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Found 18 results

  1. My wife has been a fan of Glen Hansard for maybe the last half dozen years or so. My first impressions were that he was overwrought. A little too moody for me. Not inventive. Songs sounded too similar. Meh. But....I love my wife. And she's indulged me in my fascination with metal. And besides, I generally love Scottish and Irish music. I'm a huge Silly Wizard fan, for example. So when she suggested we see Glen Hansard at The Anthem, while I initially was not wild about it, I remembered these things and remembered that she's also turned me on to many bands and other performers that I loe dearly so, of course, we set the plans in motion. This concert was a week or two ago. It was GREAT. Tremendous performer and band. A storyteller. Inclusive. Infectious. And clearly I had been doing things wrong. Many songs, while unfamiliar to me absolutely were great. I need to listen to his stuff MORE LOUDLY. And some blew me away. Like this absolute gem. I think they stretched this to about 9 minutes. To say I was elated to see this performed by folks at the top of their game is an understatement.
  2. I'd heard about "Little Big Man" since it was released in 1970, but had never seen it until the past two days. After having seen it through, I can say that it's one of the finest, little-known American films, post-1970, that I'm aware of. It's a magical story, and yes, I truly believe that it was a major inspiration for "Forrest Gump"; I don't see how it could have possibly been otherwise. Dustin Hoffman plays 121-year-old Jack Crabb - the oldest man in the world, and the only white survivor from the Battle of the Little Big Horn, i.e., "Custer's Last Stand." Hoffman's grotesque makeup is mercifully shown for only the small parts of the movie; the rest of it is shown in flashback, and what magical flashback it is, too - Hoffman's "right place at the right time" tendencies were surely an inspiration for "Forrest Gump" - once you see it, you'll notice the same thing. You'll meet General George Custer (nailed by Richard Mulligan) and Wild Bill Hickok (Martin Balsam) along the way. This fairly long film (about 2'20") is well-worth the time to watch, and is a wonderful "yarn" (as Roger Ebert puts it). This has a 96% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it deserves it. It is an *extremely* progressive film, dealing with Native Americans as intelligent, philosophical people, and even introducing what surely must be the first-ever gay native-American role in cinematic history (does anyone know of any earlier than this?) Bigamy plays a large role in one scene, and I suspect the two of these really pissed off some conservative critics, but not any more. This is a fine movie, that may be one of the better movies, post-1970, that you've never heard of - do yourself a favor and watch it.
  3. So, about Allen Funt's theatrical, x-rated version of "Candid Camera" - the 1970 film, "What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?" The first actor in this trailer sure looks like a younger version of the guy in "Kentucky Fried Movie" (1977) being on the receiving end of Feel-Around.
  4. It's hard to believe, but when I left working as a contractor with the EPA in 2009, I'd worked with them for 60% of their existence. Yes, I'm the brains (or semi-brains) behind their primary enforcement system: ECHO (if anyone wants to purchase that domain name, contact me). "It's Been One Year of Amazing Scott Pruitt Achievements, All of Them Horrible" by Amy Thomson and Rebecca Leber on motherjones.com Make no mistake: If you feel the EPA should be dismantled (and remember: It didn't even exist until 1970), then Scott Pruitt is your man. However, if you *don't* think so, then Scott Pruitt is one of the most destructive people ever to work in the federal government. And the fact that he's doing his covert, dirty work under-the-radar during this incredible administration's tenure is just unbelievable - do you *really* think Richard Nixon is all that bad, having lied about Watergate? Really?? Does this not seem almost like Teapot Dome Scandal territory? Watergate, despite all the hullabaloo, wasn't *Jack Diddly Shit*.
