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Found 20 results

  1. Here is to the Wizards. They made the playoffs. Do you realize they have had the aggregate worst record in the NBA since 2000. They probably had one of the worst records between around 1980 and 2000. They have been a disappointing team. ....and I've followed them virtually all of that time. I started watching them way back....in Baltimore...When Wes Unseld turned them into a fearsome team and Earl Monroe was a one of a kind unstoppable offensive whirlwind. They had other great players back then including the incredibly powerful Gus Johnson. And then the team got BETTER. They won a championship in the late 1970's had an excellent team....and a couple of dismal decades.... So it is good to see this team with some young stars plus some wise stable veterans finally make the playoffs. The Washington Post has an astonishing statistical look at the Wizards season thanks to 6 cameras attached to the tops of arenas catching every moment of every game. Here is an astonishing little detail one might never know: John Wall basically controls the ball more than any other player on any other team. Lots of other little nuggets in the story. In any case good luck Wizards in the Playoffs. You would have made Abe Pollin proud. --- [The following posts have been split into separate threads: Wes Unseld (DonRocks)]
  2. As discussions swirl around the GS Warriors, the Cleveland Cavs and other teams, I keep going back to my favorite basketball "dynasty" (really meaning mini dynasty) of all time; the Kniicks from 69-70 to 72-73. Four years in the playoffs, three years in the NBA finals and two NBA championships. Very long ago. I realize that. I suspect that Steve R has memories of this mini dynasty. Any others? Here are some interesting elements to that team: For 3 of those 4 years they allowed the fewest points per game in the league. In the 4th year I think they allowed the third fewest points. They won championships with defense. They might have been the greatest passing team of all time; and did so while spreading the ball to the entire team with every player being a potential shooter and with no player dominating the shooting stats by any stretch of the imagination. Possibly the most balanced scoring of any championship team of any period. Completely unusual and even more balanced in that regard than other teams that approached ball distribution (thinking 2014 Spurs team as the most recent example and the 2004 Detroit Pistons before them). The Knicks of that earlier era simply spread the shots around more evenly than either of these two teams. Shooting stats from the team in the 69-70 season: (see below) The 69-70 team developed as a result of what had to be one of the great trades in the history of the NBA from the previous season, (68-69). Midseason the Knicks dealt the big talented but erratic Center Walt Bellamy and their starting point guard, Howard Komives to the Detroit Pistons and the Pistons sent forward Dave Debusschere to the Knicks. Reed became the starting center, Debusschere was the starting power forward and Walt Frazier became the starting point guard. From mid season on the Knicks developed into a league power. The enigma and missing piece was who would be the small forward, Bradley or Cazzie Russell. Cazzie was the better offensive player and scorer. Bradley fit Coach Red Holzman's scheme better. Holtzman put Bradley in the starter's role and it clicked. The 69-70 team was the epitome of this spread it around type offense, but it continued to operate in the same manner over the next 4 seasons; (through 72-73 another championship season and one additional year, as Debusschere, Reed, and Lucas remained with the team). It wasn't until Reed, Debusschere and Lucas left that shot attempts skewed more toward Frazier, Monroe, and thirdly Bradley. Remarkably when Earl the Pearl first joined the Knicks he changed from one of the leagues leading offensive weapons and leading shot takers, to the fifth option. He sacrificed his offensive orientation to be part of the team concept. I was lucky to watch them a fair amount. I moved to Baltimore for college and got to see Bullets/Knicks games in Baltimore. Possibly the greatest, most fierce mano a mano matchups in NBA history. Reed vs. Unseld, two height deficient Centers who were muscular physical brutes. (they must have crushed one another every game). Even more ferocious were the man on man battles between Debusschere and Gus Johnson two of the most rugged players in