results of the poll are below:

"Beat It"- 24%
"Thriller"- 20%
"P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin"- 16% each
"Billie Jean"- 8%
"Baby Be Mine", "The Girl Is Mine", "Human Nature", and "The Lady In My Life"- 4% each

Below is the classic video clip of the winning tune. After all these years, I never get tired of watching it. Woo hoo! Hee hee!

Happy Birthday To Lola Falana

On Tuesday, Lola Falana celebrates her 65th birthday. If you've ever watched "Sanford and Son", there is a strong chance that you heard one of the male characters mention her name (it seems like there were at least a couple of "Lola Falana" references every season). Because she is one of those celebs who has disappeared from the public eye, "Sanford & Son" viewers under the age of 30 might be asking themselves, "Who is Lola Falana"?

From the mid 1960s through the mid 1980s, the beautiful Ms. Falana was all over the place. She did TV specials/guest appearances, movies, Broadway, and headlined her own show in Las Vegas. For a time in the late 70s, Lola was the highest paid entertainer in Vegas! Although Lola never guest-starred on "Sanford & Son", she did appear with Redd Foxx in the the 1987 "Motown Merry Christmas".

It was shortly after this special that Lola was stricken with multiple sclerosis. However, she made a miraculous recovery and returned to Vegas for several sold out shows in 1989. Although she suffered a relapse, Lola bounced back once again and has since turned her life over to God. Reportedly, Lola today lives a quiet life in Vegas and devotes her time to the organization she founded, The Lambs of God Ministry.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oscar-winning actress Jane Wyman dies at age 93

On Monday morning, Oscar-winning actress Jane Wyman died at her Palm Springs home at the age of 93. When I saw the title of the link to the story on Yahoo this morning, it made me mad. The title of the link was "First wife of Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman dies at 93". Although it is true that Wyman was married to Bonzo's buddy, her career achievements can stand on their own.

Wyman got her start in Hollywood as a bit player in the early 1930s. In 1936, she signed a long-term contract with Warner Brothers. Although she made a slew of movies for the studio, most of them were undistinguished. It wasn't until she played the loyal girlfriend of Ray Milland's alcoholic character in "The Lost Weekend" in 1945 that she started to make an impact on the big screen.

The following year she received the first of 4 Best Actress Oscar nominations for her work in "The Yearling". In 1948, she won her only Oscar for her role as the deaf mute rape victim in "Johnny Belinda". Her Oscar acceptance speech is reportedly the shortest on record "I won this award by keeping my mouth shut and I think I'll do it again." Some of her other films include 1954's "Magnificent Obsession" (her final Oscar nominated role), "Pollyana" (1960), and "How To Commit Marriage" (1969).

Arguably, Jane's best known role was that of powerful winery owner Angela Channing on the long-running CBS nighttime soap "Falcon Crest". This was a show that I watched all through high school (10:00 Friday nights right after "Dallas"). Jane's portrayal of Angela Channing was quite a departure for her, because she always played sympathetic characters in the movies. I seem to remember her saying on more than one occasion to whichever character was fool enough to cross her, "You'll pay for this!"

Although no information is yet available on their website, Turner Classic Movies will more than likely schedule a marathon spotlighting Jane's work on the big screen.

Britney Spears' Stunning Performance At the MTV Video Music Awards

Don't let the title of this post fool you. On Sunday night I caught Britney Spears' performance that kicked off the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. Britney's performance was stunning... but for all the wrong reasons.

For starters, she was out of shape. Although Britney doesn't need to put Jenny Craig on speed dial, it's still a little premature for her to be wearing the bra and panties ensemble she sported Sunday night. Her performance was also poorly lip-synched and surprisingly stiff at times. Britney almost seemed like she didn't want to be there. Believe me when I say that she would have did herself and the viewing audience a favor if she did pull a no-show. A barfly doing her version of "I Will Survive" on karaoke night right before last call would be more entertaining. At least you know that she's actually singing!

