Thursday, August 28, 2008

Unmissable Movies

Every once in a while, as I am flipping through the channels, I'll come across a movie that I can't turn off for one reason or another. I've had about three come on cable in the last week.

Trading Places. 1983 This is still one hell of a funny movie. Eddie Murphy's break out role (along with 48 hours). Great premise, great fun. I can't get enough of it even after all this time. In this crowd-pleasing 1983 comedy of high finance about a homeless con artist who becomes a Wall Street robber baron, Eddie Murphy consolidated the success of his startling debut in the previous year's 48 Hours and polished his slick-winner persona. The turnabout begins with an argument between super-rich siblings, played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche: Are captains of industry, they wonder, born or made? To settle the issue, the meanies construct a cruel experiment in social Darwinism. Preppie commodities trader Dan Aykroyd (perfectly cast) is stripped of all his worldly goods and expelled from the firm, and Murphy's smelly derelict is appointed to take his place, graduating to tailored suits and a world-class harem in record time. Eventually the two men team up to teach the nasty old manipulators a lesson, cornering the market in frozen orange juice futures in the process. Director John Landis (The Blues Brothers) doesn't have the world's lightest touch, but he hits most of the jokes hard and quite a few of them pay off. Trading Places is also a landmark film for fans of Jamie Lee Curtis.

Galaxy Quest. You don't have to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy Galaxy Quest, but it certainly helps. A knowingly affectionate tribute to Trek and any other science fiction TV series of the 1960s and beyond, this crowd-pleasing comedy offers in-jokes at warp speed, hitting the bull's-eye for anyone who knows that (1) the starship captain always removes his shirt to display his manly physique; (2) any crew member not in the regular cast is dead meat; and (3) the heroes always stop the doomsday clock with one second to spare. So it is with Commander Taggart (Tim Allen) and the stalwart crew of the NSEA Protector, whose intergalactic exploits on TV have now been reduced to a dreary cycle of fan conventions and promotional appearances. That's when the Thermians arrive, begging to be saved from Sarris, the reptilian villain who threatens to destroy their home planet.
Can actors rise to the challenge and play their roles for real? The Thermians are counting on it, having studied the "historical documents" of the Galaxy Quest TV show, and their hero worship (not to mention their taste for Monte Cristo sandwiches) is ultimately proven worthy, with the help of some Galaxy geeks on planet Earth. And while Galaxy Quest serves up great special effects and impressive Stan Winston creatures, director Dean Parisot (Home Fries) is never condescending, lending warm acceptance to this gentle send-up of sci-fi TV and the phenomenon of fandom. Best of all is the splendid cast, including Sigourney Weaver as buxom blonde Gwen DeMarco; Alan Rickman as frustrated thespian Alexander Dane; Tony Shalhoub as dimwit Fred Kwan; Daryl Mitchell as former child-star Tommy Webber; and Enrico Colantoni as Thermian leader Mathesar, whose sing-song voice is a comedic coup de grĂ¢ce.

Nothing In Common 1986. David Basner has it all, one of the largest advertising agencies, a great career and beautiful women (yummy Sela Ward and the equally yummy Bess Armstrong)Then one day his world falls apart when his mother leaves his father. Now, he must balance his life between his mother, who is happy with her newfound independence, and his father, a recently laid off salesman who is hard-headed, stubborn, and hides a lot from David. Now David must cope with the downfall of his family and his life and reconnect with a father who has ignored him most of his life. Sela Ward is awesome, Tom Hanks is very funny and Jackie Gleason (in one of his last roles) shines as Max Basner. Great, cute film.

Dave Ervin

I found out today that one of my mentors, Dave Ervin was fired from KMOX. I am saddened by the news. I always really liked Dave. Even after he fired me 5 years before. Dave Ervin is a good guy, another radio good guy gone.
This is a bummer.