the league with Johnson additionally being one of the early skywalkers. Watching Bradley and Jack Marin play was fascinating in a different way. Those two guys covered a lot of ground from one side of the court to the other, moving out to the perimeter for outside shots. Man, those two guys were always grabbing and clutching. The creme de la creme matchup was the artistry between Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier. Mr offense vs Mr Defense. The Bullets emphasized offense, being one of the highest scoring teams in the league, the Knicks emphasized defense, being the league leaders. Over the course of a season neither team dominated, while the matchups and games were always fascinating. Everyone on those old Knicks could pass. Every player. The only starter who might not have been a stellar passer was Reed...but when you watched those games the Knicks always had a teammate in Reed's eyesight. He became a good passer and that coach and the teammates helped him become one. Well its over 40 years later...so who cares? Possibly Steve R, who related this great tale that I'm sure every star struck kid who idolized pro's would love to experience. (Steve R Schooling Earl the Pearl on the Playgrounds) As the current NBA season moves along, the Warriors with their great scorers also face defensive problems: players such as Harden, DeRozan, Westbrook, and Davis, all averaging over 30 pts a game, are monopolizing the ball; the Spurs play this Knicks type game, though nobody has ever distributed the ball like the Knicks....and the Cavs have the remarkable Lebron James..who admittedly makes his teammates a stellar team....I still yearn for those Knicks. PS (undoubtedly if one looks at old tapes of those games and that era today's players are more athletic. Still I maintain that Reed would be a star in today's game. He has a midrange jumpshot. How many of today's centers can do that? Uh...maybe one or two. He was amazingly tough against one and all including the giants of that time such as Chamberlain and Kareem. I can't see how anyone could control Monroe. His offensive moves were remarkably different and defied defensive efforts. If there was anyone who was as rugged and indefatigable as Debusschere he would probably be the all time best linebacker in all of football. I'd love to see Frazier play against today's guards. Besides passing his shooting was based on a sense of how to beat the defense, not just pure athleticism (like Larry Bird in a way). That team would be strong today. ....and getting back to Earl the Pearl. I defy anyone to come up with any player who could successfully defend against Earl the Pearl at any point in basketball history...
  3. Long Live Kerry Livgren This is a band of conundrums that ultimately meant it was to fall apart. But man when these guys were on, they were ON. I love many of their songs, but the one I love most is The Pinnacle. It is pretty incredible:
  4. The *moment* I saw Mrs. Obama's portrait, I said to myself, "Miss Everything!" I just found an email that I received from Ms. Sherald - now I'm *really* going to treasure it.
  5. This reminds me of the tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, who without Vietnam would be unquestionably one of our greatest presidents, in the same class with Lincoln and FDR. It just makes me weep when I think of it. Of course I hated him at the time, but that was all about Vietnam, which overshadowed everything. You younger people probably can't even imagine how Vietnam distorted and disfigured everything about our civic life as it crept into the crannies of our souls. You couldn't even fuck without Vietnam obtruding into the crevices of your pleasures. I look back on LBJ's presidency now and can only see what midgets his successors have been compared to him.
  6. Lawrence Harvey was a South African who was born in Lithuania. 1962 - as Raymond Shaw in "The Manchurian Candidate" - Feb 30, 1972 - as Mr. Macy in "The Caterpillar" on ""The Night Gallery" - I've been saying this since I was a child, and have still never seen anything more chilling on TV: Oct 30, 2015 - "Night Gallery's 'Earwig' Episode Might Be Greatest Horror TV Episode Ever" by Julian Spivey on thewordwebzine.weekly.com
  7. Is this indictment of Bobby Riggs based on more than the unsworn and unverifiable testimony of a guy who alleges (four decades later) that he eavesdropped on some mobsters talking about Riggs throwing the "Battle of the Sexes" match against Billie Jean King before he had even played Margaret Court?
