Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Technology Shmecknology

One of these days I’d like to meet Paul Harvey and listen to his stories about the radio days of yesteryear. I’d love to hear about the old equipment he used to record his commentaries on…even though I think I used most of it at the radio station I worked at with fellow blogger Danger Spouse in the early 90’s.

Oh how I miss the gold old days of typewriters and film and buying the newspaper and not having free porn at my fingertips. I really feel technology has gotten way out of control. Even as I type this on my comp that I bought in March of 2003, I can feel that the world has just bypassed my emachines T1842 with the 1.8 g processor and the 40g hard drive with the dial up modem.

I recently bought a laptop off ebay for work from a local guy, so I cut out the shipping fees. I try very hard not to take it out of its bag when I’m home with my sweetie. I thought about the possibility of gradually moving my files to the laptop… but in reality I really don’t do much on my home comp except write and surf the web. I recently bought the Dogs Playing Poker cd game and that took up so much memory I ultimately decided to delete it from the desktop and play cards with the doggies on the laptop instead. I also thought it was time to transfer my word files to the laptop….Off I went to Best Buy to get some recordable cd’s but of course unbeknownst to me both computers have cd roms so that was easier said then done. They also snagged me on a promotion where I get 6 free issues of Entertainment Weekly, so now I have to keep an eye on the calendar so I don’t get nailed with a full price subscription after week 7.

So, I decided to buy a digital camera to take pics for my ebay auctions. I had been using a cheapie one for the last few months… but it died an untimely death. It was the palm clix model that Amazing Savings sells for about 30 bucks. Let the buyer beware, the directions are so poorly written that if you miss a key step involving the driver installation, the camera will be beyond the point of no return. Here’s an excerpt from the well written manual that had been outsourced to who knows where…. “Via the internet, you can also send them (pictures) to your friend’s afar…(A girl I knew in college grew hair on her afar… she said it was very stylish)

Well, PC Richard had a good deal Thanksgiving week where you get the “employee discount”. I didn’t really want anything too spectacular… just a camera with MOVIE MODE AND SOUND. We saw one we liked, but decided to see what a couple of other places had on sale before we made a purchase. It was during this period that a buddy of mine called and said he wanted to get me a belated birthday/early Hannukah gift. I mentioned the camera…. And he said he would get one at Best Buy with movie mode and sound. I saw him on Wed. night, got the camera and he showed me the little holes in the speaker that are there for the microphone.

So Thanksgiving evening, my ol' pal Harmon and I are sitting on the couch watching the Cowboys lose, and we strike up a conversation about Rawhide… an infamous bar that used to be in Nyack. If you haven’t heard of it.. consider yourself deprived. They used to have an outrageous gimmick that will live in infamy, and I was only there one time in the early 90s shortly before it closed. I won’t even discuss it on this PG-13 rated blog.. but if you email me, I will fill you in on the details. So Harmon and I were reminiscing about the good old days, and my lovely wife had the new camera with her and decided to sneakily tape our happy Rawhide recap. That was when we discovered that the camera had no sound!

Y’see the Nikon Coolpix 4600 has no internal microphone, while the Coolpix 6600 does. But, it’s only when you read the manual that you discover that the 6600 and 4600 have the same shell… but the 4600 is just a bunch of holes… (insert your own joke here about my college friend’s afar) Well, back we went to Best Buy but we didn’t have a gift receipt and even though we planned to upgrade to the 6600 they basically told us to go screw ourselves. Keep in mind the original BB salesman erroneously told my buddy that the 4600 has sound.. but they didn’t seem to care. We called Nikon and they actually downplayed my desire to have sound… "Mr. Customer Service"'s answer basically was…”so what’s the big deal if you don’t have sound?” Kind of like the book…”War War What is it Good For?” Ultimately, we decided to go to PC Richard to buy a new camera with movie and sound.

The store wasn’t really crowded…kind of strange for the holiday season. The salesman was attentive and admitted when he didn’t know something. However the checkout took a year and a day… it was like buying a car. Well, now we have 2 cameras and for now everybody is happy.. Who knows how long it would have taken us to discover this had my wife not decided to pull an Allen Funt while we reminisced about one of my fave places?