WTF? Part two

LOS ANGELES (AP) - David Duchovny has entered a rehabilitation facility for sex addiction. In a statement released Thursday by his lawyer, Stanton Stein, the actor said he did so voluntarily, adding: "I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family."
The actor's publicist, Flo Grace, confirmed the rehab report, which first appeared on
She and Stein both declined to elaborate further.
Duchovny, 48, plays a sex-obsessed character on the Showtime series "Californication," which earned Emmy nominations for casting and cinematography. The show's second season begins Sept. 28. Showtime had no comment Thursday.
The actor appeared in the film "The X Files: I Want to Believe" earlier this summer. He has been married to actress Tea Leoni since 1997. They have two children.

DAVID! DAVID DAVID! Wake the hell up, you're married to this:

Are you NUTS? I'd be addicted to sex with her, too

Old School

I brought this beast with me this past weekend. God, what a monster. Still sounding fine after more than 30 years and still heavy as hell. One of the great sounding pieces of metal ever invented. Too bad I can't turn it up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another One Hit Wonder

I rode the bike for about 8 miles tonight and of course had the old Ipod on. There were, for some reason a number of songs from 1971 in a row. This was one of them.

This immediately sends me to jazz band where I played this a thousand times and each time it was followed with the words.."again people".

Here's the story of Bill Chase and his band.

Here's a rare video of the them live in 1974, right before the crash...


What the hell happened here?

Kids, stay off the blow and crack, out of the sun and away from Tommy Lee. Oy!

Class Act

Neil has always been one of my favorites, since I thought "Cherry, Cherry" was about something dirty when I was eleven. I always wanted to look like him especially in the "Hot August Night" period. I have followed his music and saw him live a couple of times. One time, while being popped in the head with a cane. "Shilo","Solitary Man","Holly Holy"...he is a part of My soundtrack, no question about it. Here's what he did for his followers after not being up to par. I have NEVER heard of someone offering refunds for a bad night. Sorry St. Louis will not get to see him...

Ailing singer pledges refunds
Neil Diamond's offer called 'unprecedented'
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 3:24 AM
By Aaron Beck
Have you ever heard of a performer giving refunds after a complete show? Click here to vote and comment.
After a subpar performance Monday night in Value City Arena, Neil Diamond yesterday apologized and offered refunds to the 11,000 people who attended the concert.
"Dear Fans in Columbus," the singer said in a statement, "I haven't let you down before, and I won't let you down now. Until you hear from me again remember, You are the sun. I am the moon. You are the words. I am the tune. Forgive me. I love you. Neil."
Diamond, whose voice was extremely hoarse throughout the show, said yesterday that he is suffering from acute laryngitis. Ordered by doctors to rest his voice, he canceled his two other shows this week -- today in Green Bay, Wis., and Friday in St. Louis.
Some industry veterans said they'd never heard of a performer offering refunds because of the quality of the show.
Tracy Tucker, former executive director of Germain Amphitheater, couldn't recall giving a refund for such a reason in the 14 years of the amphitheater.
"The only time we issued refunds was when an advertised act did not play, for some reason," she said.
A throat ailment for a singer isn't unusual, especially for someone such as Diamond, who is 67 and performing three times a week on a lengthy tour.
Still, some fans, who paid $19.50 to $120 per ticket, wondered why he went on with the show if he could barely talk, let alone sing.
When Diamond took the stage, it became immediately apparent that his voice had been reduced to a harsh rasp.
"The first five minutes were very painful," said Sharon Moitis, 66, of Galena. "It was just very sad. I got tears in my eyes when he was struggling on Solitary Man. It was a poignant song to be singing because he was indeed a solitary man."
Many fans left the show early, some demanding their money back. Value City offered some departing fans tickets for Celine Dion's Sept. 22 show in exchange for their Diamond seats.
Marci Stitzlein, who attended the show with a friend, left after the fourth song. She said issuing a refund was the least Diamond could do.
"I sing, myself, on the side, so I understand the whole thing of wanting to not let the fans down," said Stitzlein, 44. "But this was a bigger disappointment for him to have tried to do the show, knowing how sick he was."
Janene Bushey, who is 53 and has seen Diamond 14 times, said, "I about fainted when he came out and said, 'Hello, Columbus,' because I knew something was wrong."
"It was painful," Bushey added. "My heart ached for him. It was painful for him and me both."
The refund, she said, "is fine, but I would have been thrilled to have another concert."
PromoWest Productions President Scott Stienecker, who books shows in Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, also said he's never heard of a performer offering refunds for a poor performance.
"It's unfortunate, but sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. I've sat through Vince Neil falling-down drunk before. I've sat through Bob Dylan not even acknowledging that there was a crowd.
"It's unfortunate, but (Diamond) made it, he was here ready, willing and able."
That's slight consolation for fans such as Roger Moody, of Westerville.
Moody, 65, bought eight tickets with a face value of $120 each to take his wife, children and grandchildren.
"If it had just been me and my wife, I'd have gotten up and left," said Moody, who stayed for the duration of the show.
"I didn't know whether to feel sorry for the guy or appreciate that he gave it a try, but he should have known that that was so far off-base."
Like many of the more than 100 people who called The Dispatch and left comments at, Moody left the show wondering why Diamond didn't acknowledge his ailing voice during the concert.
Diamond issuing refunds, however, left Moody "utterly flabbergasted."
"In all due respect," he said, "if anybody was going to do it, I would think that this gentleman would."
Others said they enjoyed the show and admired Diamond for going on with it.
"I loved it," said Carolyn Wilkins, 64, of Clintonville. "I recognized that his voice was a little raspy, but it was a gift to be there. In my book, he did great, especially knowing that he was not feeling well. He's my inspiration."
Will she take the Jazz Singer up on his refund offer?
"I don't think so," Wilkins said before pausing.
"Well, I'll mull it tonight."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Running Night

