Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Please take a moment to vote in the current "celebs in trouble" poll. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Final Results of the American Idol Poll

By the skin of her pearly whites, Carrie Underwood edged out Kelly Clarkson as the favorite "American Idol" winner. Although Carrie led during most of the poll, Kelly forced a tie on the final day that the poll was open. That left it up to me to decide. Since I don't have a preference between the two, I implemented good old-fashioned scientific logic to come to a decision. If you are interested in learning the method I used, click here.

Although I haven't watched "Amercian Idol" on a regular basis, I have occasionally tuned in to see some of the tryouts and season finales. I did happen to catch Carrie Underwood's audition. When I saw her for the first time, I thought to myself that if she sounds as good as she looks, she would be the next American Idol.

Because Jordin Sparks was the most recent American Idol champ, I expected her to fare better in the poll. However, she tied with Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard for the least amount of votes. As for Taylor Hicks, the Soul Patrol didn't turn out in full force because their main man only received 6% of the vote.

Here are the final results:

Carrie Underwood- 32%
Kelly Clarkson- 29%
Fantasia Barrino- 25%
Taylor Hicks- 6%
Ruben Studdard- 3%
Jordin Sparks- 3%

Below is concert footage of Carrie Underwood performing the Guns 'n' Roses hit "Sweet Child O' Mine".

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Rant About Reruns

Last week I saw a commercial which made me a little mad. While watching TBS, I learned that they would be airing reruns of "The Office" on Tuesday nights from 10-11. First, let me say that I have enjoyed "The Office" the few times I've seen it. However, it's airing on TBS got me to ponder the sorry state of reruns.

There used to be a time when most series didn't go into syndication until after they stopped producing original episodes. This started to change back in the late 70s when many shows still in production which had at least 100 episodes started airing reruns in syndication. I didn't and still don't have a problem with this. However, as the years go by, the timeframe between a show's debut and its launch into syndication is getting smaller and smaller. "The Office" has only been on for 2 1/2 years. Do we really need to see reruns this early in the game? Along with "The Office", there are other fairly recent series which have already hit the rerun circuit. For example, Lifetime airs reruns of "Desperate Housewives", "Grey's Anatomy" and "Medium".

Along with current shows being sold prematurely into syndication, you have a handful of series from the past that are rerun to death. Would anyone besides the most ardent "I Love Lucy" fan shed a tear if the tales of the Ricardos and the Mertzes left the airwaves for awhile? For anyone who let out a gasp of horror over that last sentence you can relax because "I Love Lucy" will never leave the air.

My beef with these trends is that there are countless old series that are just languishing in the vaults. In early August, I did a Thursday Thirteen about series that I would love to see in reruns again. Some of the shows I listed were "The Mod Squad", "Doogie Howser M.D.", "The Wild, Wild West", and "Herman's Head". A 22 year old blogger commented on that TT by saying that she hadn't heard or seen any of the series on my list. Just to be clear, this isn't a knock against her. If channels aren't willing to take a chance and dust off some of these series, I can't expect her or others in her age range to know anything about some of the shows from yesteryear.

One of my favorite TV memories as a kid is back in the summer of 1977 when Channel 50 in Detroit aired some classic TV shows under the umbrella title "The Festival of Television". Some of the series featured were "My Little Margie", "The Phil Silvers Show", "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis", "Love That Bob", "The Millionaire", "December Bride" and its spinoff, "Pete and Gladys". For a TV freak like me, this was video nirvana. It was the first time I had seen of those shows. Unfortunately, some of them I haven't seen since.

There is a certain comfort in watching an old show that is familiar. However, like the old saying goes, familiarity can breed contempt. If you were to ask the powers that be, they would probably cite the following reasons why certain shows that are available for syndication aren't shown:

1. They wouldn't draw a sufficient number of viewers
2. Since 100 episodes is the magic number for most series to have a successful run in syndication, many shows don't qualify

In my opinion, the first theory can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you were to ask the average viewer to choose between "The Defenders" and "Law and Order", they would more than likely opt for the latter based on its familiarity.

As for the 100 episodes theory, there have been a few instances where shows that didn't reach that milestone thrived in syndication. Both the original "Star Trek" and "Gilligan's Island" fall into this category. Another example is "The Honeymooners". Until the "lost" episodes resurfaced in the 1980s, TV stations ran the same 39 episodes of the Jackie Gleason sitcom over and over. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may know that I recently discovered the 2004-2007 teen mystery series "Veronica Mars". If given the chance, who's to say that it and other quality shows that fall short of the 100 episode mark couldn't have a successful run in syndication?

With the way the minds of some TV programmers work, all I can say is that I am thankful that there is a market for TV shows on DVD. Otherwise, we would be deprived of seeing many shows that aren't deemed rerun-worthy.

What are your thoughts on reruns? Feel free to also list some of the shows that you would like to see given new life in syndication.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Leave Tupac the F*** Alone!

Thanks to one of my regular readers (Pjazzy) for alerting me to this story. Within the past week, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts (located in Stone Mountain, Georgia) has twice been the target of vandals. During the morning of October 20th, vandals not only defaced the building, but they also tied a noose around the neck of the Bronze statue of the slain rapper. On the following Monday, the statue was covered with fliers which contained rants about 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The fliers were also alleged to contain veiled threats against various rappers and record companies. The Dekalb County Sheriff's office is investigating both acts as hate crimes, with one male suspect in police custody. For the complete story, click here.

First, we had the Jena 6 case. Then, earlier this month, a noose was hung on the door of a black professor at Columbia University. This foolishness has got to stop!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 10/27/07

4 pm hour

Got To Give It Up- Marvin Gaye
Heatseeker- AC/DC
Little Too Late- Pat Benatar
You & I- Rick James
Save It For A Rainy Day- Stephen Bishop
There's No Me Without You- The Manhattans
It's Raining Men- The Weather Girls

Common Thread segment: 49th birthday tribute to Simon LeBon
All She Wants Is- Duran Duran
Girls On Film- Duran Duran
A View To A Kill- Duran Duran
Election Day- Arcadia

Uptown Festival- Shalamar
You Are Everything- The Stylistics
Keep It Live- The Dazz Band

5 pm hour

Vacation- The Go Gos
Now We're Getting Somewhere- Crowded House
Do That Stuff- Parliament
Slippin' Into Darkness- War
I've Got the Music In Me- Kiki Dee
Too Tight- Con Funk Shun
I Want Her- Keith Sweat
Fool In Love With You- Jim Photoglo

Now & Then segment's featured artist: Ann Wilson
Immigrant Song (from her new solo CD "Hope and Glory")
Magic Man- Heart

Lonely At the Top- Mick Jagger
(I'm Just Thinking About) Cooling Out- Jerry Butler
Theme from Shaft- Isaac Hayes
Mary Goes 'Round- Ready For the World

6 pm hour

Stand- R.E.M.
Factory- Simple Minds
Rebels Are We- Chic
Undercover Angel- Alan O'Day
Tramp- Salt & Pepa
Wet My Whistle- Midnight Star
Sideshow- Blue Magic
Run Run Run- Jo Jo Gunne
Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)- Van Morrison
Harden My Heart- Quarterflash
Mystery Lady- Billy Ocean
Your Wildest Dreams- The Moody Blues
For God's Sake (Give More Power To the People)- The Chi Lites
Back To Life- Soul II Soul

Did any of your favorites make this week's playlist?