So even though I yearn for the old pre techno days… I confess that I regularly edit audio and video files, upload them to my hosting site and play them back on audio video players that I embed on websites using html. Uh, doesn’t everybody else do this? As an experiment I thought about doing a podcast. If you check out Dangerspouse’s blog,(
you will see a story about an alleged contest we held to see if anybody knew his name. I was reminded of this story last month when I read his posting to my first entry “The Grand Premiere”. Did such a contest really happen? Is this crazy story true? You will have to click the play button below to find out.

By the way, in order to do a legit “Podcast” I will be creating an RSS link Then the readers of this fine fine blog can get a free subscription to the broadcasts which is then automatically downloaded into your mp3 player. This may be the wave of the future for radio commentary, but I’ll sure miss the good ol’ days of radio commentators like Paul Harvey. Excuse me while I upload him into my ipod and listen to it while I shun the x-box 360 and play with my still working Sega baseball game from the mid 1990s… It’s the Mets against the Yankees and Rey Ordonez always outplays Derek Jeter!

Good Day!

Cue Announcer

Paul Harvey News and Comment… sponsored by Prune-ola - the prune granola bar for those of us in our mid 80’s who need a little extra help. Prune-ola… you’ll crap in a snap!

Monday, November 28, 2005

TV 2005 - Part I

Now that Thanksgiving and TV sweeps are over, the networks are hitting the snooze bar until the New Year; therefore there is no time like the present to look back on the year on the tube.

And to think it started with such promise. Sort of. We watched Regis count down on ABC as a fill in for Dick Clark while Ryan Seacrest brought in the New Year on Fox. This year they’re flipping networks as Seacrest is cohosting with Dick Clark. However, Clark apparently has not made a public appearance since his stroke late last year, and here’s hoping that the stroke was not so bad to keep him off this New Years Eve!

The TV schedule changes on a regular basis and most shows don’t last more than a few years. Yet soap operas go on forever. Last Friday marked the 40th anniversary of Days of Our Lives, a show my mother never ever missed as part of the trifecta that included The Doctors and Another World. The inscription on her stone actually has the phrase “enriched our lives”… I chickened out of my original idea to use the term enriched all the “days of our lives“. Anyway, the show ran a flashback episode on Friday showing old grainy highlights from past episodes. I decided to watch it just for the heck of it, but I really don’t know who the characters are although some of the actors look familiar from when I was a kid…(Was that Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes stranded in a car during a storm? Maybe they‘ll find a young slave boy named Annakin and take him with them to Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma Horton‘s house). Oddly enough many friends I grew up with have also celebrated 40th birthdays this year, yet now those friends are older than me. It’s amazing how much younger you can be when you fib about your age.

Amazingly as the year ends I only added 2 shows to my must see list, and one of them stunk and is long gone. It also marked the end of TV Guide as a local magazine, which is absolutely tragic when it comes to my weekly reading and TV planning habits.

I didn’t jump on The Family Guy bandwagon till this past summer and now I simply cannot miss it between its airing on Fox, Cartoon Network and TBS. The show is just brilliant and right now I think it’s funnier than The Simpsons, but I doubt it will run as long. Nonetheless the irrelevant flashbacks and obscure cross references to stuff from my youth tend to be absolutely hysterical.

The other new show ran for maybe 12 episodes - Committed. The show was awful but featured main characters named Marnie and Nate. How can you go wrong with that? It did. The supporting cast was pretty good though, especially Darius McCrary who played Nate’s co-worker. Back in the 90s he played the older brother on “Family Matters” and now years later, I’m sure he was sticking pins in his Steve Urkel voodoo doll with comments such as “Hey shmuck, which one of us is working NOW? What happened to your great career, you scene-stealing spotlight-hogging Urkel?”.

For Part 1 I will offer some thoughts about the programming on the only 2 cable networks I regularly watch…. except for the lousy movies on Starz and Encore (since we’re too cheap to pay for HBO), and the Law and Order reruns. I also watch sports on ESPN, MSG, YES and Fox Sports. But I watch for the event, not for the network. I don’t think we get Outdoor Network which shows the NHL, although don’t you find it strange that hockey would be on an Outdoor Network?