Went for a short one tonight, a small jaunt through the northeast part of Normal. Crossed Veteran's Parkway on College, through a subdivision and a cornfield (?!) to the Four Seasons Fitness Center. A nice, non profit organization that has everything from yoga to spinning to basketball to free weights. I look forward to getting back in physical shape to play basketball again. My membership starts on Tuesday.
What I did tonight was run a song, walk a song, run a song, etc. It was my night to get into shape I guess.

Running songs
"I'll Take Care of You/It's A Man's, Man's Man's Man's World"-Van Morrison time 16:15
"Another Man Down"-Heartsfield time 10:15
"Samba De Sausalita"-Santana time 3:34
"The End"-The Doors time 11:46
"Reach Out I'll Be There"-Four Tops 3:06
"Inna Gadda Da Vida"-Iron Butterfly 17:10

Walking songs
"Factory"-Bruce Springsteen time 2:19
"The Air That I Breathe"-Hollies time 4:12
"You're All I Need To Get By"-Marvin Gaye 2:40
"And The Grass Wont Pay No Mind"-Neil Diamond 3:32
"All The Right Reasons"-Jayhawks 3:25
"Rhumba Girl"-Nicolette Larson 3:49
"I Need You"-Beatles 2:31

Well, you get the idea. It was an absolute perfect night to be outside, crisp and cool about 68 in B/N. It reminded me of walking home from the drive in theatre late in the summer. Lovely evening stroll.