  5. The second run of "Dragnet" was even better than the first. It was in color, and featured the excellent Harry Morgan as Jack Webb's partner. Very early on in Season One, you'll see the makings of "Adam-12," with two appearances by Kent McCord in the first four episodes (with SE1 EP4 using him as the star of the show). "Dragnet" (1967 TV Series) Main Cast Series created and directed (all 98 episodes) by Jack Webb Jack Webb (Creator and Star of "Dragnet" (1951), Artie Green in "Sunset Blvd.," Creator of "Adam-12") as Detective Sergeant Joe Friday Harry Morgan (Colonel Sherman Tecumseh Potter on M*A*S*H*) as Officer Bill Gannon Webb and Morgan appeared in all 98 episodes of "Dragnet" (1967). The theme song, with its well-known four-note opening, is from the 1946 film, "The Killers," and was composed by Miklós Rózsa. Season 1 (Jan 12 - May 11, 1967)
  6. Coming into tonight's game against the Houston Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs were the final remaining undefeated team in the NFL. After tonight's game, they're still undefeated - they are incredible. Their rookie running back, Kareem Hunt, is not only the leading candidate for the 2017 NFL Rookie of the Year; he's still seriously being mentioned in the NFL MVP conversation. Kareem Hunt has made the Chiefs' career-journeyman quarterback, Alex Smith, the best quarterback in the NFL so far this season - really! Look it up! Alex Smith! After five games, the man has 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Quoted from NFL.com: Through five games, Smith has as many interceptions as he does losses: zero. Give him the respect he deserves. The Chiefs are so impressive that they forced several players into my medium-term memory - one of whom is the fastest player in the NFL: Tyreek Hill, who can achieve speeds of nearly 23 mph. As I write this with 1:13 left in the game, KC is beating Houston 42-26. They're the better of the two teams, and fully deserved to win this game despite the unfortunate injury of J.J. Watt. (Edit: The final score was 42-34.) Hat's off to you, KC.
  7. I am kind of shocked there is no Queen thread just yet. A great body of work (mostly). Most people know all of their biggest hits, and I was a sucker for "Under Pressure" (1981) from the first moment I heard it. Enjoy.
  8. Listen Up! I'm writing this comment two weeks after beginning this post (on December 7, 2014). If anyone has any ambition to go through the entire series of "Night Gallery," do yourselves a favor and buy "Rod Serling's Night Gallery: An After-Hours Tour" by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson before you start - I'm ordering my copy today after having already gone through more than an entire season (I didn't know it existed before), and I can pretty much tell that it is indispensable, and *the definitive* reference guide - this is nearly an exact parallel to what I wrote about "The Twilight Zone Companion" (so much so that I cut-and-paste the paragraph from that link, and made only slight modifications to write this). I wouldn't have stumbled upon this book had they not had a sample review of "Class of 99" online (scroll down to Season 2, Episode 3c for more information). Buy this book before beginning. Cheers, Rocks Night Gallery - Season One I know, I know, but I crave cheap escapism. Note that for other series that I've gone through, the primary link (for the title) was for the Wikipedia entry; for "Night Gallery," Wikipedia's entries are inadequate, so I'm linking to the writer David Juhl who also went through the entire series, and wrote much more detailed reviews than I will be attempting - I suggest you turn to his blog for your supplemental material, and also purchase his Kindle Edition as your second reference (if you're going to traverse the entire series, you'll want both - I've never used Kindle, so I got my information from his website). David and I have written each other several times, and from what I've gleaned, I think quite highly of him, both as a reviewer of Night Gallery, and as a nice guy in general. *** (Spoilers Abound, Of Course, Throughout The Discussions. For All Seasons - Please Watch The Episodes Before Reading Anything) *** 1a. "The Dead Man" - Dec 16, 1970: [Notes: Written and Directed by Douglas Heyes (for each episode, I'll be listing the Writer and the Director. For those numerous cases where someone (often Rod Serling) wrote a teleplay based on an original story, I'm citing the author of the story).There is already a clear difference between "Night Gallery" and "Twilight Zone," as Night Gallery is going for straight horror, and Twilight Zone is clearly more of the science fiction genre with "cosmic-revenge" style plot twists. After only one episode, this is scarier (in terms of sheer horror) than anything The Twilight Zone ever put out. Still, it's nice to see Rod Serling give his narrations before the episodes, this time in the setting of a macabre art gallery (the "Night Gallery"). I have little doubt that, although the quality of episodes might be more consistent in Night Gallery, Serling's heart probably belonged to the Zone. Each of these episodes - at least for