Wednesday, December 31, 2008

TCM Remembers 2008

Along with preparing to say hello to 2009, it's also time to pay tribute to those we lost this year. Below is a tribute assembled by TCM of film industry people who we said goodbye to in 2008. The montage is set to the tune "God Only Knows" by Joe Henry.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Twilight Zone Marathon Starts On Wednesday!

Right up there with downing your beverage of choice as you watch the ball drop, the Sci-Fi Channel's annual marathon of The Twilight Zone has become one of the best ways to bring in the New Year. Starting Wednesday at 8 am EST, you can catch two days worth of episodes of Rod Serling's classic anthology series. If you aren't familiar with The Twilight Zone beyond the eerie theme music, this is an excellent way to get acquainted. Even for people like me who know the twist ending of damn near every episode, the show holds up over repeated viewings. Some of the standout episodes that will be featured in the marathon include:

"A World of His Own": Keenan Wynn as a playwright with a very unique dictaphone. This episode marks the first on-screen appearance in the series by Rod Serling.

"Hocus-Pocus and Frisby": A liar's tall tales get him into a whole mess of trouble.

"One For the Angels": A sidewalk salesman takes on death personified.

"Eye of the Beholder": A woman undergoes surgery on her face in order to look like everybody else.

"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up": A group of bus travelers find that there is an extra person when they stop at a diner.

"The Invaders": An episode containing almost no dialogue, it stars Agnes Moorehead as a woman living in isolation who is terrorized by space aliens.

"Five Characters In Search of an Exit": An Army major in dress uniform, a clown, a hobo, a ballet dancer and a bagpiper find themselves in a giant cylinder with no memory of who they are or how they got there.

"The Rip Van Winkle Caper": A gang of gold thieves use suspended animation to escape to the future.

"Mirror Image": A woman waiting in a bus station begins to see strange things.

"A Game of Pool": A pool shark (Jack Klugman) challenges a long dead pool great (Jonathan Winters) to a game of pool to find out who's the best.

"The Dummy": A ventriloquist (Cliff Robertson) is controlled by his dummy.

"The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street": At the sound of the roar and the flash of light, neighbors whose contact with the outside world is mysteriously cut off begin to suspect each other of being aliens.

"The Four of Us Are Dying": A con man has the ability to change his face to make it look like anyone he chooses.

For a complete schedule of all the episodes airing during The Twilight Zone marathon, click here.

Below is a clip from the aforementioned episode, "Five Characters In Search of an Exit":

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt, 1927-2008

One of the true icons of pop culture, Eartha Kitt, has died of colon cancer at the age of 81. It's ironic that Eartha passed away on Christmas Day, given that one of her most famous songs is the yuletide tune "Santa Baby".

Because she had such a long and distinguished career, Eartha is one of those performers who is closely identified with multiple roles from a variety of eras. Perhaps her most famous portrayal is that of Catwoman on the 1960s camp classic series Batman. In the 1992 romantic comedy Boomerang, Eartha was a standout in her supporting role of Lady Eloise. In 2000, she was introduced to a new generation after providing the voice of Yzma in the Disney cartoon feature The Emperor's New Groove. She reprised the characterization in the 2005 straight-to-DVD sequel Kronk's New Groove and in the Disney Channel animated series The Emperor's New School. Eartha is survived by her daughter Kitt Shapiro and two grandchildren.

Below is a 1962 clip of Eartha performing the song "I Want To Be Evil".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Final Results of the Coldplay/Joe Satriani Poll

In the most recent poll, over 2/3 of you feel that Coldplay is guilty of plagiarizing the Joe Satriani track. There were some good points brought up by many of you. The latest news I've read is that Coldplay has politely (and not surprisingly) refuted Satriani's claim, saying that the similarities are purely coincidental. One aspect that I've found rather amusing is reading what some fans have had to say about the case. If you'd like to read some of the comments on the Rolling Stone site, click here.

Here are the final poll results:

Yes: 69%

No: 30%

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mike Tyson...Is That You?!

Based on the photo above, taken during the recent sixth annual Video Game Awards in Culver City, former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson isn't looking so "iron-like" these days. If he hasn't already, he looks like he is close to pushing 3 bills on the scale. Although Mike's dramatic weight gain is begging me to, I am going to take a pass on making any ear biting jokes. From the picture, it appears that Mike isn't planning on making an ill-advised return to the ring anytime soon. Then again, being out of shape didn't stop George "The Grill Man" Foreman from mounting a comeback in 1988.

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Coldplay/Joe Satriani Poll... Thank You

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images; ABC/CRAIG SJODIN

As many of you may know, the platinum-selling band Coldplay (fronted by Chris Martin, above left) were sued by guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani. In the lawsuit, Satriani (above right) claims the band's song Viva La Vida "copied and incorporated substantial original portions" of his 2004 guitar instrumental If I Could Fly. So that you can compare the songs before voting in the poll, the You Tube player below contains both songs.