  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 was 12 years old when "American Graffiti" (1973) was released, and just like with "Animal House" (1978) when I was 17, I think both movies meant more to me then than they do now - they're both, in a sense, "coming-of-age" films, and I think coming-of-age films have a greater influence if you're about to go through that period in your life: With American Graffiti, I was 5-years away, with Animal House, I was only 1-2 years away, and that's probably why I loved both movies at the time. Like with "Blackboard Jungle," I didn't realize that "Rock Around the Clock" was the opening theme song of this film - it makes a lot more sense here than there, since American Graffiti is so gentrified and set up to be a movie for upper-middle-class white people - it's almost like you're watching the pilot episode of "Happy Days" (which *also* used it as its opening theme song for awhile). Is American Graffiti the first of the "50s retro-movies" to look back upon it tenderly, as an innocent era? I can't think of any that came before this, so maybe that was the appeal to society (likewise with Happy Days). It all seems so harmless and naive - I wonder if anyone can think of any pre-1973 films that gave the early Rock-n-Roll era the same, sanitized treatment? I guess there's nothing wrong with this; it just comes across to me as a little bit sappy right now, not that sappy is bad. Ha! 45-years later, I still remember laughing at the line, "File that under 'CS' over there" when John Milner (Paul Le Mat) gets a traffic ticket. Oh my goodness! I had no idea Debralee Scott (who played Rosalie "Hotsie" Totsie in "Welcome Back Kotter") was in this movie. Not to mention the fact that she's Bob Falfa's (Harrison Ford's) date. The number of famous people in this movie is absolutely incredible, and I think that, for the most part, it was the movie which made them famous, and not vice-versa. I remember so well the line when Steve Bolander (Ron Howard) is in the car with Laurie Henderson (Cindy Williams) trying to get one more session in before going off to college - she refuses him, and he arrogantly says, "You want it, and you know it." Even at a pre-pubescent age 12, I thought to myself how ridiculous it was for *Ron Howard* to be saying that to such a pretty girl - it's funny the things you remember (and the things you don't) after nearly 45 years. By the way, the leader of "The Pharaohs" - the physically intimidating Bo Hopkins - is someone I recognized, but didn't remember from where. If you've ever seen "Midnight Express" (1978), he plays Tex, who's the one who says to Brad Davis - after Davis tries to escape - "You seem like a nice enough kid to me, Billy, but try it and I'll blow your fucking brains out." With just over thirty minutes left in the movie, I'm finally getting into American Graffiti - with "slice-of-life" movies, you have to immerse yourself into their atmosphere to enjoy them (cf: "The Last Picture Show," the impossibly beautiful Cybill Shepherd on the diving board notwithstanding). Finally, I feel like I'm watching a longer, edgier version of "Happy Days," which I enjoyed as a teenager, so I've started to feel at home with American Graffiti - but I just can't get over how young Richard Dreyfuss looks, no matter how long the movie goes on. I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie with more famous people in it than American Graffiti.
  10. I suspect many of our younger members aren't familiar with the 1973 film, "Walking Tall," and that many of our older members have either forgotten about it, or don't remember its relative cultural importance. While it was never a threat to win any awards, it was one of the first "hicksploitation" films, which paved the way for "the angry, white vigilante" (if you look at that link, you'll see very few movies released before 1973 - one notable exception being 1971's "Dirty Harry,") However, "Walking Tall" is essentially a rewrite of the 1955 film, "The Phenix City Story," which was directed by the same man: Phil Karlson. On the Facebook page, "Buford Pusser: The Other Story," it states: "You can take the script from 'The Phenix City Story,' replace John Patterson with Buford Pusser, and you have basically the same story. Although there are some occasions where the movies strays away from being totally accurate, 'The Phenix City Story' is fortunately a true story which was told in a far more accurate way than was 'Walking Tall.'" The film is a semi-truthful story of legendary Sheriff Buford Pusser, who really did get the crap beaten out of him, who really did get tried for his "crimes," and who really did run for (and win the election for) Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee - that much of the story is true. Pusser was an enormous man: 6'6" tall, and very athletic - he was indeed (as depicted in the film) the professional wrestler known as "Buford the Bull," based out of Chicago in the late 1950s. And if you want a robust chuckle, Pusser was born in the town of Finger, Tennessee. Amazingly, The Finger Diner was purportedly the impetus and inspiration for the very first Hard Rock Cafe - you can choose to believe that, or not. In the movie, Pusser was portrayed very well by Joe Don Baker - himself a large man at 6'3" - and someone with "that familiar face" which you could swear you've seen somewhere before. And in fact, you probably *have* seen it before, because even if you don't know who Joe Don Baker is (which is quite possible, even though he was pretty famous in 1973), Baker was the man who portrayed "The Whammer" in "The Natural." How about that! One thing about Walking Tall is that the film is very racially progressive for its time - Pusser deputizes a gentleman of color, his old friend Obrah Eaker (played by Felton Perry, who was the reason I watched this film in the first place - I saw Perry in a very impressive, very important "Adam-12" episode: Season 3, Episode 20 - "Log 76 - The Militants," which I urge people to watch). Another celebrity who played in Walking Tall was Leif Garrett, who played Pusser's son, Mike. Here are Baker, Garrett, and Perry in shots from the movie:
  11. Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Gabriel García Márquez once called Neruda "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language" (I understand such hyperbole isn't definitive, but coming from someone such as Márquez, it must at least be taken seriously). Here's a personal favorite of mine: Your Feet When I cannot look at your face I look at your feet. Your feet of arched bone, your hard little feet. I know that they support you, and that your sweet weight rises upon them. Your waist and your breasts, the doubled purple of your nipples, the sockets of your eyes that have just flown away, your wide fruit mouth, your red tresses, my little tower. But I love your feet only because they walked upon the earth and upon the wind and upon the waters, until they found me.
  12. If you ever want to broaden your classical music horizons, Joseph Szigeti is a good place to start - he's old enough where he has ties to the great 19th-century masters, but young enough where he has some recorded material available, much of it reference-standard. Szigeti even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, perhaps in part due to him being a frequent soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Here is the first movement of Beethoven's 10th Violin Sonata, played with legendary Beethoven pianist, Artur Schnabel (also a name everyone should know). Other performances can be different than this, and equal to this, but they cannot be "better" than this:
  13. I'm about 25% of the way into "Breakfast of Champions," by Post-Modernist, Counter-Culture grump, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. The only other work I've read by Vonnegut is "Slaughterhouse-Five," and a beginning Vonnegut reader should probably start there, as it's most likely his best novel. "Breakfast of Champions" is a fine book, but "Slaughterhouse-Five" is its equal, and more important historically. It would be pointless, as usual, to summarize the plot in this, or any other, book for you, so instead I seek intelligent discussion about the novel - I would love for this forum to evolve into a gigantic Book Club, where we can all chime in whenever we feel like it, about anything we want to chime in about. My limited experience with Vonnegut is that he is cynical and nihilistic, hates people and what they've done to both the planet and to themselves, and has little or no hope for the future of mankind. And yet, he expresses those sentiments with biting humor, sarcasm, and literary weaponry. He's an important author, not necessarily a great writer, and the world would be a better place if everyone fit one or two of his works into their repertoire while not necessary buying into his entire philosophy. **SPOILERS FOLLOW** As a reader's guide, here are some brief Chapter descriptions: Epilogue: Homage to Phoebe Hurty by the author, nicknamed Philboyd Studge. 1. Introduction to the novel's two main characters, Dwayne Hoover and Killgore Trout. 2. More depth about Hoover and Trout; the tale of Kago and the Zeltoldimarians. 3. Trout gets his first fan letter, and is invited to the Midland City Arts Festival. 4. Hoover briefly descends into madness, and is clearly having some trouble. 5. Trout goes to Manhattan to prepare for the Arts Festival; his novels are detailed. 6. Hoover continues his insanity, with more details given about his escapades. 7. Trout is intrigued with and inspired in a pornographic theater, seeing meaning there. 8. Trout wanders down 42nd Street, and is battered by the Pluto Gang, scaring NYC. 9. Hoover checks in his own Holiday Inn at an odd hour, falling asleep like a lamb. 10. Trout gets picked up by the Lincoln Tunnel; rides in an olive truck through NJ. 11. Hoover gazes across highway; sinks into dimples; Wayne Hoobler is in Fairyland. 12. Trout heading west past Philadelphia in truck; chats with driver; his son is Leo. 13. Pontiac dealership has Hawaiian Day; Sacred Cave owned by Hoover's stepbrothers. 14. Truck in WV; Rosewater's mines; Books used for toilet paper; Hoover's a Hoobler. 15. 38-page chapter; Patty Keene; Bannister memorials; Penis sizes; Hoover and Francine. 16. Truck approaches cave; "Now It Can Be Told"; Adam and Eve; Trout closer to Hoover; 17. Bunny Hoover is a gay pianist; Military school; Bunny's mom expanded on; Skid Row 18. Truck is close, Hoobler misses prison; Author incognito; Keedsler and Kerebekian. 19. Cocktail lounge; Ned Lingamon; Eldon Robbins; Swimmer; Temptation of St. Anthony 20. Maritimo Brothers; Plastic in Sugar Creek; Milo; The Smart Bunny; Trout checks in 21. Lounge; Lynching in Shepardstown; E=MC2; Robo-Magic; Goodbye, Blue Monday 22. Lounge; WO1 Jon Sparks; Crispus Attucks; Bird calls; Hoover confronts Trout at last 23. Y-O-U; Hoover goes on rampage; Hoover attacks Hoobler; Payton Brown; Fairyland 24. Martha; Christmas Cards; Ukwende and Miasma; Eddie Key; Trout's fingertip; ETC. 25. Epilogue; Elgin Washington; Kazak; Trout transported; Weeping for parents; ETC.
  14. If you watched the coverage from the St. Louis floods most of it was at the intersection with the Drury Inn I've stayed at many times before. This chain is mid-level but offers breakfast, with things like potatoes, biscuits and gravy, sausage, a waffle iron, cereal, muffins, toast, and yogurt. There is an evening selection that will qualify as dinner if you wish (daily salad and nachos, and rotating things like chili, baked potatoes, pasta with meatballs, chicken tenders, etc.). They also have a drink ticket, which allows you beer, wine, and rail drinks. Three drinks per night per ticket (for example, 3 beers, or 3 bourbon and cokes). And from about 2-10 p.m. they have popcorn and soda (the soda, aka. pop, is available in the morning, for which I am grateful, because I don't drink coffee). If you need a pool and a (small) workout room, you're OK. If you need a place to stay for a good value, you'd do well with them.
  15. Quite possibly the coolest person of the Twentieth Century. Jonah, 1946 That's All,1960 (?) Didn't It Rain, 1964 I came to Sister Rosetta by way of gospel music, and found myself in the middle of rock 'n' roll.