now - is one hour, divided into two thirty-minute shorts, so I will be labeling them 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, etc. with the production dates being the same for both the "a" and the "b" episodes. I saw the ending of "The Dead Man" coming well in advance, and it wasn't nearly as difficult to watch as I feared it might have been - it could have been *really* tough to swallow, but it might not have gotten past the television censors. The stunningly beautiful Louise Sorel (as the doctor's much younger wife) gives us a fine moment with an expression of genuine horror (Sorel playes Methuselah's mate as Rayna Kapec in "Star Trek's" "Requiem for Methselah" in which she was constructed to be the most beautiful possible woman - and makes a very credible case for being so.) Michael Blodgett, the handsome gentleman who portrays the condemned patient, does so in convincing fashion. Indeed, these are two very lovely people. 1b. "The Housekeeper" - Dec 16, 1970: [Notes: Written by Matthew Howard (a pseudonum for Douglas Heyes (2) <--- these numbers, going forward, will be how many episodes the person wrote or directed up until this point), directed by John Meredyth Lucas. Unlike The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery had many writers and directors (it's not nearly as Serling-concentrated), and I plan to credit them all in these Notes - such is the level of importance I place upon writing and direction, ergo the level of greatness - despite all its silliness and shortcomings - that I place on The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling. Larry Hagman (playing homeowner Cedric Acton) looks odd but somehow quite natural and even distinguished in a beard - I rather like it on him, perhaps because it helps to mask all the innocent, All-American, comic roles he's played over the years. Hagman is married to a beautiful shrew, and brings on a housekeeper who is her exact opposite - lovely on the inside, not so much on the outside. You can probably see where this is going, especially given that Hagman experiements with "personality transfer" ... or not: As many times as I've seen "this ending," I was not expecting it here, at all (and if you deconstruct it, it logically doesn't work).] 2a. "Room With A View" - Dec 23, 1970: [Notes: Written by Hal Dresner, directed by Jerrold Freedman. The extended, opening dialogue between Joseph Wiseman (who, by the way, played Dr. No) and Diane Keaton is wonderful, never looking more lovely. This twenty-minute short was simple, straightforward, and made by the interplay between Wiseman and the unwitting Keaton - it was great fun, in the most diabolical of ways. Think how clever this is: The viewer likes both of the perpetrators, and dislikes both of the victims.] 2b. "The Little Black Bag" - Dec 23, 1970: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling, directed by Jeannot Szwarc. A marvelous episode, clearly Rod Serling at his best, involving time travel, heros, plot twists, and an unexpected ending. It's amazing Burgess Meridith and Chill WIlls, both in fantastic performances, could have done so much in just twenty short minutes. Highly recommended for both Twilight Zone and Night Gallery fans - this is a terrific little vignette that doesn't seem so little.] 2c. "The Nature Of The Enemy" - Dec 23, 1970: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (2), directed by Allen Reisner. After two such fine tales in this episode, they're entitled to a clunker for the third, right? Right? Well, maybe "clunker" isn't a strong enough word - how about disaster? Catastrophe? Pick whichever term you like, and it won't be adequate to describe how laughably *bad* the ending of "The Nature Of The Enemy" is - seriously, you can scarcely believe it. I could have written this when I was five years old, and if you see it, you might just agree with me, or at least understand why I say this.] 3a. "The House" - Dec 30, 1970: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (3), directed by John Astin (Gomez on The Addams Family!). This was a good, deeply reaching episode for the first 90%, but then ended with something of a fizzle - a fizzle because the ending just doesn't make that much sense no matter how you slice or dice it. Still, the overall dreaminess of the direction was enchanting, and really drew the viewer in. So, are you okay with a long, enjoyable ride, only to have it end with a shoulder shrug? If so, then "The House" won't bother you at all; if you need a *finish*, then think twice about watching it.] 3b. "Certain Shadows On The Wall" - Dec 30, 1970: [Notes: Written by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, directed by Jeff Corey. Although I didn't remember the details of this tale, I remember being *very* creeped out by it as a child; much less so as an adult now that I've seen many a 1970s British horror piece (which this follows in spirit). Agnes Moorehead, bless her heart, is excellent at playing a soul in torment - probably one of the reasons I was so frightened by this as a child. The shadow is very scary for a child, but the adults' reaction to it makes it a whole lot less scary as an adult.] 