TV Shows

Well, that’s 3 minutes I won’t get back!

As I have mentioned several times here, I am not a big fan of TV. The majority of sitcoms are boring to me, but that’s not always been the case. I enjoyed M*A*S*H, Cheers, Barney Miller, and even Big Bang. I thought Saturday Night Live was a great show, but it came on too late for me. I’ve never been a night owl. I’ve tried other shows, but usually after a season or two, I’m done with it. There are others I’ve enjoyed, such as Eureka and Warehouse 13, but they’re not on the basic channels; these two were on the old SciFi (now Syfy) channel, so their production values were better.

I will watch some sports, with the sound off since the majority of sportscasters are idiots. Seems they’re either wanna be players or wash outs usually.

But I do enjoy documentaries and science shows, even the “pop science” shows. Mythbusters is all time favorite of mine and my family.’s And this leads me to the major problem I have with American TV.

Narrators. Let’s use Mythbusters as an example (just one of many shows in this format). A TV show in America that is broadcast for one hour contains, usually, only 42 minutes of the actual show. The remaining 18 minutes are commercials spread out in breaks during the hour. Remember this point, I’ll be back to it in a bit.

In this format you’ll get about 20 minutes of the show before the first commercial break. When the show returns, the narrator will explain everything that has happened before the break. And this happens after every single damn break. Why? If you’ve been watching the show from the beginning, you know what’s going on. If you came in sometime after the show started, too damn bad. There’s this new invention called a DVR – learn how to use it. I’m so over “Before the break …”. What would be better would be to have all the commercials between each show and not interrupt the show itself. Hey – it works in Europe!

And that’s where I was going with the comment about multiple commercial breaks. But of course, American advertisers are greedy and hope that you’ll sit and watch their idiotic ads waiting for the show to begin. Again – DVR it and skip the damn ads!

Here’s another example. The Orville was one of the shows I enjoyed for the first season, then lost interest in the second season. One of the reasons I quit watching it was Fox (the network the show was on) went to what they called “limited commercial interruption”. It was anything but limited. As opposed to the usual 3 minute or so commercial break, they would have only 90 seconds or so, then right back to the show. What this created in my mind, was instead of maybe 6 commercial breaks, there would be about 10 breaks per hour episode. It was maddening. Just as the action heated up, BAM! some erectile dysfunction commercial would pop in.

I read that Seth McFarlane, the creator and star of The Orville, has moved the show to subscription streaming service Hulu to avoid that 42-minute limit to the show. I fully understand that reasoning and would love to support this endeavor, but I’m not paying for yet another service to watch a show I really don’t care for anymore.

Services I enjoy are CuriosityStream and The Great Courses. Yes, both are subscription, but to me they are worth it. My granddaughters love to watch the animal shows on CuriostiyStream, and I even saw granddaughter-the-elder watching a show about how babies are formed in the womb. This was about 2 months before her half-brother was born. Just the fact that at 9 years old (at the time) she had a safe place to watch something like this made the yearly fee well worthwhile.

The Great Courses are a little different in that they have lectures to watch. Some have only 2 or 3 lectures, others more than 20 on a single subject. I watched an amazing lecture series on King Arthur that granddaughter-the-elder wanted to watch with me. When she realized it was just someone talking about King Arthur, she lost interest. That was sad, but wow, what a series. I would love to keep watching lectures, but the cost is a bit prohibitive at this time. (See my post with the hole in my kitchen wall to understand).

So, where does this leave us? Well, I can’t say for you, but for me, this leaves me without any American television to watch. Currently, there are no sitcoms, dramas, or documentaries that hold my interest. And now that the women’s world cup football is over (that would be soccer for us Americans), there really are no sports to watch until the next olympics. So, I guess, I will return to my books and put in my earplugs while Wifey watches her shows, and bliss will continue.

So, I will leave you with this brief video of one of the TV shows I grew up with and still dearly love. The original Star Trek series. Fun Fact: during the episode “The Devil in the Dark”, we had 2 tvs die at the exact moment that Mr. Spock used his phaser on the Horta (the “devil in the dark”). I found it strange that 2 tvs would die at the same moment of the same episode years apart. But, hey, that’s tv, Baby!!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 8 January

Let’s see how many of you know this one.