  16. "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" was the catch phrase of the long running TV show ABC Wide World of Sports, which officially ended in 1998 after a 30+ year run. This story is about the Agony of Defeat. I was reminded of it recently. I was stunned at the impact when I first heard it, and when recently reminded of the tale I was again struck by the long term impact. I attended The Johns Hopkins University. Among other attributes its known for its lacrosse teams, that have been national champions and challengers for a national championship decade after decade reaching back into the first half of the 20th century. During the period I was there in my 3rd and 4th years of college the team went to the National Championship game and lost in the finals. During the following year they won the National Championship. A good stretch. I was friendly with some of the players. This story involves a conversation I had with one of those players probably a dozen or so years after we had graduated. In my Senior year the team was very good, going undefeated through the season up to its final regular season game. The opponent was U of Maryland, the long time traditional rival and also undefeated. Maryland was ranked #1, Hopkins #2. As good as our team was they were crushing opponents all season, most of whom we both played. We had some great players. They had relatively speaking an entire team of great players including one that would probably be ranked among the handful of superstars over all time. Most of the players from the best teams knew one another through high school and summer leagues. The regular season match up was at College Park and drew a relatively huge crowd for a college lacrosse game. It had appropriately received a lot of press with the two teams, both undefeated, featuring terrific stars, and ranked #1 and #2. But woe was me....and the fans from my school. U Maryland might have had its best game of the season, and crushed Hopkins by a score of something like 18-5, possibly its most dominant victory of the year. The score might not have been representative of the U Maryland domination. From my perspective it was crushing and pathetic. Certainly the worst loss I ever saw Hopkins take, before and for a long after. The 2 teams went into the National Tournament ranked #1 and #2 and worked their way into the final game. Clearly Maryland was favored by a lot. They probably had one of the most dominant seasons of any team in any year, pummeling virtually all opposition. But in the final game Hopkins unveiled a surprise, to Maryland, to Lacrosse at that time, and to all the fans at that game: a slow down. It worked. Hopkins' most skilled players would hold the ball for endless minutes and pass among its most skilled players. It totally stymied U Md's dynamic team over the course of the game. At the end of regulation the score was tied, 9-9 I believe; a complete shocker to all, but a great thrill to those of us cheering for Hopkins. Overtime was sudden death; first goal wins. At a point in the play an attempt at a clear was fumbled at roughly mid field and it appeared as if virtually every non-goalie of both teams was bunched around that part of the field. Suddenly one of the Hopkins Defense men raced through the entire scrum, cleanly picked up the ball and burst down the field unobstructed, unguarded, ahead of the pack and aiming at the goal. A lacrosse field is roughly the same size as a football field so he had 40, 50 60 yards to the goal, but was far ahead of any other player and had only the goalie to beat. That was the "old friend" I ran into at lunch in DC, possibly around a dozen years after we had graduated. We weren't great friends but had mutual friends, had probably hung out together, partied together, were at the gym together. He was in the class after mine and was a starting defense man on that subsequent team, being a starter on a National Championship team. Good for him. Anyway we ran into one another in DC at lunch one day possibly a dozen years after he or I had graduated. An unexpected pleasure and get together. We caught up about our own lives and referenced various people we both knew. I had been in more contact with someone with whom he had been friendlier and I could give him some updates on this mutual friend and how to get in touch with him. At the end of the lunch I asked him about that play, referenced above. Here is what occurred. He burst past every other player and had a clear run to the goal. He was pretty fast so nobody from the Maryland team could catch him. As a defense man he carried a very long lacrosse stick; good for playing defense, poking at the other teams offensive players, good for disrupting passes and shots and picking up ground balls, but terrible for accurate shooting. He probably had not taken a shot all year or had done so extremely rarely. Defense men don't shoot. As he approached the opposition goal the Maryland goalie stepped out to try and cut angles. My friend while still a distance away, but reasonably close reared up and fired a shot. It was slightly high and slightly wide. It got past the goalie but just missed scoring. The missed opportunity of a lifetime. Maryland recovered the ball, got it down field, ultimately fed their super star of super stars. He angled by a clump of players, was somewhat obscured from view from the Hopkins (first team All American) goalie, shot and scored. Game over. University of Maryland wins. Utter joy on one side. Utter despair on the other side. Now my friend had been a critical and positive starting player on a National Championship game in the following year. Bully for him. Regardless, I had to ask him about the shot at the game we lost. He looked at me. Despair in his eyes. He said something like this: "Dave, I think about that shot EVERY NIGHT". Every freaking night. Imagine that. About 12 years after the event. Count them up; Over 4,000 nights. That is the agony of defeat. Anyway I recently heard a postscript. That shot doesn't haunt his evenings any more, or so I heard. Good for him!!!!!!!!!
  17. Serpico, made in 1973 is one of my favorite movies of all time. Intensity, morals, costume changes, Pacino's range of emotions, NYC, cops, danger, motorcycles, dogs, funky apartments, you name it. A trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtTRYnsDH8Q
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