If you would like to read more details on the story, click here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #24: Some of My Favorite Christmas Songs

Thirteen of My Favorite Christmas Songs

In case you missed it last year, this week's T13 is a repeat listing some of my favorite yuletide tunes.

1. Christmas In Hollis- Run DMC: Hip-hop holiday cheer by the rap trio from Queens. This tune was orig. featured on the 1987 album "A Very Special Christmas".

2. Christmas Wrapping- The Waitresses: Recorded in 1981 by the group that also did "I Know What Boys Like" and "Square Pegs", "Christmas Wrapping" tells the story of a single woman who (because of an exhausting year) plans to sit out the normal Yuletide activities. However, fate intervenes in a positive way.

3. Dear Santa Claus- Bobby Womack: This beautiful ballad was included on Womack's 1999 Christmas album "Traditions".

4. Father Christmas- The Kinks: Recorded in 1977, this song details the misfortune of a department store Santa who gets beaten up by a gang of kids asking him for money.

5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus- John Mellencamp: This rocking version of the classic was also part of the 1987 compilation "A Very Special Christmas".

6. Jingle Bell Rock- Hall & Oates: Recorded circa 1985, I remember that this song was accompanied by a "so bad it's good" music video. Click here to watch it.

7. Merry Christmas Baby- Otis Redding: Released posthumously in 1968, this song was the flip side to Otis' version of "White Christmas". I love when Otis sings the line, " Santa came down the chimney. Half past three, y'all."

8. Peace On Earth/The Little Drummer Boy- David Bowie & Bing Crosby: Definitely one of the oddest music pairings, but it works! This medley was recorded in 1977 for Bing's Christmas special.

9. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer- The Temptations: Motown magic from the Emperors of Soul. This song was orig. included on the 1970 album "The Temptations Christmas Card".

10. Run Rudolph Run- Chuck Berry: Although it's been recorded by several artists (Bryan Adams, The Grateful Dead, and Sheryl Crow to name a few), this 1958 version is my favorite.

11. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town- The Jackson Five: The brothers from Gary, IN recorded this for their 1970 release "Christmas Album".

12. This Christmas- Donny Hathaway: This 1970 classic has been remade by a wide range of artists, including: Usher, Gloria Estefan, Harry Connick Jr, Boyz II Men, and the Cheetah Girls. It also inspired the 2007 film starring Regina King, Loretta Devine, and Chris Brown.

13. You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch- Thurl Ravenscroft: For the longest time, I thought the vocalist for this song was Geoffrey Holder (you may remember him from the 7-Up "Uncola" commercials from the 1970s). However, the man giving the verbal thrashing to the creature with a heart "two sizes too small" is Thurl Ravenscroft. He is best known as the voice of Tony the Tiger in over 500 commercials for Kelloggs' Frosted Flakes.*

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Monday, December 15, 2008

There's Nothing Lame About His Ducking Skills

Displaying reflexes that could earn him an honorary membership in the TMNT should he choose to take that path after his term ends, President George W. Bush narrowly missed tasting some shoe leather as an Iraqi TV reporter hurled his kicks at him during a news conference on Sunday. I wonder if President Bush is asking himself why can't he be more like Tom Jones. Whereas the "What's New Pussycat" singer gets panties tossed at him, the Prez has to worry about avoiding Florsheims upside the head. I know some of you may be saying that those panties belong to women with AARP cards. But hey... they're still panties!

Below you can watch the shoe throwing incident in real time and in slo-mo. This is one of those clips that will never get old to me. It ranks right up there with former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora's "playoffs" rant back in 2001 as one that will make me laugh every time I see it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Retro Mix Playlist For 12/12/08

12 midnight hour

Back In Black- AC/DC
Love Train- The Supremes
Love Will Find A Way- Pablo Cruise
Turn This Mutha Out- M.C. Hammer
Come Out and Play- The Offspring
Mandinka- Sinead O'Connor
Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)- Jay-Z

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Sad Eyes- Robert John

Under Attack- ABBA
7- Prince
Fly Like An Eagle- Seal
Come and Get Your Love- Redbone

1 am hour

Wild Wild West- The Escape Club
Is That Love?- Squeeze
Go Ahead With All That- Chanté Moore
Every Little Step- Bobby Brown
Crippled Inside- John Lennon
Stumbling In- Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman
Party Train- The Gap Band
Name- The Goo Goo Dolls
This Is the Sound- The Juliana Hatfield Three
Wild Thing- Tone Loc
Thank God It's Friday- Love & Kisses
Evil Woman- Electric Light Orchestra
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite- R.E.M.
Another One Bites the Dust- Queen