Happy 83rd Birthday To Ruby Dee

Saturday October 27th is the 83rd birthday of actress Ruby Dee. With a career spanning nearly 70 years, Ms. Dee has appeared in films such as "Raisin In the Sun" and "Jungle Fever" and guest-starred on countless programs, including "The Fugitive", "The Golden Girls", and "CSI". Through it all, Ms. Dee has never failed to inject class and dignity into her performances.

Of her many performances, my favorite is her role as "Mother Sister" in the Spike Lee joint "Do the Right Thing". She and her real-life husband (the late, great Ossie Davis as Da Mayor) have one of the most memorable exchanges in the film:

Mother Sister: Hey, you old drunk, what did I tell you about drinking in front of my stoop? Move on, you're blocking my view. You are ugly enough, don't stare at me, the Evil Eye doesn't work on me.
Da Mayor: Mother Sister, you've been talkin' about me for 18 years. What have I ever done to you?
Mother Sister: You a drunk fool.
Da Mayor: Besides that? Da Mayor don't bother nobody and nobody no bother Da Mayor but you. The Man just tends to his own business. I love everybody; I even love you.
Mother Sister: Hold your tongue: you don't have that much love.
Da Mayor: One day you're gonna be nice to me. We may both be dead and buried, but you're gonna be nice, at least civil.

With the short lifespan of many celebrity marriages, the relationship of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee was an anomaly. As a matter of fact, they were married from 1948 until Davis' death in 2005. In addition to their many collaborations on the stage and screen, they also co-authored the book "With Ossie And Ruby: In This Life Together".

Even though Ms. Dee has received many accolades (such as an Emmy, Grammy, and two NAACP Image Awards) during her career, she has never even been nominated for an Oscar. When I think of some the performers who DO have Academy Awards, it becomes even more apparent to me what a joke the Oscars can be.

With no sign of slowing down, you can see Ms. Dee starting Nov. 2nd in the Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe crime drama " American Gangster". You sometimes hear certain performers referred to as national treasures. For Ms. Dee, the term is more than fitting.

Below is a clip from the 1991 Spike Lee film "Jungle Fever". In this scene, Ms. Dee deals with her oldest son (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and his harrowing drug addiction.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Retro Commercial: Classic TV Stars Shilling For Chevrolet

Below is an extended 1965 commercial (about 5 and a half minutes) that features the stars of "Bonanza", "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", and "Bewitched" pitching the new lineup of Chevrolet cars. It's weird to see Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, and Michael Landon in their western setting talking about "modern" automobiles. Another unexpected kick is when the stars of "Bewitched" meet up with the men of "Bonanza".

Maxim's List of the 5 Unsexiest Women

Recently, Esquire magazine named Charlize Theron as the sexiest woman alive. Flipping the script, the folks at Maxim magazine compiled a list of the 5 Unsexiest Women Alive. It would have been easy for Maxim to select someone like Rosie O'Donnell for this list. Instead they chose women who, for whatever reason, some people may actually find sexy. Below is the illustrious quintet:

1. Sarah Jessica Parker
2. "Rehab" singer Amy Winehouse
3. Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy)
4. Madonna
5. Britney Spears

Not that I find them sexy, but I wouldn't put Sandra Oh or Madonna in the top five of this list. If it were me, I would substitute Chloe Sevigny and Kate Moss for those two.

If you would like to see photos of Maxim's top 5 (along with the reasoning behind their choices), you can click here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #18: Grease Is the Word

Thirteen people who appeared on stage in the musical Grease

When it comes to long-running theater properties, "Grease" is in a class by itself. Not only do performers get the chance to sing and dance, but some are afforded the opportunity to portray teenagers when in reality they are probably getting ready for their 10-year high school reunion (at the very least). Below are 13 famous names who treaded the boards in the play about life and love at Rydell High.

1. Adrienne Barbeau- best known for playing Bea Arthur's daughter Carol on the sitcom "Maude", Barbeau was the original Rizzo in the 1972 production. For her role in "Grease", Barbeau was nominated for a Tony Award (Best Featured Actress In A Musical).

2. Barry Bostwick- Bostwick (Spin City, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) originated the role of Danny Zuko in the play's original Broadway run. Just like Barbeau, Bostwick was also a Tony Award nominee (Best Featured Actor In A Musical).

3. Chubby Checker- the King of the Dance Songs (The Twist, Pony Time, Limbo Rock, etc.) appeared on Broadway as the "Teen Angel" during the mid 90s revival of the musical.

4. Micky Dolenz- the ex-Monkee played Vince Fontaine on Broadway during the mid 90s revival.

5. Peter Gallagher- the "O.C." star was a replacement Danny Zuko during Grease's original run.

6. Richard Gere- before achieving movie stardom, Gere played Danny during the original London production of "Grease" back in 1973. He also served as an understudy for several roles in the original Broadway production.

7. Ilene Graff- best known as the mom on the ABC sitcom "Mr. Belvedere", Graff was a replacement "Sandy Dumbrowski" during the play's original run.

8. Jasmine Guy- best known as "Whitley Gilbert" on the long-running college sitcom "A Different World", Jasmine played Rizzo during the mid 90s revival.

9. Marilu Henner- the actress, talk show host and best-selling author was a replacement "Marty" during the 1970s.

10. Mimi Kennedy- best known as "Abby" on the sitcom "Dharma and Greg", Mimi was a replacement "Jan" during the original run of Grease.

11. Ilene Kristen- currently starring as "Roxy" on the ABC soap "One Life To Live", Ilene originated the role of the peppy Patty Simcox on Broadway in 1972.

12. John Travolta- years before playing Danny Zuko on the big screen, he was a replacement "Doody" during the original Broadway run.

13. Tracey Ullman- the award-winning actress/singer/comedienne appeared as beauty school dropout Frenchy during the 1979 London revival.

If you haven't already, please feel free to vote in this week's American Idol-themed poll (located in the upper left part of the sidebar).

Leave your link in comments, so that others can visit you.

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!