I can't say that Britney's performance on Sunday night was uninspiring because it did lead me to search You Tube for clips of one of the greatest live performers of all time... Tina Turner. The clip below is from her days with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Filmed in 1965 as part of the all-star concert "The Big TNT Show", this sequence includes a medley of "A Fool In Love" and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine". This performance showcases Tina's vocal prowess, sex appeal, and high energy... traits that Britney was sorely lacking on Sunday night. Tina is practically 3 times older than Britney and the rest of today's lip-sync divas, but I'll bet she can still teach them a hell of a lot about the art of live performance.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Patsy Cline's 75th Birthday Anniversary

Saturday Sept. 8th marks the 75th birth anniversary of one of the finest voices in music... the late Patsy Cline. I didn't say country music because I think that Patsy transcends genres. I know people who aren't country music fans that love Patsy Cline.

Although I was familiar with some of Patsy's music before, I really started to get into her in the early 1990s when I first subscribed to Music Choice. One of my favorite channels on the system was Country Gold. In addition to getting exposed to artists like Merle Travis and Connie Smith, I also learned more about the music of Patsy Cline. This spurred me to go out and buy a couple of her CDs ("12 Greatest Hits" and "Legends: Patsy Cline"). Although ballads were her forte (I can listen to "Leaving On Your Mind" over and over and over), the latter CD demonstrated that she had a playful side that I was unaware of (one of my favorite tunes by her is "I Love You Honey").

Throughout her lifetime as well as posthumously, Patsy received many awards and accolades for her music. About the only one that she's been denied thus far is induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I think she's overdue. Don't laugh... both Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr. are rightfully in the Hall, so why not Patsy?

The plane crash that took Patsy's life (along with country singers Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas) happened over 40 years ago, but her legacy lives on to this day. Leann Rimes, Reba McIntire, and k.d. lang are just a few of the many vocalists who have been influenced by Patsy. As a matter of fact, in 1983 k.d. lang formed the tribute band The Reclines in honor of her idol.

Roger Clemens Pokes Fun At Himself

The Cingular/AT&T commercials are some of the funniest on TV. The other day I saw one that caught me off guard... in a good way. It stars New York Yankees pitcher and future hall of famer Roger Clemens. If you follow sports, you probably know that the on-and-off "retirements" of Roger Clemens have become a running joke. The commercial below shows that Roger Clemens can laugh at himself.

Disney Stands By High School Musical Star After Nude Photo Faux Pas

On Friday, it was reported that the Walt Disney Co. will be sticking by Vanessa Hudgens (one of the stars of the wildly popular High School Musical films) after a nude photo of her surfaced on the Internet. The 18-year old Hudgens played the brainy Gabriella in the first two HSM films and is in negotiations to reprise her role in the third installment, which is scheduled to be released in theaters next year. Hudgens apologized and expressed regret for having posed for the photo.

I think that Disney made the right choice in not cutting ties with Hudgens. It is 2007 after all and the nude photo appears to be a minor mistake on the part of Hudgens. However, the cynic in me suspects that Disney's decision is mainly a financial one. Although I haven't seen either of the HSM movies and have no plans to, there is no denying that they are hugely successful and Hudgens is a big part of it. If Disney was to wash their hands of her, they'd run the risk of messing up a franchise that shows no signs of slowing down.

More important than Disney's reaction to this incident is the way Hudgens has handled the matter. She could have easily avoided addressing the situation or denied that it was her in the photo. Instead, she admitted she made a mistake and issued an apology. A member of young Hollywood taking accountability for their actions... imagine that.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Happy Birthday To Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders

Today, Chrissie Hynde (founder and guitarist/lead singer of The Pretenders) celebrates her 56th birthday. Although the band has gone through numerous incarnations, Chrissie has always been front and center. Ever since I first saw the clip for "Brass In Pocket" as a kid on our basement TV back when a certain cable channel primarily played music videos, I have been a fan (not only of The Pretenders, but Chrissie in particular). She is one of those rare vocalists who can sound both tough and tender in the same song.