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: Under Attack by ABBA

Friday, December 12, 2008

Special Time For The Retro Mix

Instead of it's regularly scheduled time of 7 pm EST, my show (The Retro Mix) will air tonight from midnight to 2 am. For information about The Retro Mix and how you can listen online, click here. I hope you can join me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Malcolm and Pancakes: A Love Story

As I mentioned in one of my recent DWTS posts, I missed Lance Bass' fall during his dance routine because I was preoccupied with my preparation of some pancakes. Ever since my mother used to make them for us as a kid, I've had a love affair with flapjacks that continued into adulthood. A few years, I had an amicable parting of the ways with pancakes. During that time, there were a couple of quickies if I happened to be ordering breakfast at a restaurant. However, these brief encounters were the extent of our "relationship".

Earlier this fall I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Thoughtful Reflections (written by Jessica). In one of her posts, she linked to a previous one she had written about flapjacks. That was all it took for me to fully embrace my fixation once again. When I went grocery shopping shortly thereafter, I made sure I bought a box of pancake mix and a bottle of syrup. Once I got back to my apartment, I couldn't wait to fire up that skillet! When it comes to pancakes, I am a fairly basic guy. I don't need strawberries or whipped cream (however, those two items have me thinking about something else entirely). Anyway, back to the pancakes... as long as they are oozing with butter and syrup, I'm fine. Because I don't allow the time of day to dictate what I eat, I was having pancakes for dinner on some nights. It was getting to the point where I strongly considered hanging an IHOP sign above the entrance to my apartment.

As a kid, the only syrup I remember my mother buying was Alaga (the name is a combination of Alabama and Georgia, the home states of the company founder and his wife). Unfortunately, the grocery store in my area doesn't carry it. In early November, after doing my radio show one Friday night, I stopped by one of the Kroger locations in Flint hoping that they carried Alaga syrup. Kroger management didn't let me down. The original sugar cane flavor of Alaga is just the way I remembered it: sweet and so thick that when it dries around the mouth of the bottle, you can get a decent workout trying to unscrew the top.

I took me awhile, but I realized that I had to abandon my love once again. At the rate I was going, it wouldn't have been long before I'd be saying, "Hey, hey, hey" as I headed to the local junkyard to join my band and play bubblegum soul songs with a message. Even though I've bid farewell to flapjacks for now, I know that we will hook up again at some point in time. What's cool about our relationship is that there are no hard feelings. When I was in the pantry of my kitchen tonight, the bottle of Alaga temporarily morphed into Mrs. Butterworth and said to me, "It's OK Malcolm, I understand. You have to do what's best for you right now. Just know that whenever you want me, I'll be right down here waiting."

Are you a pancake lover? If so, what are your favorite toppings? To help put you in that pancake state of mind, check out a clip from the 1965 Chilly Willy cartoon titled Half-Baked Alaska. This scene features Chilly at a diner getting set to eat a stack of flapjacks.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Final Results of the Fast Food Commercial Poll

By an overwhelming margin, most people felt that fast food commercials should not be banned from TV. As I mentioned in the post inviting readers to participate in the poll, a new study shows that a ban on fast food TV commercials could reduce childhood obesity by 18%. However, I am wary of studies such as this because I feel that they often can be slanted. I still feel that getting kids involved in physical activities and parents taking more responsibility in their children's meal choices will have a greater effect on reducing childhood obesity.

I am surprised that more people didn't feel that banning fast food commercials was a bad idea. There were actually 11 people who voted "Yes" in the poll. Unfortunately, they didn't leave any comments in the post as to why they feel this way. If any of you who voted "yes" are reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Here are the final results:

Yes: 26%

No: 73%

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Retro Mix Playlist For 12/5/08

7 pm hour

Girls Just Want To Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper
Right On- The Rascals
Old Fashioned Love- The Commodores
The Humpty Dance- Digital Underground
Thank You- Dido
Pop Goes the World- Men Without Hats
Hot Line- The Sylvers

With or Without You segment's feat. artist: Gerry Rafferty
Stuck In the Middle With You- Stealer's Wheel
Right Down the Line (solo)

Encore- Cheryl Lynn
Everything About You- Ugly Kid Joe
When It Began- The Replacements
Raise the Roof- Public Enemy

8 pm hour

Hungry Heart- Bruce Springsteen
It's No Crime- Babyface
Medley- Stars On 45
Monkey Wrench- The Foo Fighters
Divine Hammer- The Breeders
Stomp!- The Brothers Johnson

Now & Then segment's feat. artist: Rick Springfield
What's Victoria's Secret? (from his 2008 CD Venus In Overdrive)
I've Done Everything For You (released in 1981)

It Must Be Love- Alton McClain & Destiny
Flashlight- Parliament
Lover Come Back- Dead or Alive
Jeremy- Pearl Jam

Note: On Friday December 12th, The Retro Mix will not air at its regularly scheduled time. It will air 5 hours later from midnight until 2 am.