4a. "Make Me Laugh" - Jan 6, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (4), directed by Steven Spielberg. I knew ten minutes into this that it "felt" like a Twilight Zone, so I figured it might have been written by Rod Serling, but wow, I was surprised to see it was directed by Steven Spielberg - not because it was bad, mind you; just because I was surprised. Godfrey Cambridge is a talentless comedian with Tom Bosley as his agent who runs into miracle-worker Jackie Vernon in a bar, and all Cambridge wants is to make people laugh. Given that this is Night Gallery, you can probably guess at least part of the rest. A typical episode for Serling, although I thought it could have - and should have - ended immediately after the first changeover, before any of the aftereffects were seen, but something of a letdown for Spielberg, even early Spielberg, as this episode was merely average as a whole and Cambridge's annoying aspects were equal to his pathos - it didn't have to be that way.] 4b. "Clean Kills And Other Trophies" - Jan 6, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (5), directed by Walter Doniger. Very much of Serling's signature is on "Clean Kills And Other Trophies," as he strongly believed against sport hunting, i.e., hunting merely for "trophies" instead of for actual food. Raymond Massey is excellent as Colonel Archie Dittman, a macho trophy collector holding an inheritance over his mild-mannered son, Archie Jr. (Barry Brown), until he kills an animal with a gun (when he clearly doesn't wish to) - this, over the protests of the lawyer, Pierce, played by Tom Troupe. Dittman will be receiving fitting justice for his attitudes about a lifetime of trophy collecting, and for forcing his son, a meek young man, to follow in his footsteps against his will - all this, thanks to the house servant, Tom Mboya, expertly played by Herb Jefferson, Jr.] 5a. "Pamela's Voice" - Jan 13, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (6), directed by Richard Benedict. Wow! This episode was only 8 1/2-minutes long, but what an unsettling moment in time it was. Shot in one setting, and featuring only two people: John Astin (who directed episode 3a) and Phyllis Diller. For anyone who doesn't want to invest much time in a "starter" Night Gallery episode, this is a good choice, and most guys will have nightmares after seeing it. Take a close look at the painting (all paintings were done by Thomas J. Wright): While many of Night Gallery's paintings are obviously dashed off (well, I suppose they all were), this is one example where the painting matches the episode just about perfectly, with minimal thought required by the viewer.] 5b. "Lone Survivor" - Jan 13, 1971: [Notes; Written by Rod Serling (7), directed by Gene Levitt (creator of Fantasy Island). I remember loving this as a child, and I still love it as an adult - I'd like to say it's because I have a broader, deeper sense of history, but the reason is that this story is just good, creepy fun. A bit overacted by John Colicos (pictured) as the survivor, but then again, how should you expect him to act, having a foreknowledge of his fate?] 5c. "The Doll" - Jan 13, 1971: [Notes: Written by Algernon Blackwood, directed by Rudi Dorn. This completes a trilogy that comprised an entire three-part episode of quality - "The Doll" is flat-out scary: Compared to the two ventriloquist episodes, and the "Talking Tina" episode on "The Twilight Zone," *this* doll is truly something from the bowels of Hell. It's an interesting story involving revenge, mistaken identity, a plot twist at the end, horror, and a fair amount of complexity, and makes Season 1, Episode 5, an excellent introductory Night Gallery hour for the first-time viewer. How can a doll be so scary? This episode starred John Williams (pictured) who played William Shakespeare in Twilight Zone's "The Bard," and also a few episodes as Nigel French (Mr. French's brother) in "Family Affair."] 6a. "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" - Jan 20, 1971: [Notes: Written by Rod Serling (8), directed by Don Taylor (who directed "Escape From The Planet Of The Apes" and "Damien: Omen II", as well as co-starred in "Stalag 17" and "Father Of The Bride"). This is a rather shameful admission, but it's the truth. I first began writing that this was a long, ponderous episode - it's about 40 minutes long, I watched it late at night when I was exhausted, and I was hoping for some cheap escapism (refer to "Pamela's Voice"). When I was about three sentences into my writing, I got even more tired, and didn't feel like writing, so I looked up some other reviews of the episode online. To a person, people raved about it, and in fact, it was nominated for a 1971 Emmy Award - either I was right in my late-night fatigue and the rest of the world was wrong, or the rest of the world was right and I was wrong. No doubt about it: I needed to watch this through again on a fresh mind, so the next day I watched it a second time, and I'm glad I did because I was wrong, wrong, wrong, due in large part to my previous fatigue and impatience. "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" is an excellent episode, and I'm embarrassed to say I was "talked into" liking it by reading other critics - but like it I do, very much. The acting is impeccable across the board, and the story - while very un-Night Gallery like, is fine drama and a wonderful exploration of humanity. I was dead wrong, and I had my eyes opened by the opinions of others. One other, very important thing: They sing, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" to Randy Lane (William Windom) in this episode, and that's *exactly* the song they sing to Windom in "All in the Family" in the episode, "Success Story," which aired about six months later."] 