That's Why God Invented The Word Ironic

LOS ANGELES — Dave Freeman, co-author of "100 Things to Do Before You Die," a travel guide and ode to odd adventures that inspired readers and imitators, died after hitting his head in a fall at his home. He was 47.
Freeman died Aug. 17 after the fall at his Venice home, his father, Roy Freeman, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
An advertising agency executive, Freeman co-wrote the 1999 book subtitled "Travel Events You Just Can't Miss" with Neil Teplica. It was based on the Web site, which the pair ran together from 1996 to 2001.
"This life is a short journey," the book says. "How can you make sure you fill it with the most fun and that you visit all the coolest places on earth before you pack those bags for the very last time?"
Freeman's relatives said he visited about half the places on his list before he died, and either he or Teplica had been to nearly all of them.
"He didn't have enough days, but he lived them like he should have," Teplica said.
The book's recommendations ranged from the obvious _ attending the Academy Awards and running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain _ to the more obscure _ taking a voodoo pilgrimage in Haiti and "land diving" on the Island of Vanuatu, which Freeman once called "the original bungee jumping."
It included goofy graphics with each entry, indicating that some activities were "down and dirty," and others "grandma friendly."
The success of "100 Things" inspired dozens of like-minded books, with titles such as "100 Things Project Managers Should Do Before They Die" and "100 Things Cowboys Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die."
Freeman graduated from the University of Southern California in 1983, briefly working for an ad agency in Newport Beach before moving to New York to work for Grey Advertising.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Freeman watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center from his apartment just blocks away. He moved back to Southern California to be closer to his family.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Catching Up

It was a real bummer when Bennigan's closed. There was one right down the street from here. When I lived in Denver in 1982, I'd hang at Benningan's all night long. According to some, they just aren't the same. Back then, I think Applebees and TGIF's really applied the Bennigans style and took them out of the game. Too bad.

Apparently, I Was Wrong

I didn't connect with Bruce this weekend, neither did Gladys or the friend that went with us, but apparently, I was wrong. My friend Glen loved it and here's the review from the Backstreet's blog...
August 23 / St. Louis, MO / Scottrade Center
Notes: A real humdinger, and I like it like that. As the last notes of "Twist and Shout" died away, the buzz and general consensus was "best night of the tour." Of course, comparing these final Magic nights to performances from 2007 is like apples and socket wrenches. But no question, St. Louis was a peak performance, with a mind-blowing setlist and the energy to match. As the show stretched to three hours and 15 minutes, with two false endings to "Badlands," Mighty Max simply tearing up the drums, and three songs after "American Land"... Bruce didn't want to get off the stage, and the energized crowd didn't want to let him go.
It all started with "Then She Kissed Me," Bruce's spin on the Crystals classic that he last broke out in 1975. A delirious opener, a song I thought I'd never hear, but hey, we've come to expect such things this month. What I didn't expect was that it would be just the first of five classic covers in the set -- six, if you count the resurrected "Not Fade Away" intro to "She's the One." After granted requests for "Rendezvous" and a full-band "For You," Bruce returned to the signs and said, "As soon as we started doing these requests, people started getting very sassy. Very sassy. Trying to stump us with stuff we played 23 or 30 years ago. Tonight we'll challenge the band... and probably most of the audience, too!" Harold Dorman's "Mountain of Love" followed, a wall-of-sound cover that put me firmly on the path to Springsteen fanaticism when I first heard it on the Main Point '75 recording so many years ago. And in the nine-song encore, three more rock 'n' roll rave-ups -- "Detroit Medley," "Little Queenie," and "Twist and Shout" -- took it over the top.
But the oldies were only part of what shot this one into the stratosphere. Sizzling guitar on the return of a revitalized "Gypsy Biker," "Adam Raised a Cain," and the tour premiere of a muscular "Cover Me," Bruce taking two leads. And then there were the epics: "Backstreets," "Jungleland," and "Drive All Night." Traditional sing-alongs like "Hungry Heart" and "Sunny Day" went out the window to make room for this trio, and judging by the reaction, they were just as crowd-pleasing, if not more. "Backstreets" was played for a sign after "Mountain of Love" -- Bruce laughed, "We know this one!" After "Mary's Place," Steve could be seen miming a steering wheel to get the word around the stage. Bruce showed the "Drive All Night" sign to the crowd, and after an initial cheer there was an extraordinary hush, the whole place seeming to sit back to let it wash over. With the stage bathed in purple and blue light, it was a magical performance -- soulful, understated playing from the band led to tremedous crescendos, and then, if anyone had forgotten, Clarence reminded us of his power on that horn. "Better than Giants Stadium," a friend said to me halfway through the song... and it only got better from there.
For the first "extended play" song after "American Land," Springsteen decided to set a wrong right. "We got the hometown of Bob Costas here, am I right?" In case you haven't followed the corrections coming out of NBC, both Costas and Brian Williams have offered mea culpas for reporting that Springsteen dedicated a song to Olympic wunderkind Michael Phelps -- "news" that thrilled Phelps himself -- when no such thing ever happened. Well, it hadn't happened until St. Louis. Costas had conculded his correction by writing: "Now if The Boss could just cover our butts by giving Mr. Phelps a shout-out on Thursday night in Nashville, or Saturday night in my hometown of St. Louis -- a show I’d definitely be at were I not in Beijing -- I think I'd feel a lot better." Though he didn't have a sign, Bruce decided to grant that request. He made good retroactively on the news reports, continuing with a knowing smile, "We're gonna send this one out to Michael Phelps. Eight golds -- whew!" And again, very deliberately, "To Michael Phelps," before launching into "Thunder Road." Not "Born in the U.S.A." as reported, but Bob, Brian... butts are covered, you're in the clear. (And Brian, thanks for the shout-out.)
From there, the whole place was fist-pumping go! go! go! for "Little Queenie" -- hey, this is Chuck Berry's hometown, too. And no one actually expected the band to stick around for yet another one, but a prominent sign reading "Sophie loves Bruce" was just the excuse Springsteen needed to keep things going. "We gotta do one for Sophie!" he shouted, kicking off "Twist and Shout" to wring the last drops of energy out of the Scottrade Center. Bless you, Sophie, wherever you are, and hail, hail rock 'n' roll
Then She Kissed Me
Radio Nowhere
Out in the Street
Adam Raised a Cain
Spirit in the Night
For You
Mountain of Love
Gypsy Biker
Because the Night
Not Fade Away/She's the One
Livin' in the Future
Cover Me
Mary's Place
Drive All Night
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Detroit Medley
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
American Land
Thunder Road
Little Queenie
Twist and Shout