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: What's Victoria's Secret? by Rick Springfield

Friday, December 5, 2008

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Fast Food TV Ad Poll... Thank You

According to a new study, a ban on fast food TV commercials could reduce childhood obesity by 18%. If you'd like to read the story on the study, click here. Although most of us will agree that childhood obesity is a problem, I don't feel that banning fast food ads is the solution. These days, it's too easy for kids to lead a sedentary lifestyle. If we can get kids to put down the remote control/video game control pads and get them involved in physical activity, that would be a step in the right direction.

As always, feel free to provide feedback in the comments section after voting.

Old School Friday: Actors/Actresses Who Can Sing and Vice Versa

For this week's OSF, I chose a single by Ralph Carter (best known for portraying Michael Evans on the 1974-1979 sitcom Good Times). Titled When You're Young and In Love (a song that was a hit in 1967 for the Marvelettes), Ralph's version hit the pop/R&B charts (#37 and #95, respectively) in 1975. For his performance of the song on Soul Train (which you can watch below), Ralph demonstrated that he was more than just a "militant midget".

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #65: Richard Pryor Quotes

Thirteen Quotes by Richard Pryor

December 1st marked what would have been Richard Pryor's 68th birthday. As a belated commemoration, I've listed 13 quotes by the man that many (including me) call the greatest stand-up comedian of all-time.

1. Upon traveling to Zimbabwe: I know how white people feel in America now, relaxed. Because when I hear the police siren, I knew they wasn't comin' after me.

2. I had to stop drinkin', cuz I got tired of waking in my car driving ninety.

3. I'd like to die like my father died... My father died fucking. My father was 57 when he died. The woman was 18. My father came and went at the same time.

4. I believe in the institution of marriage, and I intend to keep trying 'til I get it right.

5. On race relations: I don't understand what goes on some times, right, cuz here we are in this theater, we gettin' along just fine. We go outside and the shit change.

6. The way I see it, the earth is going to be here after we're dead and gone. Even if it's a polluted planet, and they messed it up. Where do they go from here - to another planet so they can mess that up too?

7. I'm not addicted to coke, i just love the way it smells

8. On trying to find his roots: I went through every phone book in Africa, and I didn't find one god damned Pryor!

9. I'm for human lib, the liberation of all people, not just black people or female people or gay people.

10. It's so much easier for me to talk about my life in front of two thousand people than it is one-to-one. I'm a real defensive person, because if you were sensitive in my neighborhood you were something to eat.

11. I never met anybody who said when they were a kid, I wanna grow up and be a critic.

12. Rosa Parks showed us all that one little person can make a whole bunch of noise without so much as a whisper. She showed the world that the color of your skin shouldn't determine what part of the bus you sit in... as you ride through life.

13. On meeting Ronald Reagan at The White House: Muthafucka looked at me like I owed him money.

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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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tina Fey: The Story Behind the Scar Revealed

For some time now, there has been a fascination with Tina Fey's scar on the left side of her chin and cheek. There is even a blog devoted to the subject. When I first noticed Tina's scar, I was intrigued. I became even more so after reading an interview that Tina did with Entertainment Weekly in 2003 (the author of the article wrote that Tina's facial scar was from a childhood injury she preferred not to discuss). Although I was curious to hear the story behind the scar, I was also cool never learning what happened.

But now, after all these years, the biggest mystery since "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?" has finally been answered. In an interview that Tina and her husband Jeff Richmond gave for the January 2009 issue of Vanity Fair, Richmond says a stranger slashed Fey's face when she was 5 years old. He goes on to say that the incident occurred in the front yard of her house. To read the complete Vanity Fair interview, click here.

Oh well, now that we know the story behind Tina Fey's scar, it's on to the next mystery. Speaking of scars, I'm dying to know what's in Al Capone's vault. I think a certain mustachioed Fox News Channel personality is just the person who can get to the bottom of this.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Web Find: Dickipedia

This past Saturday, my sister sent me an email that turned me on to a website called Dickipedia. The email contained a link to Greta Van Susteren's page in which it stated that the Fox News Channel personality is a dick.

Launched by the political humor website 23/6, Dickipedia aims its poison arrows at people and institutions both past and present. With a layout designed to mirror the mega popular online resource Wikipedia, each entry on Dickipedia starts out with an opening that includes the name of the person/institution, their year of birth/introduction, their main claim(s) to fame, and their dubious title of dick. Example: "Kanye Omari West (born June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, GA) is a Grammy-winning producer, a platinum-selling rapper, and a dick." The entry then provides a biographical sketch of the person/institution, including reasons for why they are considered a dick. One thing I enjoy about Dickipedia is that it has an irreverent laugh out loud edge you won't find on Wikipedia. In the entry for Sean Penn it says:

"Often described as an acting “powerhouse,” Sean Penn is known for his intensity and humorlessness. He has been a druggie, a delinquent, mentally-unhinged, and a retard. He has also played those characters in films."