Purple Rain Is Selected As the Greatest Film Soundtrack

Referring to it as a flawless combination of "funk, R&B, pop, metal, and even psychedelia into a sound that defined the 80s", the editors of Vanity Fair magazine recently voted "Purple Rain" as the greatest film soundtrack ever. Looking at the tracking listing for the album and then playing the songs in my head, I am inclined to agree with them. Below are the top 10 film soundtracks selected by Vanity Fair.

1. Purple Rain
2. A Hard Day's Night
3. The Harder They Come
4. Pulp Fiction
5. The Graduate
6. Superfly
7. Trainspotting
8. Saturday Night Fever
9. American Graffiti
10. The Big Chill

Their full list of the 50 greatest film soundtracks will be revealed next month in Movies Rock magazine, a one-time publication available to subscribers of the 14 magazines in the Conde Nast family. A 2 hour special (also called Movies Rock) will air on CBS in December.

Since we have turned into a society of listmaniacs, I've played along and compiled a list of my 5 favorite film soundtracks:

1. Purple Rain
2. Claudine
3. American Graffiti
4. Easy Rider
5. A Hard Day's Night

What would be on your list of the greatest film soundtracks ever? Feel free to list off 5, 10, or as many as you like.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Final Results of the Classic Toy Poll

In a runaway, the drawing toy Etch A Sketch was voted as the favorite classic toy. If you want to get your sketch on but don't have an actual Etch A Sketch handy, here. Below are the final results:

Etch A Sketch 36%
Silly Putty 21%
Yo-Yo 15%
Hula Hoop 12%
Slinky 9%
Rubik's Cube 6%

The next poll is up so if you haven't already, make your voice heard. This week, I ask you to choose your favorite American Idol winner. There may be some who are puzzled by the absence of Clay Aiken from the choices. Although Aiken's high profile the first couple of years after his AI appearance would lead some to believe otherwise, he was actually the runner-up to Ruben Studdard in Season 2.

Monday, October 22, 2007

We'll Need A Bigger Trophy Case

Mama Pajama has bestowed upon me two blogging awards. The 1st is the Community Blogger Award. This award celebrates people who reach out and make the blogger community a better one. I don't know about you, but the last sentence makes me want to sing the Brady Bunch song "We Can Make the World A Whole Lot Brighter".

The second one is the Candied Apple Award. It's ironic because I was at the dentist's office tonight to get fitted for my permanent bridge. As I type this, I have another 45 minutes before I can eat anything. I'm dying, I'm dying!!

Mama PJ is truly one of the most generous bloggers around. We originally "met" when she took part in her first Thursday Thirteen back in early August. On more than one occasion, I have told her that our pop culture radars are eerily in sync. For example, Mama PJ's first TT topic was about her 13 all-time favorite TV shows. Ironically, my TT that week was TV-related as well. On her recent TT she listed some of her musical guilty pleasures. One of the songs she selected was a tune that I had already planned to feature as the Guilty Pleasure of the Week on my show last Saturday... scary, huh?

Mama PJ has recently installed a poll widget onto her blog. Her first poll asks you to vote for your favorite HBO original series. Swing by and make your voice heard.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Crazy Eights

Earlier this month, Mama Pajama tagged me to participate in Crazy 8s. Where applicable, my answers will have a pop culture bent.

8 things I am passionate about:
My family
My friends
Pop Culture
Michigan-based sports teams
My radio show
Silk Chocolate Soy Milk
Entertainment Weekly magazine

8 things I want to do before I die:

Visit the Museum of Television and Radio in New York
Attend a Steely Dan concert
Go to Las Vegas
Say the words "The Detroit Lions are Super Bowl champs" and have it be true
Make it to the "Hot Seat" on WWTBAM
Sell my TV Guide collection
Learn to play guitar
Take martial arts lessons

8 things I say often:
How ya doin?
You are listening to Spin City on WKUF-LP 94.3 Flint
Aw come on man/lady! (to drivers who are causing problems)
Did you see the game last night?
Speak to me (when answering the phone)
Thank you

8 books I've recently read:
Casanegra by Blair Underwood
Always Magic In the Air by Ken Emerson
The Temptations by Otis Williams
Dallas: The Complete Story of the World's Favorite Prime Time Soap by Barbara A. Curran
What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events In TV History by David Hofstede
Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth edited by Kim Cooper and David Smay
Pryor Convictions by Richard Pryor
It's the Little Things by Lena Williams

8 songs I could listen to over and over:
Beat It by Michael Jackson
Do You Believe In Magic by The Lovin' Spoonful
Harry Hippie by Bobby Womack
Jesse by Carly Simon
Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
Limelight by Rush
Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley & his Comets
Slow Dog by Belly

8 things that attract me to my best friends:
Sense of humor
Commonality of interests
That pretty much covers it

8 things I've learned this past year:

That Shirley Goodman died in 2005
Never date a woman with unresolved "mommy/daddy" issues
James Earl Jones was the 1st celeb to appear on Sesame Street
Blogging is a great creative outlet
Stevie Nicks is only 5' 1 ½" tall
Barry Bonds acted in a TV movie with "Dallas" star Linda Gray
Judee Sill is one of the great tragedies of the music biz
Actress/director Sarah Polley has a cousin who works for a car dealership where I live

8 people I think should do Crazy 8s:
Since I don't tag, it's open to whomever wants to participate. If you are taking part, just leave me a note in the comments section so that I can check your responses.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 10/20/07

4 pm hour

Jump- Van Halen
Cherish What Is Dear To You- Freda Payne
H.A.P.P.Y. Radio- Edwin Starr
Freedom- Wham!
Hangin' On A String- Loose Ends
Off the Wall- Michael Jackson

Common Thread segment: Tom Petty birthday tribute
Make It Better (Forget About Me)
You Got Lucky
Change of Heart
Don't Do Me Like That

To Be Invisible- Gladys Knight & the Pips
It's Ecstacy When You Lay Down Next To Me- Barry White
Love Plus One- Haircut 100
Head Above Water- Hall & Oates

5 pm hour

Stoned Love- The Supremes
Slaughter- Billy Preston
Arc of A Diver- Steve Winwood
Hard Times- Run DMC
Tumbling Dice- Linda Ronstadt
Be My Lady- Jefferson Starship
Pain- Ohio Players

Now & Then segment's feat. artist: Prince
The One U Wanna C- from his 2007 CD "Planet Earth"

Got the Love- AWB
Think- Lyn Collins
Drive- The Cars
Twilight World- Swing Out Sister

6 pm hour

Mighty Love- The Spinners
Pay To the Piper- Chairmen of the Board
Ebony Eyes- Stevie Wonder
Like A Virgin- Madonna
American Fool- John Cougar
When We Was Fab- George Harrison
Thank God It's Friday- Love & Kisses

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Glory of Love- Peter Cetera

Time To Get Down- The O'jays
Keep Me Cryin'- Al Green
People Are People- Depeche Mode
Who's Your Baby- The Archies
Life Is A Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)- Tracey Ullman
Dial My Heart- The Boys
Night Fever- The Bee Gees

Did any of your faves make this week's playlist?