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tend My Garden

I'm taking these back to B/N...

Salsa ala Gladys...

Didn't get a picture before the peppers went under the knife.


What happened to Bruce Springsteen last night? Who took off with him?
Note to all performers...if you start your show one hour and fifteen minutes after the time on the ticket, you had better come out with a gold medal performance. Unfortunately, he did not.
Starting with "Then (S)He Kissed Me", a 1962 song produced by Phil Spector and originally done by The Crystals, he then morphed into something I didn't recognize. This new habit of having fans bearing signs for requests is a show stopper. I mean it literally stopped the show. There was no flow, I thought the sound was muddy and for some reason, it didn't click for me. If you are going to have the audience sing a long, don't do it on one of your newer, more obscure songs (Girls in Their Summer Clothes). Too many covers, not enough "Racing In The Street","Darkness On The Edge of Town","Born In The USA","No Surrender", "Bobby Jean" "The Promised Land", "Prove It All Night", "Land of Hope and Dreams","Hungry Heart"...etc. WTF was the Irish song that was played toward the end of the show with the accordions? He ended with "Little Queenie" and "Twist and Shout". "Born to Run" lacked the intensity of the original and only the inclusion of "Thunder Road" saved this show. Maybe it was the abscence of Danny Federici or the lack of Patti Scialfa (where was she?), but something was NOT right and I can't put my finger on it. Not the best Bruce show by far. Maybe the worst I've seen.
Too bad, but it just wasn't right somehow. We all have our off nights but, according to other bloggers who have followed him on this tour, the feeling is pretty much mutual. With Bruce's lofty expectations, the tour is not very fulfilling. Next.

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