On its main page, Dickipedia has its dickroll broken down by categories (latest, political, media, sports, entertainment, international, and miscellaneous). In addtion to the people I previously mentioned, some of the others getting the dick tag hung on them include Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Naomi Campbell, Simon Cowell, Kobe Bryant, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity. Dickipedia even takes aim at Santa Claus, oil, The Olympics, and Halloween.

For each Dickipedia entry, visitors can login/register and add their comments. However, unlike its well-established counterpart, Dickipedia is unavailable for community editing at this time.

Having said that, after viewing its dickroll (which you can reach by clicking the word "Dickipedia" in the opening sentence of this post), is there anyone/anything you'd like to see added to Dickipedia?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And the Winners of the 7th Season of DWTS Are...

Brooke Burke and Derek Hough! No argument from me; Brooke and Derek were the most consistent dancers throughout the 7th season. From day 1, they were the pair to beat. With that being said, Brooke and Derek's dance last night where she ended it by hugging two of her daughters did come off as shameless pandering.

Some other observations from last night:

* 2nd place finisher (former NFL player Warren Sapp) picked up a lot of fans due to his appearance on DWTS. In addition to his engaging personality, Warren's dancing skills were a revelation to many of us.

* Ex-NSYNC member Lance Bass (who wound up in 3rd place) was the sleeper of the season. For the most part, he was in the middle of the pack. However, as the season wore on, he picked up steam. Another thing I enjoyed about his appearance is that he and his partner (Lacey) took chances. The risks may not have always paid off, but they rarely played it safe.

* With the exception of injured volleyball player Misty May-Treanor and singer Toni Braxton, the other 8 celebrity contestants who had been eliminated performed a dance routine. I was pleasantly surprised that celebs such as comedian Jeffrey Ross and TV personality Kim Kardashian performed as well as they did. If you saw them during the competition, you know exactly what I mean because their routines during the competition rated high on the cringe-o-meter. When some of the eliminated celebs were asked why they performed so well last night, they said that the pressure wasn't there because they weren't competing.

* Although Jeffrey Ross' roasting of the three finalists, himself, and Cloris Leachman was on odd fit for DWTS, he did get some funny lines in:

People keep asking me if I lost weight during the show. I don't know, how much does my dignity weigh?

Cloris, was that even dancing? Your partner Corky just dragged you around the floor like a... it was like Weekend At Bernie's the Musical... just relax Cloris, you had your 15 decades of fame.

Doesn't Brooke look great? Especially considering she gave birth to her 15th child 3 hours ago backstage. And congratulations, I hear Lance is the father. Maybe the baby will come out of the womb and the closet on the same day.

Below is the winning team of Brooke and Derek performing the salsa during week 9 of the competition:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In Praise of Annie Lennox

This past Sunday evening, Annie Lennox received the Award of Merit at the 36th Annual American Music Awards. Ever since her days as one half of Eurythmics, I've been a fan of Annie's vocal prowess and sense of style. While channel surfing during a break in the Sunday Night Football game, I turned it on ABC and caught the tail end of Annie performing her solo hit "Why". Thanks to ETHRILLnet for posting the entire portion of the Annie Lennox segment on You Tube, which you can watch below. During Annie's performance, she demonstrated that she is still one of the premier voices in popular music. As she accepted her award after her performance, she was both humble and gracious. I didn't expect anything less.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Final Results of the Recent Sesame Street Muppet Poll

With over 40% of the vote, Grover was chosen as the favorite Sesame Street Muppet in the most recent poll. Take that Elmo!

I was a little disappointed that two of my favorites as a kid (Bert and Ernie) didn't perform better in the poll. Maybe voters were hating on Ernie because he had a hit record once ("Rubber Duckie"). As for his roomie, voters might have been reluctant to cast their lot with him because of the Bert is Evil rumors.