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Monkees Movie "Head" Airs On TCM

As part of its cult film showcase "TCM Underground", the classic movie channel will air the Monkees' 1968 feature "Head" this coming Friday night/early Saturday morning at 2 am EST. If you are a fan of Mike, Micky, Davy, and Peter and haven't seen this movie, it's worth checking out. However, let me say up front that if you are expecting a 90 minute Monkees episode you will be sorely disappointed. Even though I knew that "Head" was totally different from their sitcom, my first time watching it still left me feeling as if I had just eaten a mushroom. In the years since then, I have seen "Head" a few more times and have grown to appreciate it.

Sticking with the 60s vibe, TCM will show the Herman's Hermits 1968 film "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter" immediately following "Head". For more details on the movie "Head", please click the following link:


Below is a clip of one of my favorite sequences in the film. Recorded live in Salt Lake City, the Monkees perform the Mike Nesmith-penned rocker "Circle Sky".

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Chuck Berry

October 18th is the 81st birthday of a man who helped write the book on rock and roll guitar... the one and only Chuck Berry. It's funny because just the other day I was tossing ideas around as to what I would write about Chuck when his birthday did come. Admittedly, I didn't realize that Chuck's birthday was on Thursday until I visited the blog of Dane Bramage (his webpage contains a birthday widget).

One of the things that I have grown to admire about Chuck is that he does things the "Chuck Berry way". There are several scenes in the 1986 documentary "Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" that illustrate this point. If you are a fan and haven't seen this film, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite parts of the doc is when Bruce Springsteen talks about the time early in his career when he and the E Street Band backed up Chuck Berry one night. Bruce recalls that Chuck didn't show up until about 5 minutes before showtime. When Chuck did arrive, he headed straight to the promoter's office. Once Chuck left the office, Bruce and the band asked him what songs they were gonna do. Chuck replied, "We're gonna do some Chuck Berry songs." Probably the most famous scene in the film is when Chuck and Keith Richards have a heated exchange during a rehearsal for Chuck's 60th birthday concert. Lesson: whatever you do, don't ever mess with Chuck's guitar amp.

One of the most imitated performers in rock and roll, below are just a few examples of artists who have been influenced by Chuck.

1. The Beatles recorded Berry songs such as "Rock and Roll Music" and "Roll Over Beethoven" early in their career. Even towards the end of their time together, the Beatles were still being influenced by Chuck Berry. Their #1 hit "Come Together" contains the line "Here come old flat top he come moving up slowly". That's a direct rip from the Chuck Berry classic "You Can't Catch Me". It contains the lyric "Here come old flat top he come moving up with me". As a result, Chuck Berry's music publisher sued John Lennon for copyright infringement. The suit was eventually settled out of court. Ka-ching!

2. The Beach Boys hit "Surfin U.S.A." is a rewrite of "Sweet Little Sixteen". Basically what Brian Wilson did was use the melody of "Sweet Little Sixteen" and change the lyrics. Try playing both songs in your head if you doubt me. Eventually, the Beach Boys were forced to give Berry a co-writing credit in order to avoid a lawsuit. Again... Ka-ching!

3. The Rolling Stones (esp. Keith Richards) are some of the biggest disciples of Chuck Berry. Their very 1st single was a remake of the Berry tune "Come On". You can even hear Chuck's influence on such Stones classics as "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Tumbling Dice", and "Start Me Up" just to name a few.

4. Chuck's signature move, the Duckwalk, has been imitated by a variety of rock and rollers... mainly Angus Young of AC/DC.

When I think of all of the classics that Chuck recorded during the 50s and 60s, it amazes me that he had to wait until 1972 to have a #1 hit (My Ding-A-Ling) on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. You know that things are just not right when "You Light Up My Life" is allowed to clutter up the top of the charts for 10 weeks, while Berry songs such as "Johnny B. Goode" and "Sweet Little Sixteen" failed to land in the top spot for one lousy week.

Oh well... Chuck's music has stood the test of not only time, but space as well. In 1977, the Voyager Golden Record was included in the the spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Among the many sounds and images included on the record is the song "Johnny B. Goode". This means that in the far distant future, alien life form might be grooving to Chuck Berry. Take that Debby Boone!

Below is a clip of Chuck performing "You Can't Catch Me" in the 1956 film "Rock, Rock, Rock". He is introduced by legendary DJ Alan Freed.

Ellen Degeneres and the Saga of Iggy the Dog

Don't you hate it when you set out to do what you think is a good thing and it goes wrong? By now I am sure that most of you have heard about Ellen DeGeneres and the animal rescue organization that took back her adopted dog (Iggy) after she gave the puppy away without the agency's permission.

Although I am not a pet lover, the clip below of Ellen's tearful plea really gets to me. It's clear to me that she is in pain and doesn't want those two kids to get penalized because of the mistake she made. I know that Ellen did sign the agreement stating that she would return the dog to the agency if she couldn't keep it. Based on her comments, it sounds as if Ellen wasn't aware that giving away the dog was a violation of the agreement. I can also understand that the agency has the rule in place to protect the animals. However, I think that there are instances such as this where exceptions can be made to the rule. On the other hand, some have suggested that Ellen could easily buy the two kids another dog and that would be the end of it. Some might argue that this doesn't take into account that (according to Ellen) the two kids bonded with Iggy during the two weeks that they had it.

After searching for a photo of Ellen that I would include with this post, I found that this story has taken an uglier turn. According to the operator of the animal rescue organization that took the dog away, she has been deluged with threatening emails and phone calls. For the full story, click here. As I said earlier, the animal rescue organization could have made an exception and let the family keep the dog. It's probably a moot point now because I have heard that the dog has been placed with another family. But making threatening phone calls and sending hate e-mails is going way too far!

Regardless of whether or not you are a pet lover, I am anxious to hear your thoughts on this entire matter.

Ellen DeGeneres photo courtesy of the AP

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #17: Some of My Favorite Stand Up Comics

Thirteen of my favorite stand up comics

Unless you suffer from geliophobia, you more than likely have enjoyed the wit and wisdom of a stand-up comic. Below are 13 of my favorites. With the exception of the 1st comedian listed (who I think is the greatest of all-time) the comics are listed alphabetically. You can see the comics in action by clicking on their name. If a favorite comic of yours didn't make my list, it's due to one of the following:

a. There are only 13 slots, which makes it impossible to fit in all of my favorites
b. I'm not very familiar with the comic's work
c. I don't think they are all that funny

With that being said, I would love to hear who some of your favorites are.