Way back in the day (yeah, I’m old), I had this song on a 45 RPM single. Chances are I stole it from my brother gave it to me.

I was totally taken in with the backwards tracked guitar and other wild sounds that start the album.

The oscillating, reversed guitar which opens the song originated from the rehearsals at Russell’s house, where Williams recorded with a 1958 Gibson Les Paulguitar with a Bigsby vibrato unit. According to Lowe, “We were recording on a four-track, and just flipping the tape over and re-recording when we got to the end. Dave cued up a tape and didn’t hit ‘record,’ and the playback in the studio was way up: ear-shattering vibrating jet guitar. Ken had been shaking his Bigsby wiggle stick with some fuzztone and tremolo at the end of the tape. Forward it was cool. Backward it was amazing. I ran into the control room and said, ‘What was that?’ They didn’t have the monitors on so they hadn’t heard it. I made Dave cut it off and save it for later.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Had_Too_Much_to_Dream_(Last_Night)

I remember dancing, well what I would call dancing – I’m sure you’d disagree, around my tiny bedroom with this turned up full volume. Needless to say, my mother was not impressed. The video appears to be from Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, although I cannot find it listed on this page. Watching drummer Preston Ritter just pounding the kit, along with vocalist James Lowe (and his autoharp) make me laugh. As was usual for any show such as this one, everything was lip synced. You’ll notice that there are no amps for the guitars. I’ve often wondered how the audience perceived the “performance” by the artists. Could they tell it wasn’t live (nor Memorex)?

So, as Dick Clark says; “Ladies and gentlemen, The Electric Prunes“!

Thanks for reading and watching! Remember to leave your comments here and not on those social media pages (I won’t see them for days!).

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 30 November

Well here it is, the last day of November. Florida has had a bit of cold snap, very early for this year. 

Lately, I have been listening to the Deep Track channel on Sirius XM more. I do this for two reasons, primarily because I get to hear songs that don’t get a lot of airtime, and second for Earle Bailey’s Head Trip show.  Mr. Bailey is also the morning drive DJ on the Classic Vinyl channel. I really enjoy his DJ work. He has a great voice (whereas I was told I have the perfect face for radio!), is very knowledgeable about the music and has a rather dry sense of humor. 

Yesterday’s Head Trip was all instrumentals. When he first promoted the concept, I was intrigued. The show did not disappoint. Earle talked about a song I had never heard. Taurus by Spirit. The interesting thing about this particular track is, well, let me quote from the wiki;


 Guitar World magazine stated that “California’s most enduring legacy may well be the fingerpicked acoustic theme of the song ‘Taurus’, which Jimmy Page lifted virtually note for note for the introduction to ‘Stairway to Heaven‘.”[4] The Independent noted the similarity in 1997.[5] In 2014, Mark Andes and a trust acting on behalf of Randy California filed an copyright infringement suit against Led Zeppelin in an attempt to obtain a writing credit for “Stairway to Heaven”.[6][7] Page denied copying “Taurus”,[8] and the suit was unsuccessful.[9] The verdict was overturned on appeal in September 2018.

If you listen to Taurus, I think you’ll agree that Stairway is a copy.

But as Alro and I said in this post; “That’s not what I came here to tell you about”. 

When there is a show about “Classic Rock” (and I still hate that term), that’s all instrumental, I will always listen for one song in particular. 

This track has always been near the top of my list of all-time favorites. I would dream of one day being able to play it myself. Sadly, I can only play it on the radio. My guitar skills suck.

In case I’m being too obscure here, I’m talking about Classical Gas by Mason Williams. Reading up on Mr. Williams, I didn’t realize that he was also a comedy writer. He has written for some of my favorite shows, The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour and Saturday Night Live among others. 


It was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour that he created and perpetuated the 1968 “Pat Paulsen for President” campaign, an elaborate political satire. Williams also helped launch the career of entertainer Steve Martin. Martin was hired by Williams as a writer on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which his contributions were initially paid out of Williams’ own pocket. In 1968, he won an Emmy Award for his work as a comedy writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mason_Williams

I’m not sure if this clip is from The Smother Brothers show or not, but it’s still impressive.  Enjoy!