Here are the final results:

Grover- 44%
The Cookie Monster- 33%
Kermit the Frog- 32%
Oscar the Grouch- 25%
Count von Count- 21%
Big Bird- 19%
Elmo and Mr. Snuffleupagus- 16% each
Bert- 12%
Ernie- 8%
Other- 4%

Here is a 1975 clip of the winning Muppet Grover doing his "Near and Far" sketch:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Retro Mix Playlist For 11/21/08

7 pm hour

Hollywood Swinging- Kool & the Gang
American Heartbeat- Survivor
A View To A Kill- Duran Duran
Just A Touch- Keith Sweat
Stutter- Elastica
People Are People- Depeche Mode
No Sleep till Brooklyn- The Beastie Boys

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
Together Forever- Rick Astley

Bad Girls- Donna Summer
It Takes Two- Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock
Your Mirror- Simply Red
Private Dancer- Tina Turner
I Ain't No Joke- Eric B. & Rakim

8 pm hour

Tubthumping- Chumbawamba
Vanity Kills- ABC
Higher Ground- Stevie Wonder
What It Comes Down To- The Isley Brothers
You Learn- Alanis Morissette
Don't Change- INXS
Will It Go 'Round In Circles- Billy Preston
Talk Talk- Talk Talk

Double Retro segment's feat. artist: David Ruffin & Eddie Kendricks
You're My Everything- The Temptations (released in 1967)
I Couldn't Believe It- David Ruffin & Eddie Kendrick (released in 1987)

It's A Mistake- Men At Work
Look Away- Big Country
Salvation- The Cranberries
Fear- Lenny Kravits
Runnin' With the Devil- Van Halen

The Retro Mix Clip of the Week: Will It Go 'Round In Circles by Billy Preston

Friday, November 21, 2008

Old School Friday: Jazz Tribute

For my first selection on this week's Old School Friday, I chose the legendary Cab Calloway's signature tune... Minnie the Moocher. Although Cab recorded Minnie the Moocher in 1931, I'm not sure of the date of the clip I selected. Whenever I think of him, I'm reminded of a story my mother told me when I was a kid. During Cab's heyday, she and her friends would see him perform live. She said that while performing, Cab would shake his head in such a way that his processed hair would be all over one minute and right back in place the next.

For those of us who weren't around during Cab's prime, we probably remember him from his role in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers (he played Curtis, the orphanage worker who introduced Jake and Elwood to the blues). One of the highlights of the movie was when Cab performed Minnie the Moocher, all decked out in a white-tie-and-tail suit.

This week's 2nd selection is by The Crusaders and is perhaps their most famous song, the 1979 hit Street Life. Featuring female vocalist Randy Crawford, the song has been featured in the films Sharky's Machine starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Brown (starring Pam Grier in the title role).

You can watch the clips to both "Minnie the Moocher" and "Street Life" in the You Tube player below.

This meme was developed by Marvalus View and Ms. Grapevine. The rules are simple:

1. Anyone can participate; any music genre
2. Old School is defined as music created before 1999
3. No offensive words allowed, please use edited radio version
4. Post a video of your favorite Old School song to take us back down memory lane
5. Add your name to the meme list so that others can check you out
6. Have fun & don't forget to leave comments for other participants

If you want to join in on the fun, click here.

Please Take A Moment To Vote In the Current Sesame Street Poll... Thank You.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Death of Julius Carry, the Original Sho'nuff

One of the downsides of this age of information overload in which we live (sorry Sir Paul, but a 2nd "in" isn't needed) is that some stories slip through the cracks. About a month ago, I read that there is a remake in the works of the 1985 cult classic The Last Dragon. In the update, it's been reported that Samuel L. Jackson will take over the role of Sho'nuff, the Shogun of Harlem. While reading about the upcoming remake of The Last Dragon, I learned that the actor who played Sho'nuff in the original version (Julius Carry) died on August 19th of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. Carry is one of those performers whose name may not cause a clanging sound, but chances are you've seen him. Although he had scores of acting credits (including regular roles on Doctor, Doctor and The Adv. of Brisco County Jr. and guest appearances on such series as The Cosby Show, Moonlighting, Murphy Brown, The Hughleys and JAG), Carry is perhaps best known for his role as Sho'nuff in The Last Dragon (pictured below in a scene from the film).

Were it not for Carry's scene-stealing turn as the meanest... the prettiest... the baddest mofo around, it's likely that The Last Dragon would have wound up in the trash heap of forgotten 80s films alongside such relics as Beat Street, The Wild Life, and Midnight Madness. If none of those films registers on your 80s movie meter, I rest my case. If they do, you're a bad mofo yourself.

As I mentioned earlier, it's been reported that Samuel L. Jackson will step into role of Sho'nuff in the upcoming remake of The Last Dragon. Even though it's a role that Jackson was practically born to play, he still has some big Converse shoes to fill thanks to the memorable performance by the late Julius Carry in the original. Below is the scene from The Last Dragon where Sho'nuff and his goons invade a local movie theater.