GSN - I only watch it for 2 shows - Match Game (of course), and Password (Plus or Super). The rest of the channel is just not my thing although I see on that they will add an hour of MG reruns at 11pm and call it “That 70s hour”. (Oh no, Match Game vs. The Family Guy? Houston, we have a problem!) Maybe the Peter Marshall Hollywood Squares can be added to that equation too? On a related note, the same site says CBS is thinking of adding a new show called “Game Show Marathon” where celebrities play one of the many game shows in the Fremantle collection (which I believes includes the Goodson-Todman library). The same show runs in England.

CNN - The only news network that I watch; except occasionally Rita Cosby on MSNBC and once in a blue moon Geraldo on Fox. I’m surprised I don’t watch Hannity and Colmes since I used to be a big fan of Alan Colmes when he was on NY radio. As for CNN, there were 2 landmark events for me; the end of Aaron Brown (who I thought would replace Peter Jennings on ABC) and the revelation that Daryn Kagan who I used to think was very pretty is actually the girlfriend of Rush Limbaugh! I first heard about this in 2005 even though the story actually broke in The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column over Labor Day weekend 2004, but I was busy getting married that weekend, so thankfully I was spared the gory details. I’ve read that CNN had thought about giving her a higher profile gig on the network, but were concerned about the fallout. Can you imagine…What is Daryn thinking? Isn’t this absolutely horrible? I just can’t look at her anymore since she’s been with that Bush loving right wing painkiller popper.

And then, I find it amazing how Aaron Brown’s CNN career started off so well and he was such a rising star while Anderson Cooper was off hosting The Mole! Then, Anderson (whose mom is Gloria Vanderbilt) suddenly became a big star at CNN; and after his Katrina coverage basically bounced Brown out.

And you gotta feel for Brian Williams. He waited and waited for Tom Brokaw to retire and finally assumed the mantle as “EVENING NEWS ANCHORMAN’ joining the big shots Dan and Peter. Well, Dan retired and Peter died, and you know what? Neither network seems to be too concerned with replacing them. Apparently having the big name do the news at 6:30 ain’t such a big deal in the general scheme of things after all….

To be continued… and stay tuned for my comments on Star Wars II

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Psychic Matters, or Do Psychics Matter?

Q What do you call a midget psychic who escapes from jail?
A. A small medium at large.

And now something deep for the Thanksgiving (and Delgado arrival) celebration…

Who… other than a psychic would know on New Year’s Day what we will be thankful for on Thanksgiving?

The end of 2005 is approaching now that we are hearing all this talk about the Time Magazine Person of the Year. Personally, I would give it to Terry Schiavo. Her husband’s decision to pull her feeding tube gave the crazy right wingers a new bandwagon to jump on as they exploited Terry’s parents feud with the husband and turned this personal family matter into a national debate. Fox News, CNN and MSNBC waited with baited breath for her imminent death. And as the reporters posted at the hospice with the traveling circus listened to their earpieces with baited breath for Vatican updates, they knew fell well that the Pope’s death would knock them off the front burner and into well deserved obscurity. Only a psychic would know that Natalee Holloway would later disappear and give us a summer of pre hurricane nightly news updates courtesy of the Gretas and Geraldos.

Anyway, I like reading the annual list of great quotes…. Here are two favorites about today’s Thanksgiving topic .. psychics.

“Have you seen the new show The Ghost Whisperer on CBS? Last week, Nipsey Russell contacted the psychic and told her to call the LA Times to cancel his subscription.

Gilbert Gottfried…
“I went to a movie with Nostradamus, and as we walked out I said..”boy what an ending”. And he looked at me and said… “What, you didn’t see that coming?”

Psychics fascinate me. My lovely wife and I went to the City the other night and as were eating we saw all the aspiring actors waiting on us. Where do aspiring psychics go? Did you know that John Edward used to work in a hospital? It makes you wonder if he went to the Emergency Room on his lunch break and cherry picked the patients so the doctors would know who to treat. “Hey the kid with the broken leg.. Don’t bother, he’ll get a blood clot and die tom’w, but the 80 year old guy with the chest pains… he’s got another 10 years”. Or maybe he went to the morgue and heard dead people there…can you imagine.. ”hey mister, can you readjust me; the coroner left my shmeckle leaning to the left, but I prefer it leaning to the right”.