In addition to her work with The Pretenders, I've always admired Chrissie's fashion approach (I like to refer to her as the anti-Madonna). What I mean by that is if you compare the present-day Chrissie with a photo from the early days, little has changed (she is still sporting her trademark dark bangs, with eyeliner to match). Ironically, I feel that this has helped her to become somewhat timeless.

Below is the video clip to the song "Don't Get Me Wrong" from The Pretenders' album "Get Close".

Take the Bionic Assessment Test

There's been a Bionic Man, A Bionic Boy, and a Bionic Woman. How about the Bionic Brother? As a preview for their upcoming remake of "The Bionic Woman", NBC has launched the Bionic Assessment Test site ( I found this test on another blog a few weeks ago. I tried posting my results then, but ran into format problems. It's a fun test that measures your hand/eye coordination, memory recall, speed, etc. If you want to see whether your bionic parts are up to speed, click on the "Test Yourself" button above or the "See What You're Made of" link below.

See What You're Made Of - Visit The Official Site

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Whoopi Gives Her Take On the Michael Vick Case

I have some earth shattering news for you. Members of the media can be shady as hell at times. As many of you know, Whoopi Goldberg made her debut as the regular moderator of "The View" on Tuesday. During the telecast, she and the other panelists (Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, and Barbara Walters) discussed the Michael Vick case. Whoopi said that she believes that Michael Vick grew up in a culture that condones dogfighting and as a result, Vick originally didn't think he did anything wrong.

What has me pissed off is that some members of the media aren't giving the whole story in regards to Whoopi's comments. For example, the online video put together by the Associated Press (AP) shows less than 60 seconds of the nearly 5 minute segment. In the footage that they selected, Whoopi says, "…and the world that he comes from its not important. We have a different relationship to dogs and cats and things. It’s like the Chinese. They have a different relationship to cats. You know. And you and I would be really pissed if somebody ate Kitty." For many people who only saw that brief footage, they were understandably confused by Whoopi's comments when she said "we have a different relationship to dogs and cats and things". Some misinterpreted the "we" as meaning black people. If you watch the entire segment, it's more clear that the "we" is people not involved in the dogfighting culture.

During the segment, it sounds as if Whoopi feels that dogfighting is a Southern thing. On that point, I will disagree. I can't tell you whether or not it is more prevalent in the South. What I do know is that when I lived in Flint, Michigan there was a dogfighting story that made local headlines a few years ago. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it's still going on there, as well as in other parts of the country outside of the South.

Below are links to the abbreviated AP clip and the full segment. Even after watching the full segment, we all aren't going to come to the same conclusion regarding Whoopi's comments. However, certain members of the media need to do a better job of presenting the full picture of a story and then let people decide.

AP Clip

Full Segment

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #11: Some of My Favorite Movies With School Settings

Since it's the time of year when many of us are back in the classrooms after a summer layoff, I thought that it would be an excellent opportunity to list some of my favorite movies set in school.

1. Lean On Me (1989)- This movie is the true story of New Jersey principal Joe Clark. At the very least, Morgan Freeman should have gotten an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Clark. Favorite quote: Joe Clark to his Asst. Principal after Joe's showdown with the city's fire chief: Do you know what he's saying right now? The black bastard can't throw me out. Do you know where he's saying it? Out in the parking lot.

2. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)- This was kind of like the "American Graffiti" of the 1980s in that it was a coming of age film that featured many future stars (Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anthony Edwards, Eric Stoltz, etc.) early in their careers. One of the most important lessons to take from the film... don't ever order pizza when you're in Mr. Hand's class.

3. Stand and Deliver (1988)- The true story of Jaime Escalante, an L.A. teacher who teaches his underachieving students calculus. Starring Edward James-Olmos as Escalante and Lou Diamond Phillips as one of the students.

4. Summer School (1987)- Any comedy that features an homage to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is at least worth a look. One of my favorite lines is when Mark Harmon (Mr. Shoop) learns that Robin Thomas (Vice Principal Gills) is dating the character played by Kirstie Alley.