What’s your favorite instrumental?

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 19 November

As I’ve mentioned before Turkey Day 2018 is just around the corner. And that also means my birthday is right there too.  But this isn’t a post about my birthday. It’s something very Thanksgiving related.

In a previous life, I was an on-air DJ. I didn’t do it very long, as the money just wasn’t there, and I had a wife and newborn to take care of. Back then I watched TV. There were several shows that I really enjoyed, Barney Miller, Taxi, and SNL were excellent shows (although I had trouble staying up for SNL). But my favorites were Cheers and WKRP In Cincinnati. Music and a bar? Even back then that was where my head was at.

WKRP and the cult movie FM were two of the reasons I wanted to be a DJ. I have not been able to find a source to watch FM again. Which is a major bummer because Martin Mull is so hilarious. But WKRP, well that’s a different story. I believe every episode is available on YouTube.

This episode has to be the craziest ever! According to the wiki page, it’s even based on a true story!  Check out the wiki page for some very interesting facts about the show.

 Many of the characters and even some of the stories (including season 1 episode 7, “Turkeys Away”) are based on people and events at WQXI.

As funny as this clip is, it leaves out station manager, Arthur Carlson, after the drop exclaiming “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!”

But my hero’s, intrepid newsman Les Nessman (winner of the Buckeye Award!), cry of “Oh! The humanity!” makes this so damn funny.

Peace,
B

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A Day That Will Live In Infamy

(No… not that one)

groucho001

On 19 August 1977 (41 years ago), we lost one of the greatest comedians of all time. Julius “Groucho” Marx. He was, at the least, the driving force behind the Marx Brothers comedy. Somewhere I have bootleg copies of all of their movies. A Night At The Opera, Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Duck Soup, and my favorite A Day At The Races. But I do have to admit that Cocoanuts, a story about the Florida land boom of the 1920’s is still very relevant today. Just read any of Carl Hiaasen’s “Skink” books or Tim Dorsey’s “Serge” books, and you can see they fit into the same mold.

Groucho has always been one of my favorites, from the grease paint mustache (said to have come about because he arrived late to set and didn’t have time to put the fake mustache on, or he hated taking off the fake one since it hurt!), the stooped over walk, and especially his always ready quick comebacks. To this day I still use one of his standards “Now that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!” (in a very poor imitation) in damn near every situation.

Some notable quotes:

I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.

I sent the club a wire stating, “PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”. (I have used this quote when giving lectures several times. My all time favorite.)

Source: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Groucho_Marx

When he was turned down for membership to a country club due to being Jewish, it is rumored that he asked “Can my daughter go into the pool waist deep? She’s only half Jewish”.

I did watch reruns (I’m not THAT old!) of Groucho’s TV show You Bet Your Life,  and while at times very funny, the censors wouldn’t let most of his asides on air. A lot of the Marx Brothers’ movies were “pre-code”, meaning there wasn’t as much of the more risqué stuff cut. Naturally, there was no foul language or nudity, it was the 20’s and 30’s after all, but a lot more innuendo was allowed then.

Here is one source for some audio clips of all the Marx Brothers.  A quick search of YouTube turns up some great Groucho clips. Here’s one:

Peace,
B

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They Treat Me Like Family

Obviously, that is a clip from the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory”. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 11 years or so, here is the Wikipedia page for the show.

I don’t watch much television. Wifey® on the other hand, watches a lot. But I do enjoy this show. The basic characters are, of course, over the top representations of your average science nerd.

Let’s look at this clip for a moment. What if a restaurant really did “Treat You Like Family”? In my opinion that would mean;

  • No menu. You would get whatever the hell the cook made that night. And you’d like it!
  • You would have to serve yourself. Go get your own refills and such.
  • The usual response to “pass me the salt, pepper, ketchup, whatever” would be “Get up and get it yourself!” Well, at least at my house that’s the usual.
  • You wouldn’t have to pay! Now that’s a good point. But it’s also a bad idea, as the venue would not be around very long.

What else would make it “like family” for you? Leave me a comment below.

Peace,
B

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