What other jobs do they get? I always wanted to open a restaurant and hire psychic waiters. The customers come in, sit down, and voila their food is waiting for them without even having to order. Or, maybe the condo complex could hire psychic lifeguards, “hey lifeguard.. little Jimmy is stuck in the deep end”.. “Don’t worry ma’am, even though he’s turning blue, he’ll be perfectly fine”.

How about a psychic rabbi? I would like to visit a synagogue that has a psychic rabbi who has a fixation with “Meatballs”… Can you imagine him on Yom Kippur standing with a repenter during the Al Chait prayer (where you smack your heart, trying to be inscribed into the Book of Life) telling the congregant “Uh…. Don’t bother.. You can pray all you want.. But it just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter… IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER…”

I think I’m gonna rent Meatballs this wknd along with Attack of the Clones.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2005

One Down, Five to Go!

Carnac the Magnificent…
“What the high school quarterback said 2 minutes after he left the prom with six cheerleaders”

Well, I have finally done it! I have seen the first Star Wars movie. These futuristic visions of George Lucas are quite remarkable, but what’s even more impressive are the real time goodies that are coming out in 2005 America! I just finished reading today’s Parade Magazine and this Adam Baer article “Now, Hear This” is very very fascinating. He writes an article about pod casting which is exactly what I want to do with this blog. I already use a hosting site for my videos, and if I can html code the links right here on blogspot, then I can add audio and even video commentary. I’m not too hip with all the technical stuff, but this article says you can just download the “podcasts” right into your ipod. Hmmmm.

We go from the race to the ipods to a movie about pod races. I wasn’t quite sure how to approach watching the Star Wars movie. I thought of maybe watching them in reverse order kind of like “Memento” or the Seinfeld episode where they go to India. Then, I thought about watching them in the order they came out like everyone else did. However, I ultimately decided to get a fresh perspective by watching them in chronological order. So while I don’t have the “back story” that everybody else has been talking about, I can at least approach this project with a sense of innocence about what is going to happen.

I was hoping to watch the movies with someone who had also had never seen them before. I was looking to hook up with an Amish guy but it would be too distracting…(Hey, puppy breeder, why do you people always name your kids Jebediah, and churn butter?). I thought about inviting a chosid but that would also be distracting (Why do some of your Rabbi’s prohibit you from visiting the public library;? And why does your newspaper of record Hamodiah (except for the Satmars who refuse to read it because it‘s not in Yiddish) refuse to print photographs of women because men might see them dressed immodestly? Not even Rosa Parks? Mother Teresa? Congresswoman Jean Schmidt and her star spangled shirt?)

So I popped the movie into the dvd player and I was not too impressed with the beginning of the movie. At first, Liam Neeson’s character reminded me a little bit of his role in the most recent Batman movie which by the way was directed by Christopher Nolan, who also directed the aforementioned “Memento“. I started to think that he might be typecast in that type of role, but now I see he is doing a new movie about Abraham Lincoln which is very coincidental since I saw the movie on the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. (Can you imagine if Mrs. Lincoln had a blog about theater reviews? “For the most part, the play was pretty good, however….”)

So Neeson and Ewan McGregor are playing Jedi Knights who are basically futuristic Jack Bauers. This movie came out before “24” but I could see the similarities especially in the end when there were four battles going on simultaneously. I was almost waiting for the screen to split into 4, but it never happened. These Jedi’s have to save the day for a planet ruled by a Queen played by Natalie Portman. But, for security reasons they have a decoy queen…”I’m the real queen; no I’m the real queen”… Gosh it sounded like the dress rehearsals when Rosie O’Donnell joined Harvey Fierstein in “Fiddler on the Roof”.

So these 2 guys hook up with this character named Jar Jar Binks which I now find out is actually a computer creation! I thought it was an actor… or more specifically an actress. He walks like a tall woman with turtlehead! I remember people complaining about this character, but I actually liked him. He is from this underwater secret society where he has been flatly rejected by everybody; yet he hooks up with our 2 Jedi amigos in an attempt to save this poor Queen. Well they evacuate the Queen and lo and behold their ship breaks down. I guess they didn’t have AAA there, because they get stuck on another planet.