As a side note, profanity doesn't bother me in the least. This is probably because I was a sailor in a previous life (don't laugh, Shirley MacLaine told me so herself). Anyways, since there may be some readers who are offended by profanity, I have included a "P" at the end of an entry for any comic whose performance contains harsh language.

1. Richard Pryor- In my opinion, any list of stand-up comics has to start with Richard. If the only things he had done was "Richard Pryor Live In Concert" and "Richard Pryor Live On the Sunset Strip, he would still be a comic legend. In the clip he talks about the time he spent talking to prisoners while filming "Stir Crazy". P

2. John Caponera- I first saw this comic when he appeared on "A&E's An Evening At the Improv"... man I used to love that show! Anyways, the clip I linked to is from an appearance that John made on Comedy Central in 1991. He does a dead-on impersonation of Cubs broadcasting legend Harry Caray.

3. George Carlin- He is living proof that not everyone mellows with age and for that, I am grateful. I was lucky enough to catch his stand-up act when he came to the campus of Northern Michigan University in the early 1990s. P

4. Dave Chappelle- The abrupt ending of his brilliant sketch comedy show was one of the great tragedies of TV. In this clip from one of his stand-up specials, Dave discusses the differences between grape juice and grape drink. P

5. Margaret Cho- I was glad to see that she was able to survive her failed ABC sitcom and go on to be a force on the stand-up circuit. Her ruminations on issues such as race, sexuality, and female body images in Hollywood are Pryoresque (if that isn't a word, it is now).

6. Lavell Crawford- I first saw his act when I was over a friend's house back in the 90s and we were watching "Showtime At the Apollo". I was holding my stomach I was laughing so hard!

7. Rodney Dangerfield- With his bug eyes and stage mannerisms, Rodney could be funny without saying a word. When he opened his mouth, he was a riot!

8. Kathy Griffin- Kathy was the best (if not only) reason to watch "Suddenly Susan". I love her stand-up act because she has no problem ripping a celebrity to shreds. P

9. Lisa Lampanelli- I first discovered Lisa when I stumbled upon one her clips on You Tube a couple of years ago. I call her the female Don Rickles. P

10. Dennis Miller- Smart assed stand-up at its best. I have always been a fan of Dennis' use of pop culture/literary references in his act. P

11. Eddie Murphy- Years before starring in family fare like "Daddy Day Care" and "Dr. Doolittle", Eddie was a stand-up God. Can you imagine how big of a deal it would be if he decided to do a stand-up tour again after all these years? P

12. Chris Rock- Chris is another stand-up that I saw perform in person. My stomach muscles got a good workout that night. P

13. Marsha Warfield- Although she is best known as Roz on the sitcom "Night Court", Marsha had a pretty successful career as a stand-up. This clip is from an appearance on one of the Comic Relief specials. P

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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, October 16, 2007

Final Results of Motown Poll

In the recent Motown poll, The Temptations were selected as favorite group by almost 50% of the voters. What does it take for Jr. Walker and the All-Stars (as well as the Marvelettes) to receive some love? I wish I had the answer because both of these groups, though popular, received 0 votes. Here are the final results:

The Temptations- 46%
The Supremes- 20%
Martha & the Vandellas- 13%
The Four Tops, The Jackson Five, and The Miracles- 6% each
Jr. Walker & the All-Stars and The Marvelettes- 0% each

Below is a clip of the winning act performing their classic 1966 hit "Ain't Too Proud To Beg"

The Jazz Singer Premieres On TCM

On Tuesday at 8 pm EST, TCM premieres the 1927 film "The Jazz Singer". Starring Al Jolson, the film tells the story of an Orthodox cantor's son who defies his father's wishes that he follow in his footsteps and instead realizes his dream of becoming a jazz singer.

For most, the film is notable for two reasons:

1. It was the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences.
2. The lead character's use of blackface in his Broadway act

Since I have never seen "The Jazz Singer", I am looking forward to its premiere on TCM. Because much has been said and written (both positive and negative) about this film, I want to see it for myself before passing judgement. In addition to the film itself, I am interested to hear TCM host Robert Osborne's introduction of the film. Because TCM has a reputation of doing a fine job addressing the history of Hollywood's depiction and treatment of blacks, I am hoping that they won't sugarcoat the blackface scenes that take place in the film. Although I am prepared to be offended by these scenes, I am trying to keep an open a mind. In addition to the 8 pm showing, TCM airs an encore presentation of "The Jazz Singer" on Wednesday morning at 4:30 am EST.

Monday, October 15, 2007

All My Children Recasts the Role of Babe Chandler

An odd thing happened on "All My Children" last week. Alexa Havins (top photo) was replaced by Amanda Baker (bottom photo) in the role of Babe Chandler. What was odd is that the switcheroo took place in the middle of the scene! When I read about the impending recast in a September issue of TV Guide, I was intrigued to find out how AMC would pull off the switch. Below is the scene in which the switch takes place.

As expected, many AMC fans are not happy about the recast. Since her debut on the show in 2003, Alexa Havins had become a fan favorite in the role of Babe. However, I think it's too early to tell whether or not the recasting of Babe will work. While we're on the subject, what do you think were some of the best or worst recasts (soap or non-soap)?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spin City Playlist For 10/13/07

4 pm hour

Don't Leave Me This Way- Thelma Houston
Romanticide- Combo Audio
Gangsters of the Groove- Heatwave
Armageddon It- Def Leppard
Silly- Deniece Williams
Get the Cream Off the Top- Eddie Kendricks
Dude Looks Like A Lady- Aerosmith

Common Thread segment: In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, 4 tunes by Latin artists:
Tell Her She's Lovely- El Chicano
Falling In Love (Uh-Oh)- Miami Sound Machine
Will the Wolf Survive- Los Lobos
Suavecito- Malo

Bust A Move- Young MC
Old Fashioned Love- The Commodores

5 pm hour

Saturday Night- The Bay City Rollers
Acid Queen- Tina Turner
You're A Friend of Mine- Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne
Human- Human League
Live It Up- The Isley Bros.
Jack & Jill- Raydio
Don't Talk To Strangers- Rick Springfield

Now & Then segment's featured artist: Simply Red
Stay (the title track from their 2007 CD)
The Right Thing

Look Into Your Heart- Aretha Franklin
September- Earth, Wind, & Fire
I Wish I Had A Girl- Henry Lee Summer
Lookin' For A Love- Bobby Womack
State Farm- Yaz