6b. "The Last Laurel" - Jan 20, 1971: [Notes: Written by Davis Grubb, directed by Daryl Duke. Now this is what I had in mind the first time I saw "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" - about a ten minute episode with minimal complexity. Jack Cassidy plays a jealous man who has lost the use of his legs, and finds himself in a situation where his lovely wife and his handsome doctor are both spending the night in his house. Naturally he expects the worst, and he has developed the skill to "leave his body" (and in this case commit a murder). The lights go out, and he enters the wrong room and kills the wrong person ... himself. Nothing too complex here, and the perfect episode for late-night, tired TV watching at 1:15 AM. This would never win any awards, but it was good, cheap melodrama bordering on horror.]
  9. I remember my father taking me to see "Patton" in 1970, and being awestruck by the opening scene - the one where Patton comes and gives a speech in front of that *amazing* American flag - other than that, I remember it being really long! What a difference 47 years makes when it comes to seeing a film about the quirks and eccentricities of a WWII General. I'm not going to issue any spoilers, especially because this is all based on historical facts about the WWII North African Theater, and its three principles: Patton, Montgomery, and Rommel. Some historical facts which you should know about (and will know about, if you watch the film). Note that since the location for this part of the war (and film) was North Africa, you can assume these are in Morocco, Tunisia, etc. You can consider these spoilers if you really want to, but since you should know about the events anyway, I'm not marking them as such (don't feel badly - I didn't either). The Battle of the Kasserine Pass - The first major conflict between allied and axis troops, at the two-mile-wide Kasserine Pass in the Atlas Mountains of Tunisia, during which we got the shit kicked out of us: 6,500 American casualties with over 1,000 dead. It was this battle which the Americans, caught sleeping, decided to bring in General Patton to run the North African campaign, and he became a three-star general (and placed in charge of General Omar Bradley, a two-star general). The Battle of El Guettar - Rommel had planned a massive Panzer attack in southern Tunisia, but Patton was more than ready for them. The Germans were pretty much devastated, and at this point, the two rival leaders had each other's full respect (the amount of respect shown to other competent leaders and soldiers in this film is quite touching, and has nothing to do with politics - they're like boxers in the 15th round, slugging it out. --- Aside: One of my treasures - my absolute treasures - is my father's Master's Degree diploma from Columbia Universty, which is hand-signed by none other than University President Dwight David Eisenhower - he came home from the war, and served in that capacity from 1948-1953, and anyone who got a diploma during that time, received a hand-signature of Eisenhower on their diploma (note that this is *before* he was U.S. President, so people didn't know he was going to be *as* famous as he was). This isn't all that rare, or valuable, but just imagine how much it means to me. How much does it mean? When the last of my parents passed away, this is the *only* thing of theirs that I wanted, out of all their tangible possessions - I'm hoping that, two-hundred years from now, it will be passed down to a distant relative of mine, and they will treasure it nearly as much as I do (it would be comparable to having something hand-signed by Benjamin Franklin today). I'm so proud of my father for serving his country in WWII, even though he was "only" in Occupied Japan after the war as over (he was a chauffeur who drove a limousine for a general, and received an honorable discharge). For the lucky recipient of this diploma, here is our family tree. --- The Allied Invasion of Sicily - Patton, a whack-job who believes in reincarnation, destiny, fate, etc., vies with British Commander Montgomery for getting the glory in taking over Sicily. They're both willing to sacrifice foot-soldiers so *they* can get the headlines and the glory for having taken over the important Italian outpost. The Sicilian campaign reveals both Patton an Montgomery to be egocentric, self-centered generals who put themselves before their troops, and this is the first part of the film that concretely shows just what bad people they are - they don't care about the greater good; they care about having their name in spotlights. These are *exactly* the types of people who need to be the generals in a science-fiction film, invading the aliens (who have superior weapons) and in the process, gain a significant dose of humility by virtue of laser beams, electric heat-rays, etc. God, would it be *awesome* to see Patton taken down a couple of notches by being forced to be humble. I love this line: A reporter who brought some priests to join Patton on his march towards Palermo, said (in front of the priests), "Colonel Davis showed us around your quarters, General Patton, and I was interested to see a bible by your bed. You actually find time to read it?" Patton: "I sure do. Every God-damned day." Oomph, a really bad moment in the movie: Patton's forward-moving line is stalled because of a couple stubborn jackasses (literally, jackasses), and he openly complains about it, and then shoots them. But, there was very clearly a body-double that did the shooting, and they didn't make any type of effort to hide that fact - this is one of the worst scenes in the film, as this is clearly not George C. Scott (yet, the person shooting the jackasses has a three-star general's helmet on). To me, this stands out as being the worst individual moment in the film thus far. There have been several scenes which definitively show that Patton has no tolerance for "cowards" in his army. There is to be no "combat fatigue," no "cases of nerves," etc. He will openly scream in these soldiers faces, scream and call them "God Damned Cowards!" and send them back out to the front lines. A general sympathetic to human needs he most certainly was not. I would be fascinated to hear peoples' viewpoints on this complex man - perhaps someone who we needed in extraordinary times; but these extraordinary times have come about (I mean, *truly* come about) perhaps twice in the last century; the other 95% of the time, these guys are just plain crotchety old bastards - but when you *really* need them, you *really* need them. I'm pretty sure this film tried to stay true to the gist of real-life, so it wasn't embellished except for what was needed for dramatic effect. That said, there was *plenty* of dramatic effect - for example, when Patton was being criticized for not including Russia in a statement about post-WWII world-rule, a newsreel by "Senator Clayborne Foss" was entirely fictional (there was no Senator Clayborne Foss) - the clip used is bogus, so while the main facts of the movie are true, there are plenty of liberties taken. I suppose you could take this as a *** SPOILER ALERT *** The deeper you get into this film, the more you realize that Patton isn't in this war for the good of the world; he's in it for himself. Why should what *he* wants matter, when what an enlisted man wants doesn't matter - at least when it comes to individual needs and also the greater good? I'm 2/3 of the way through the film now, and I'm liking Patton as a person less-and-less, and although he might be the person I'd want leading me in combat (and I mean "in the field of battle"), I don't think I'd want him making strategic decisions, because his first priority always seems like it's for himself. I wonder if the real General Patton was this much of an egoist? This all said, the personal rivalry between Patton and Montgomery was *highly* amusing. Patton said it best: "Hell, I know I'm a prima donna - I admit it. The thing I can't stand about Monty is that he *won't* admit it." Of course, all the humor quickly evaporates when Operation Market Garden costs Patton's troops an unspeakable amount of casualties. I have to say, the ending of this movie resonated more with me than the ending of any movie I've seen in a long, long time.
  10. Season One (Produced by Allan Burns (Co-Creator of "The Munsters" and "Rhoda") and James L. Brooks (Producer, Director, and Writer of "Terms of Endearment," Creator of "Room 222") "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" won twenty-nine Emmy Awards - more than any other comedy in television history. 1.1 - "Love Is All Around" - Directed by Jay Sandrich (Directed 100 episodes of "The Cosby Show"), Written by Allan Burns and James L. Brooks, Co-Produced By David Davis (Co-Creator of "The Bob Newhart Show") Introducing Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, and Cloris Leachman Featuring Angus Duncan (Ticket Clerk in "Twenty-Two" on "The Twilight Zone")
  11. I don't know how you manage to produce these summaries dude. How long did it take to put together that last post? Props to Nick Offerman
  12. I have never read "Ball Four," but I suspect at least a couple of people here have, and I'm wondering if it's worth spending time on now that all the dirty laundry has been aired. "'Ball Four' Changed Sports *and* Books" by Rob Neyer on static.espn.go.com "Wit, Wisdom, and Social Commentary" by Jim Caple on staic.espn.go.com If nothing else, "Ball Four" is probably the most significant thing ever to come out of the Seattle Pilots expansion team, which lasted exactly one year before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers.