Shoop (to Gills): My god... you're a heterosexual!
Gills: And a darned good one too!

5. Blackboard Jungle (1955)- The first movie that dealt with delinquent students who are turned around by an idealistic teacher. It also features Sidney Poitier, Vic Morrow, Paul Mazursky, and Jamie Farr (billed as Jameel Farah) as some of the high school students in Glenn Ford's class. Plus, it includes one of my all-time favorite tunes... "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets.

6. Back To School (1986)- Stars one of my all-time favorite comedians... Rodney Dangerfield as Thornton Melon. This has so many hilarious scenes: Rodney's showdown with a manic history professor (played by Sam Kinison), Rodney's reaction when an English professor (played by Sally Kellerman) passionately recites James Joyce' "Ulysses", etc. Plus, it features Jason Hervey (The Wonder Years) as a young Thornton Melon.

7. The Marva Collins Story (1981)- A TV-movie that stars Cicely Tyson as the Chicago educator. Don't take this as any macho BS, but I don't cry when I watch movies. However, after watching this film... I came close. Although it's not a tearjerker in the traditional sense, the scenes where Ms. Collins was able to reach her students were really moving to me. This movie isn't on DVD or VHS, but it does show up on TV occasionally.

8. Fame (1980)- This is one of those films that I watched over and over when we 1st got HBO/Cinemax in the early 80s. "Hot Lunch Jam" anyone?

9. School of Rock (2003)- Jack Black's character is probably one of the all-time champion B.S. artists in movie history. Plus, Black and the kids that played the students worked really well together. Whenever I hear "The Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks, I think of this movie. One of my favorite scenes is when one of the students (Summer) who Jack's character designates as one of the "groupies" confronts him after she does some research: I researched groupies on the Internet. They're sluts. They sleep with the band!

10. Cooley High (1975)- When it comes to B.S. artists, Glynn Turman's character "Preach" is right up there with Jack Black. Along with some hilarious and touching scenes, this movie also has an awesome soundtrack filled with Motown classics (which makes sense because it's set in 1964). Don't blink or you'll miss a young Robert Townsend in a high school gym scene late in the movie.

11. My Bodyguard (1980)- Another movie that I watched quite a bit during the early days of cable. I love films where the bullies get their comeuppance! Along with a young Matt Dillon and Joan Cusack, the movie also features a pre-Flashdance Jennifer Beals in a small role.

12. School Daze (1988)- Set on a college campus, this early Spike Lee joint was one of the first movies (if not the first) to deal with the topic of animosity between light skinned and dark skinned blacks. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite scenes in the movie is the song and dance number between "The Jigaboos" and "The Wanna-Be's". Look for Samuel L. Jackson in a small role as one of the "townies" who confronts some of the college students outside of a KFC.

13. The Breakfast Club (1985)- You will be hard pressed to find someone who grew up in the 80s who has not seen this film. If you are anything like me, you can also recite several lines of dialogue as well. As for favorite scenes, there are many for me (Bender getting Saturday after Saturday added to his detention schedule by Vernon, the kids' escape into the hallways, Allison making it "snow"on her artwork, the weed smoking scene, etc.). Although I don't want to see a sequel, I am a little curious to find out whatever happened to John, Clair, Andrew, Allison, and Brian. Come on admit it... aren't you?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. The Gal Herself
2. Jenny McB
3. Lori
4. No Nonsense girl
5. Nap Warden
6. Wacky Mommy
7. Lara Angelina
8. Jessie
9. Joyismygoal
10. Kara
11. Robin
12. The Thirsty Bitch
13. Lori (A Cowboy's Wife)
14. Sparky Duck
15. busy91
16. Head Gaggler
17. Morgan St. John
18. Amy The Black
19. Buck Naked Politics
20. Mama Pajama
21. The Rock Chick
22. The Mistress of the Dark
23. Sandee (Comedy +)
24. L^2
25. DoubleDeckerBusGuy

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