6 pm hour

Talk Dirty To Me- Poison
Five Minutes of Funk- Whodini
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting- Elton John
Holdin' On- L.T.D.
Atomic- Blondie
Illegal Alien- Genesis
Body Heat- James Brown
Bring the Noise- Public Enemy
Wild & Crazy Love- The Mary Jane Girls
Power To the People- John Lennon
Baby Let Me Kiss You- King Floyd
Rock Steady- The Whispers
Head Over Heels- Tears For Fears

Did any of your favorites make this week's playlist?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Retro Commercial: Pizza Hut

In this 1995 commercial, the man formerly known as Richard Starkey proclaims that he is ready to "get back" with the lads... and eat some delicious Italian pies from Pizza Hut. When this first aired, I really got a kick out of seeing the "lads" appear near the end.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WKUF Returns To the Airwaves

After suspending all live programming for over a month, WKUF-LP, 94.3 returns to the airwaves this week. As some of you may know, this is the college radio station where I host a show (using the alias Xavier B) every Saturday from 4-7 pm EST. On my show (Spin City), I play a wide variety of music from the 70s and 80s. On any given show you are likely to hear artists such as James Brown, Duran Duran, Donna Summer, Run DMC, Suzi Quatro, and The Smiths. My 1st show after the layoff will be Saturday, October 13th.

If you live outside of the Flint area, you can hear the station right through your computer! To listen, you will need either Real Player, Winamp, or iTunes. Just click on the link below and you'll be taken to Kettering University's home page. Next, click on the "Listen to the NEW WKUF Student Webstream" link. You will find this link in a blue box on the right side of the page.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #16: Musical Guilty Pleasures

Thirteen of my musical guilty pleasures

On my Saturday afternoon radio show, I play music from the 70s and 80s. One of the features that I do periodically is "The Guilty Pleasure of the Week". Below are 13 songs that I've featured in this segment of my show. It's easy to say that you like artists such as Prince, Steely Dan, Joan Jett, and Public Enemy. However, it takes guts to admit one's admiration for the cheese that I'm about to share with you. You can click on the song title/artist links to listen to the songs. Go ahead, I won't tell.

1. All Out of Love- Air Supply: This is one of my favorite songs by the group that I call the Patron Saints of Musical Guilty Pleasures. I know there are many people who would like to cut off this group's air supply, but you have to admit this is a helluva pop tune! The soft guitar intro, the soaring vocals of Russell Hitchcock (the short dude with the white man's fro) and Graham Russell (the tall blonde guy), the majestic production...

2. Alone Again (Naturally)- Gilbert O'Sullivan: If you ever think your life sucks, put on this #1 hit from 1972. After hearing the suicidal singer's tale of woe (he gets stood up at the altar and both of his parents are dead), you may come to the realization that things in your world aren't so bad after all.

3. Arthur'sTheme (Best That You Can Do)- Christopher Cross: I was once caught between the moon and New York City... it wasn't pretty.

4. Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley (Free Baby)- Will To Power: Frampton meets Skynyrd. If you ever wanna piss off a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, tell them that Will To Power's version of "Free Bird" smokes the original by the "Sweet Home Alabama" boys.

5. Cover Girl- New Kids On the Block: It has always been easy to cap on a group like New Kids (esp. those flaky dance moves they did in the video for "The Right Stuff"). But "Cover Girl" to me is a catchy ass song.

6. Dance With Me- Orleans: This is one of those songs that associate with going to the doctor's office as a kid. Even though my voice is too deep, that doesn't stop me from trying to hit those high notes on the line that goes "I can take you where you want to go".

7. Eres Tu (Touch the Wind)- Mocedades: I first discovered this song back in the early 90s when I heard it on the 70s Super Hits channel on Music Choice. If you saw the movie "Tommy Boy" with Chris Farley and David Spade, you may remember this song. The two of them sang it in the car during their road trip.

8. Electric Youth- Debbie Gibson: The first song I ever featured in the "Guilty Pleasure of the Week" segment, this is one of those tunes that always puts me in a good mood. It really comes in handy during rush hour traffic. "Don't underestimate the power. Of a lifetime ahead."

9. I Was Made For Dancin'- Leif Garrett: Before he became a "Behind the Music" punchline, Tiger Beat cover boy Leif gave us this strobe light hit. Yes, he was made for dancin'... all-all-all, all night long.

10. Julie, Do Ya Love Me- Bobby Sherman: Here's a blast from the past for all you teenyboppers who used to swoon as you watched Bobby in his role as Jeremy Bolt on "Here Come the Brides". Even those people who think they are too cool for the room can't resist singing along to the chorus of this 1970 hit.

11. Magic- Olivia Newton John: Whenever I hear this song, it takes me back to when I got my first radio back in 1980. Although I might regret it, I wish some cable channel would air the movie it came from (the 1980 mega flop Xanadu) because I've never seen it.

12. My Love- Lionel Richie: When it came to cheesy pop songs, Lionel was the man. I guess you could say he was a Cheese Whiz. When listening to this song, it's hard to believe this is the same guy who sang lead on such funky Commodores' tunes as "Too Hot To Trot" and "Slippery When Wet".

13. Top of the World- The Carpenters: Although I am not a big fan of this duo's music, the steel guitar and Karen's singing on this tune get me every time.

Now that I've burned myself at the musical stake, it's your turn. What songs are you almost ashamed to admit you like?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

(leave your link in comments, so that others can visit you)

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, October 9, 2007

Final Results of Recent Poll

Picture it, the blogosphere 2007... in the recent Golden Girls poll, the mother/daughter team of Sophia Petrillo and Dorothy Zbornak were voted as your favorite characters on the series. Both each received 28% of the vote. In a two-way tie for 2nd place, Blanche Devereaux and Rose Nylund each received 21% of the vote. Blanche surprisingly didn't receive a lot of voter love early on, but then made a push about midway through.

Below is a clip from the 1986 episode "Isn't It Romantic". This is the one where Dorothy's lesbian friend Jean (played by Lois Nettleton) develops a crush on Rose.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Veronica Mars- The Complete First Season

A friend who works in the same building as I do loaned me her copy of "Veronica Mars- The Complete First Season". Although I heard and read many positive things about the series, for various reasons I never watched it during its original run.

On Saturday, I watched the pilot episode. I am happy to say that it exceeded my expectations. On the back of the DVD set's coverbox, "Veronica Mars" is described as a little bit Buffy... a little bit Bogart... with a dash of Nancy Drew. With an underlying theme of teen alienation and featuring a heroine who is both sarcastic and resourceful, the description on the coverbox was right on the money.

Most shows take at least a few episodes to hit their stride. However, "Veronica Mars" gripped me right from the beginning. Through Veronica's narration and the use of flashbacks, we learn in the pilot how Veronica was once a member of her high school's in crowd. This all changed when someone close to her is murdered. In addition to the loss of her status at school, the ensuing events surrounding the murder also have negative repercussions on Veronica's home life and the career of her father.