  13. Cal Yastrzemski, affectionately (and practically) known as "Yaz" by his fans, was an incredibly durable 18-time All-Star for the Boston Red Sox. Although he played some of his later career at 1st Base and Designated Hitter, he was primarily known as a Left Fielder. Yaz was the first player with both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. His longevity made him not only a beloved fixture in Boston, but also earned him second place all-time in MLB Games Played, and third place all-time for MLB At-Bats. He is the all-time Red Sox leader in career RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases, and games played, and is third only to Ted Williams and David Ortiz in home runs. What a career this man had, especially in 1967 when he won both the AL Triple Crown and MVP Award. Here is an ESPN "SportsCentury" documentary (a wonderful biography series which ran from 1999-2007) about Carl Yastrzemski, who seems to be unjustifiably fading (along with other great outfielders such as Al Kaline, Tony Oliva, etc.) in the minds of young baseball fans:
  14. I'd heard about "Five Easy Pieces" throughout my entire adult life (I'd even read "Six Easy Pieces" by Richard Feynman (which really weren't all that easy)), but I really had no idea what the film was about until I saw it over the past couple of days. Instead of writing a review, let me just give a really well-played example of each of the "Five Easy Pieces" (which really aren't all that easy): Chopin Fantasie in F-Minor Op 49, played by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli: Bach Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D-Minor, played by Wilhelm Kempff: Mozart Piano Concerto No 9 in E-Flat Major K271, played by Maria João Pires: Chopin Prelude in E-Minor Op 28 No 4, played by Sviatislov Richter: Mozart Fantasy in D-Minor K397, played by Emil Gilels: I do, however, want to tie this in with restaurants. The girl sitting across from Jack Nicholson is none other than Toni ("Hey Mickey!") Basil: If you've watched "Five Easy Pieces," and *only* if you've watched "Five Easy Pieces," then you owe it to yourself to read this review by Noel Murray. This is the rare review that teaches, enlightens, and actually makes the movie better than it "was" before you read the review. Listen up: If you *haven't* seen the movie, then you're doing a grave disservice to three things if you click on that link before watching: 1) the reviewer, 2) the movie, and most importantly, 3) yourself. This is the type of review you read, and then realize, "Oh, this person really *does* know a hell of a lot more than I do," and you'll emerge from it fully awakened.
  15. I've sort of run out of steam with the 20th-century chanteuses I was highlighting. Lots and lots of recordings to listen to, of course, but not a lot of my favorite female jazz singers I haven't posted about at least once. So what about the great rock-n-roll singers? I find that almost all of them were men. I'm setting aside R&B and soul singers, like Aretha Franklin, one of the greatest singers of the 20th century (to anyone with any discernment), and ditto James Brown, say, or Otis Redding. It's not a matter of race: Little Richard and Chuck Berry, along with Jimi Hendrix and others, certainly inhabited the world of rock-n-roll, but it became more and more dominated by white artists as time went by in the 50s and into the 60s, and the only black rock-n-roll singer whose star shines in the highest firmament to me is Little Richard, of whom more later. The prominent female rock singers, like Grace Slick and Janis Joplin, are largely over-rated, in my view. Joplin might have become a really great singer, but her career was so terribly short. Probably my favorite female rocker is Marianne Faithfull, but it's hard to put her in the same category as the greatest male r-n-r singers, such as John Lennon. Charlie Pierce famously maintains that the only wrong answer to "what's your favorite Beatles song?" is "Revolution Number 9", a point of view I'm in sympathy with, but can't agree with in the detail. "Revolution Number 9" isn't a song, but there are songs from the white album that are wrong answers: "Piggies" and "Oh-bla-di", for example. But the white album also includes much of John Lennon's best work with the Beatles. Not just his best writing, but his best singing. Take as an extravagantly great example one of my very favorite Beatles songs, probably not well known to generations younger than mine, but which features one of John's most wonderful vocal performances, among other things - "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" (1968): I loved him as if I knew him.
  16. Probably about the same number of people who realize that Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle and used to play in Little Richard's backing band.
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