The Retro Mix Playlist For 11/14/08

7 pm hour

Informer- Snow
Yes I Am- The Emotions
(Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again- L.T.D.
The Love Parade- The Dream Academy
The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead- XTC
Do You Want Crying- Katrina and the Waves
I'll Be Around- The Spinners

Common Thread segment: 44th b-day tribute to Joseph "Run" Simmons of Run DMC
Mary Mary
The King of Rock
Down with the King

All I Wanna Do- Sheryl Crow
Ride Captain Ride- Blues Image
Evil- Earth, Wind and Fire

8 pm hour

Major Tom- Peter Schilling
The Sign of Fire- The Fixx
Dust In the Wind- Eric Benet
Believe- Cher
I'm Qualified To Satisfy You- Barry White
Lowdown- Boz Scaggs
Mary Goes 'Round- Ready For the World

Now & Then segment's feat. artist: Labelle
Rollout (feat. Wyclef Jean, from their 2008 CD Back To Now)
What Can I Do For You (released in 1975)

One Week- Barenaked Ladies
Lawnchairs- Our Daughter's Wedding
The Glamorous Life- Sheila E.
More Than A Woman- Tavares
Heart Shaped Box- Nirvana

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: The Love Parade by The Dream Academy

Friday, November 14, 2008

Old School Fridays: Songs From the Year of My Birth

Below are not 1, but 2 tracks from the year I was born... 1967. The first track holds special meaning for me because it was the #1 song on the Billboard Pop Singles chart on the day I was born (November 13)... the title song to the Sidney Poitier film To Sir With Love by Lulu. The second track is one of the funkiest tunes ever committed to vinyl, Boogaloo Down Broadway by The Fantastic Johnny C.

You can watch/listen to both "To Sir With Love" and "Boogaloo Down Broadway" in the You Tube player below.

This meme was developed by Marvalus View and Ms. Grapevine. The rules are simple:

1. Anyone can participate; any music genre
2. Old School is defined as music created before 1999
3. No offensive words allowed, please use edited radio version
4. Post a video of your favorite Old School song to take us back down memory lane
5. Add your name to the meme list so that others can check you out
6. Have fun & don't forget to leave comments for other participants

If you want to join in on the fun, click here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Special Guest On The Pop Art Diva's Show

On Thursday 11/13 at 6 PM EST, I am honored to be the guest on the BlogTalkRadio show of Pop Art Diva. For two hours, we will talk about (surprise surprise) pop culture both past and present. To listen to the webcast live or the archived version at a later date, click here. The Pop Art Diva will have the phone lines open at various times throughout the show so if you listen live and have any questions for me, you can call 347-326-9293. I hope you can tune in because it will be a lot of fun!

Thursday Thirteen #64: Decision 2008, Part 2

Thirteen Pop Culture Showdowns

Last week, millions of Americans took part in the election process to decide the next President of the United States. In that same (although much lighter) vein, I have listed 13 pop culture showdowns on which you can cast your votes.

After each selection, I have listed my choice. Feel free to join in on the decision-making process by listing your choices from the 13 showdowns below in the comments section.

Also, please take a moment to vote in the current Sesame Street poll in the left sidebar. If you have any comments about your choices for favorite Sesame Street Muppets, click here.

1. American Bandstand vs. Soul Train- Soul Train gets my vote. It wasn't called "The Hippest Trip in America" for nothing.

2. The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones- Because they knew when to call it a day, The Fab Four trumps The Bad Boys of Rock and Roll.

3. The Brady Bunch vs. The Partridge Family- Better pop tunes (featuring the sterling tambourine/triangle playing of little sister Tracy), plus a psychedelic bus! It's The Partridges by a narrow margin.

4. Coke vs. Pepsi- This one was almost a draw. In addition to enjoying their taste equally, I couldn't give an edge to either of them when comparing their commercials over the years. However, Pepsi wins the "Cola Wars" because they had the good sense not to change their formula.

5. The Flintstones vs. The Jetsons- Since a flying car is always preferable to an auto that has to be started with your bare feet, The Jetsons get my vote.

6. Ginger vs. Mary Ann- Ginger was a little high maintenance and she tried too hard to be sexy. Mary Ann never had to try, which made her all the more sexier. Plus, Mary Ann's coconut cream pie was in a class all by itself!

7. The Go-Gos vs. The Bangles- This is a tough one, but The Bangles have the edge. The reason boils down to two words... Susannah Hoffs (top center in the Bangles' RS cover).

8. I Dream of Jeannie vs. Bewitched- I Dream of Jeannie wins this one. Tony Nelson (aka Master) had a good thing in Jeannie and didn't mind using her powers to his advantage.

Durwood (aka Darrin) on the other hand was always trying to suppress Samantha's witchy ways (wtf?). If I was Darrin, Samantha would have been twitching that nose of hers so much she would have wound up like Jack Nicholson in Chinatown.

9. McDonald's vs. Burger King- McDonald's... the fries have it.

10. Prince vs. Michael Jackson- His Royal Badness comes out on top over The Gloved One. Although Mike has the best dance moves by just a bit, Prince has a slight edge when it comes to their song catalogs and is more musically talented (dude can play over 25 instruments). Plus, the present-day Prince actually still resembles his 80s-era self.