Moonlighting as a private investigator, Veronica's life is anything but boring. In the pilot episode alone, Veronica (played by Kristen Bell) helps and eventually befriends new kid Wallace (Percy Daggs III), gets payback against the town sheriff, and faces down the local motorcycle gang. Early in the pilot, Veronica's private investigator father Keith (Enrico Colantoni) cautions her to take backup when she does surveillance work on the town's richest citizen. In the scene where Veronica runs into the motorcycle gang (who she encounters while on surveillance), we learn exactly what her father meant by backup.

Because we are in the midst of football season and the MLB playoffs, I have only been able to watch just the pilot episode of "Veronica Mars" so far. However, I cannot wait to finish the remaining episodes of the DVD set to see how the murder mystery gets resolved.

John Mellencamp Turns 56 Years Old

Sunday, October 7th is John Mellencamp's 56th birthday. Because of his rebellious personality, John doesn't seem like the type to whom you would wish a happy birthday. I could be way off base, but I just don't picture friends and family standing around with party favors waiting for John to make a wish as he blows out his birthday cake candles.

My first exposure to John was when he was still performing under the "John Cougar" moniker. Even after all these years, I still sometimes slip and either refer to him by that name or the "John Cougar Mellencamp" handle. I'm old school, what can I say? Anyways, I first saw him when he performed "Ain't Even Done With the Night" on The American Music Awards back in 1980 or 1981. Along with the song itself, the thing that struck me was John's choice of 50s styled attire. Since I was really into the oldies of the 50s and early 60s at the time, I thought this was pretty cool.

The prominence in John's music of instruments not normally not associated with rock and roll (the accordion and fiddle, for example) and his refusal to follow trends has allowed his songs to attain a timelessness. For example, songs like "Paper In Fire", "The Authority Song", and "Check It Out" sound as fresh today as when he first recorded them back in the 80s. Although I still enjoy the music of artists like The Human League and ABC, much of their work from that decade hasn't aged as well as John's.

Along with John's music, I have always respected his willingness to stick his neck out on controversial issues... regardless of any negative effects it might have on his career. You may have heard the flack that his new song "Jena" has caused (the mayor of Louisiana called the tune inflammatory). You can hear the song and see its accompanying video by clicking here. Whether or not you agree with his politics, I think you still have to respect that (to paraphrase the title of one of his songs) John "stands for something".

Below is the link to the video for one of my favorite songs by John, his 1987 hit "Cherry Bomb". The most notable thing about the clip is its depiction of an interracial couple slow dancing together. I remember that during a 1991 appearance on "Later With Bob Costas", John told the story of how he received threats from the KKK because of the video.

Cherry Bomb

Friday, October 5, 2007

Retro Commercial: Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

The commercial below is from the "Messy Marvin" series of ads for Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. As you may know, Peter Billingsley (Ralphie from "A Christmas Story") played Marvin in these commercials from the early 1980s. While trying to dig up info for this post, I Googled "Messy Marvin" (damn, that sounds kinda dirty... let me rephrase that)... when I entered the words "Messy Marvin" in a Google search, I learned that the term has a totally different meaning (sexually related) according to the urban dictionary. Who knew??

One thing that's fun about watching old commercials is spotting performers who went on to star in other roles. See if you recognize the pair of actresses who play two of Marvin's classmates. Both were cast members of two long-running series. The one on the left is semi-easy, but the one on the right is pretty tough. If you aren't in a guessing mood, click here for the identity of the actress on the left and here for the one on the right.

Former Price Is Right Employee Files Lawsuit

Say it ain't so Bob! Whether it's true or not, his plans for a peaceful retirement are shot to hell.

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES - A woman who worked on "The Price Is Right" for two decades has sued Bob Barker and the game show's producers, alleging they retaliated against her and forced her to quit after she testified against Barker.

Deborah Curling claimed she was in a "pleasant working environment" for many years screening contestants for the show, but that changed after she testified in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought against Barker by a former production assistant, according to her lawsuit filed Thursday in Superior Court.

Curling claimed she was demoted to working in an "intolerable" working environment in the back stage, forcing her to leave the show last fall.

Curling, who is black, also claimed a hostile work environment in which black employees and black contestants were discriminated against.

"Barker created an atmosphere of terror on the show, as a result of which any employee who complained about the working environment or contradicted Barker was fired," the lawsuit said.

Besides Barker, the lawsuit also names production company FreemantleMedia North America and CBS as defendants.

A CBS spokesman declined to comment, and an after-hours call to FreemantleMedia was not immediately returned.

Curling's lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

Barker, 83, retired earlier this year after hosting "The Price Is Right" for 35 years.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 15: TV Shows That I Own On DVD

Thirteen TV Shows That I Own On DVD

I love the idea of TV shows on DVD. The format gives life to many series that are rarely rerun. I also love that you get the series uncut, commercial free, and without annoying split screen or sped up credits. Sorry, but if I am watching "The Golden Girls" on Lifetime, I don't need to be reminded about the woman in peril/all men are scum movie that they'll will be showing later on in the day. If the set has special features, that makes it all the better. Below are some of the series that are in my collection.

1. Degrassi Junior High: Season 2: The original Degrassi is arguably the best school-based TV series ever. I first discovered this show back on PBS in the 1980s. I liked that they used kids who were actually school-aged and didn’t look like they were aspiring models. Plus, the acting and the storylines were realistic as well.

2. Eerie, Indiana - The Complete Series: I used to watch this series when it orig. aired Sunday nights on NBC in the early 90s. The best way for me to describe it is what would happen if you crossed The Wonder Years with The Twilight Zone.

3. Family - The Complete First and Second Seasons: I was too young to catch this series during its orig. 1976-80 run. However, I watched it religiously when it was briefly rerun while I was in high school. Although the set doesn’t have any special features, it is still worthwhile. Some of the guest stars in the first and second seasons include: James Woods, Tommy Lee Jones, and Genie Francis.

4. Freaks and Geeks- The Complete Series: Set in suburban Detroit in 1980, "Freaks and Geeks" is one of those series that belongs in the "brilliant, but cancelled" category. Although I did catch it a couple of times when it aired on NBC, I didn’t really get into it until I checked out the complete DVD set from a local library. Some of the special features include: multiple commentaries by several cast members, audition footage, and deleted scenes.

5. Good Morning World: This sitcom ran for 26 episodes during the 1967-1968 season. It starred Ronnie Schell (Duke Slater from Gomer Pyle) and Joby Baker as the hosts of a morning radio show. One of the supporting players on the show was a pre-Laugh In Goldie Hawn. The set also includes a new interview by Ronnie Schell.

6. The Greatest American Hero- Season One: I used to watch this superhero spoof all the time on ABC back in the early 80s. No matter how many times it happened, I never got tired of watching Ralph (played by William Katt) crash into wall, bushes, etc. because he didn’t know how to use his superhero suit properly (he misplaced the manual when the aliens delivered it to him... don’t ask). The DVD set also includes new interviews and the unsold pilot for a spinoff called “The Greatest American Heroine”.

7. In Living Color: Season 1: It’s fun to go back and watch such skits as the “Homeboy Shopping Network”, “Lean On Me Beautiful”, and the classic Star Trek spoof “The Wrath of Farrakhan”. Although the set includes a featurette on The Fly Girls, Jennifer Lopez is nowhere to be found (she didn’t become a member until the 2nd season).

8. The Monkees: Season 1: Along with the antics of Mike, Micky, Davy, and Peter, this set has some really cool features, including: some of their commercials that they did for Kelloggs’ and Yardley Black Label after shave, audition call sheets, and the original pilot (which features songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart handling the vocals instead of The Monkees). Another cool feature is that if you don't want to watch the complete episodes, you have the option of viewing just the song "romps".

9. Picket Fences- Season 1: I had been waiting for this to hit DVD for quite some time. Although I didn’t watch it this when it first aired, I gave it a try when TNN started showing reruns a few years ago. This is one of those rare series that can be laugh out loud funny, thought provoking, and touching all in one episode. The lone special feature on the set is a documentary short that includes current interviews by cast members.

10. Police Squad! The Complete Series: Although only 6 episodes were produced, this to me is still one of the funniest shows to ever air on TV. If you are a fan of “Airplane” style humor, you will love this show. If not, don’t even bother. Some of the features on the set include a new interview with Leslie Nielsen, a gag reel, and selected commentary.

11. Scrubs- The Complete First Season: Another one of my all-time favorite shows. It can make you laugh and make you cry all in the span of 22 minutes. I also love the unexpected pop culture references that the show throws at you: the 1st season has people like Jimmie Walker, Carrot Top, and Louie Anderson appearing as themselves in some of J.D.’s fantasy sequences. Also guest-starring in episodes from the 1st season are John Ritter (as J.D.’s dad), Markie Post (as Elliot’s mother), and cast members from “St. Elsewhere”.

12. What's Happening- The Complete First Season: I used to watch this one all the time with my family back in the late 70s. Although the DVD set contains no special features, it’s still cool to catch such episodes as “The Burger Queen” (where Dee is chosen to star in a fast food commercial), “My Three Tons” (which features the dance troupe The Lockers), and “The Hospital Stay” (where Dee befriends an embittered ex-Negro League baseball player).

13. Wonderfalls- The Complete Series: In case you aren’t familiar with the show (which briefly aired on FOX in 2004), it’s about a Brown University grad who gets a job working at a tourist shop on Niagara Falls. In each episode, she hears the voices of inanimate objects (a wax lion, a brass monkey, a wind-up penguin toy, etc.) --which instruct her to help out total strangers. Of course, no one else can hear them. It’s sort of like an acid-drenched version of “Touched by An Angel”. I read somewhere that the show was originally titled “Touched by A Crazy Person”. One of the co-creators of "Wonderfalls" also produced the Showtime series "Dead Like Me".

What TV series do you have in your DVD collection?

Don't forget to vote in this week's poll (located in the upper left hand corner of the page)

(leave your link in comments, so that others can visit you)

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, October 2, 2007

The CD Player Turns 25

Although I am a day late (not to mention being woefully short in the $ department), I still wanted to make note of the CD player's 25th anniversary. Can you believe it's been that long? According to the book "Chase's 2006 Calendar of Events", the first compact disc player was developed jointly by Sony, Philips, and Polygram. It went on sale on Oct 1st, 1982 and sold for $625. When you make adjustments for inflation, that CD player would cost you almost $1,500 today! If the CD player went on sale for the first time today, it would pose quite a dilemma for me. Do I want to listen to music in pristine sound or should I keep both of my kidneys?

Having a CD player back in the 80s was something of a status symbol. I remember back in college when a friend told me and another friend about a guy he knew who had "The Joshua Tree" on compact disc... ooh!...aah! You would have thought that Vanna White was displaying a prize showcase or something.

In addition to the price of CD players back then, the fact that I wasn't looking forward to replacing my extensive tape collection prevented me from joining the CD revolution right away. In the early 90s, I finally broke down and bought my first CD player. I think the last straw for me was when I was working as a manager at Hot 'n' Now (damn I hated that job). One night we were listening to music after closing time. I put in a tape from Prince's "The Hits and the B-Sides" and the boombox at work chewed it up... it didn't even have the courtesy to spit it back out! Man was I pissed!

Surprisingly, I still have the CD player I bought back then and it works just fine... although I don't use it much anymore. Ironically, I mainly use it when I critique my radio shows (which are recorded on cassette). Like many others, I have been gradually downsizing by ripping CDs to my computer and selling the ones I no longer want. Did you ever think we would get to a point where we thought that CDs took up too much space? Just think... in about 5 years (or less) people will be complaining about getting rid of their bulky iPods.

What are some of your favorite CD memories?

Final Results of Recent Poll

In a final outcome that the Anonymous Idiot would love, Seal and Heidi Klum received the majority of votes as the couple most likely to still be together 5 years from now. Surprisingly, the couple that has been together the longest (Jay-Z and Beyonce, who've been dating for approximately 5 years) received no votes. Here are the final results:

Seal & Heidi Klum- 50%
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie- 35%
Mark Anthony & Jennifer Lopez- 15%
Jay Z & Beyonce'- 0%
Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes- 0%

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Spice Girls Sell Out London Show In 38 Seconds

The organizers for the Spice Girls' reunion tour announced on Monday that tickets for their London show sold out in 38 seconds! 38 seconds?! As my mind tends to go off in odd directions at times, I started to think about other things that could happen in 38 seconds or less:

1. Get served at a fast food drive-thru. Whether this happens or not, always check your order because in the immortal words of Leo Getz, "They fuck you at the drive thru!"
2. Read a novel from cover to cover (provided you are a disciple of Evelyn Wood)
3. Go to the top of the pyramid in the "Winner's Circle" ... that is if you were lucky enough to be paired with a celebrity like Billy Crystal.

Back to the Spice Girls. Since they were always more popular in Europe, I figured that their reunion tour would do well there... but I never expected anything like them selling out in 38 seconds. As a result of them selling out the December 15th show so fast, organizers added more London dates to the tour. It'll be interesting to see if "Girl Power" still resonates in the States once tickets go on sell for their U.S. concerts.
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