11. Star Trek vs. Star Wars- You can try coming after me with your light saber if you want, but Star Trek gets my vote. I don't care how much dough those Star Wars prequels (Episodes 1, 2, and 3) made, they were mediocre at best.

12. Superman vs. Batman- My choice goes to The Dark Knight over The Man of Steel. Reason: his arsenal of gadgets. Like Nicholson's Joker asked, "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"

13. The Temptations vs. The Four Tops- Although I have much love for The Tops, my choice of The Tempts is a surprise to no one who knows me.

Don't forget to make your choices in the comments section.

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Final Results of the Recent SNL Poll

In the recent poll in which I asked you what your viewing habits were for SNL this season, 33% of you said that you watch segments of the show online. Thanks to sites such as, if you hear about a funny skit that you missed, you can usually watch it online instead of fast-forwarding to find it or worse... sitting through an entire episode of SNL. One thing that I have noticed when watching SNL this season is that, outside of the political skits, the funny quotient is mediocre at best. Some skits, such as MacGruber, are downright brutal! Maybe if they trimmed SNL down to an hour, it would lessen the pressure on the writers/performers of coming up with enough funny material to fill a 90 minute time slot.

Here are the final results:

Watch segments of the show online- 33%
Watch the opening political skit and skip the rest- 27%
Stick around after the opening political skit- 16%
Don't watch it at all- 19%
Tune in after the opening skit because you don't like political humor- 2%

Below is the SNL skit parodying Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Retro Mix Playlist For 11/7/08

7 pm hour

In My House- Mary Jane Girls
Jackson Cannery- Ben Folds Five
Late In the Evening- Paul Simon
Shiftless, Shady, Jealous Kind of People- The O'Jays
Once You Get Started- Rufus feat. Chaka Khan
Jump Around- House of Pain
Car Wash- Rose Royce

The Guilty Pleasure of the Week:
We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again- England Dan & John Ford Coley

Thing Called Love- Bonnie Raitt
Kiss- Prince
Driving- Everything But the Girl
Brown Sugar- The Rolling Stones
Type- Living Colour

8 pm hour

Neutron Dance- The Pointer Sisters
City Country City- War
Trick Bag- Robert Palmer
Because of Love- Janet Jackson
No Myth- Michael Penn
Human Wheels- John Mellencamp
Get Up and Boogie (That's Right)- Silver Convention

Double Retro segment's feat. artist: George Clinton
I Wanna Testify- The Parliaments (released in 1967)
Atomic Dog- George Clinton (released in 1983)

State Farm- Yaz
Set Adrift on Memory Bliss- P.M. Dawn
Peace Frog- The Doors
Superfly- Curtis Mayfield
Limelight- Rush

The Retro Mix Video of the Week: Driving by Everything But the Girl

Friday, November 7, 2008

Texas Lineman Given the Boot After Racist Remarks About Obama

When will idiots learn that things posted on Facebook have the potential to be seen by millions of people? On Wednesday, Texas Longhorns lineman Buck Burnette was kicked off the team after it was learned that he posted a racist remark about President-Elect Barack Obama on his Facebook page. His Facebook page no longer exists, but according to reports, the posting of the following comment led to his dismissal from the team:

"all the hunters gather up, we have a n----- in the whitehouse"

Note: I didn't type out the offensive word that Burnette put on his Facebook page, but you get the point. After Burnette was bounced from the team, he made the following apology:

Clearly I have made a mistake and apologized for it and will pay for it. I received it as a text message from an acquaintance and immaturely put it up on facebook in the light of the election. Im not racist and apologize for offending you. I grew up on a ranch in a small town where that was a real thing and I need to grow up. I sincerely am sorry for being ignorant in thinking that it would be ok to write that publicly and apologize to you in particular. I have to be more mature than to put the reputation of my team at stake and to spread that kind of hate which I dont even believe in. Once again, I sincerely apologize.

Mmm... yeah. If Burnette had said something in the heat of the moment, I'd be more willing to give him a pass. However, he had plenty of time to ponder whether or not it was a good idea to post this racist remark on his Facebook page. His apology comes off as a weak attempt at damage control. In addition to ending his college football career, Burnette may have also killed any chances he may have had of making it in the NFL.

President-Elect Barack Obama's historic win on Tuesday night (yes all you haters, it was historic whether you want to admit it or not) has many saying that this proves America is not a racist country. Maybe... maybe not. However, the comments by ex-college football player Buck Burnette proves that there are still pockets of racism in this country. Yes, let's celebrate President-Elect Barack Obama's historic victory (there it is again you haters) and work to move The United States in a positive direction, but let's not forget that there are several people in this country who have zero interest in progress.

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