Well wouldn’t you know there is a ship parts store that has a young boy genius working there as a slave! And his name is Skywalker. Now I know theres a Luke Skywalker in the later movies so I think that there must be some connection here! The 2 Jedi and the Queen befriend the little pisher who turns out to be a genius who can build all kinds of stuff. (Get a good trademark lawyer Skywalker…. Microsoft might steal some of those ideas!) He also creates C3PO who he leaves behind when he is freed from slavery for winning a pod race (not the kind of pod referred to earlier). The pod race is actually pretty cool; sort of like a futuristic air vehicle.

So little Skywalker joins the gang and now that the ship is fixed it’s off to save the Queen’s planet. They team up with the displaced Binks who have been tossed out of their underwater homes. Now they have to fight light saber wielding men and futuristic machines and during the 4 simultaneous battles, Jar Jar and the rest of the Binks have to fight these creatures that look like the shoe trees my dad used to use in the 70’s. Ultimately the good guys win out and ol’ Jar Jar is accepted by his Binks. They have a big parade at the end…. (which was spoofed on “The Family Guy”, but back then it went way over my head”)

As for my review, and remember you people all saw 4-6 before you saw 1; it was a pretty good movie, except I find it hard to believe that the world was saved because little Skywalker accidentally launched a pod (which he was told to sit in by the Jedis so he’d be out of the way during a battle at the Queen‘s palace) and bombed the power source for all the machines that were effectively on the cusp of winning the war.

I used to do radio movie reviews in the early 90s (with Danger Spouse…see the comments after The Grand Premiere or check out his brilliant and often quoted blog at and I will grade them now as I did then. On a scale of 1 to 4 bladders meaning how less likely I would be to leave in the middle to go to the bathroom… Star Wars 1 gets 2 and a half bladders. It would have gotten more with all the special effects, but there was too much suspension of disbelief that a little kid could save the world the way he did.

I’ll be back Wednesday with some thoughts about Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Well the responses are starting to pour in about the decision to see the 6 Star Wars in chronological order, and the mailbag has some interesting stuff. Don’t forget you can also post your comments right here on the blog. One person emailed me and suggested having Access Hollywood or Entertainment Weekly do a story about the adventures of the person who had never seen the movies and was writing a blog about seeing them… There have even been some doubts about my claim that I have never seen any of the six films! One person even asked…. What were you doing in 1977?

Well let me tell you, from my perspective it was a perfectly normal year. At the time, I was going into 7th grade and dreading a longer school day which meant I couldn’t get home in time for my daily game show fix. I always made it a point to get home in time to see Match Game ‘77. In my mind, I thought everyone was doing this. But then again, maybe I was wrong. At the time, I was hearing that Match Game would be introducing “The Star Wheel” a gimmick that would give a player the chance to double his money, but the twist was you couldn’t take the easy way by picking Richard Dawson who had a Nostradamus-like (or maybe Kreskinesque?) knack for always getting the right answer.

Now the star wheel was coming and my 12 year old brain was starting to worry! Would Goodson Todman Productions come out fiscally ahead by doubling the prize winnings? How would the odds work of getting a double vs. just picking Richard? Too bad Marilyn vos Savant didn’t have her Parade column back then. And how would this affect the budget for the show? With my elementary school math education I started to draw charts and graphs to try to figure out the odds. And my parents weren’t really too cooperative. Whenever I went to them for some help on this one.. it was the same ol’ “Shouldn’t you be practicing for your bar mitzvah?”

Speaking of 1977 last wknd, my lovely wife was in her friend‘s wedding party. Would you believe that both the bride and groom were born in….. 1977? Boy it makes me feel old that my wife has friends who are that young! Then I started to wonder….did these young whippersnappers ever see Star Wars? During the rehearsal dinner, I was chatting it up with some of the bridesmaids, who were also born in 1977, and based on my informal poll, ALL of them had seen the original movie, and thought I was some kind of pointdexter for never having seen any of them. (I actually had figured the odds differently which might explain why I was never a financial analyst for Goodson-Todman)

I’m so old, I was born the night Hogan’s Heroes premiered on CBS. I think it was on in the delivery room as I arrived here. My earliest memories go very far back. As I recall there was a man in white saying “It’s a boy” while on the background TV I heard a German accented voice bellowing “Hooooooooogan” The show starred the late Bob Crane as Hogan and had a character named Newkirk played by…. Richard Dawson. If you saw the movie Auto Focus, you found out a lot of inside scoop about the goings on behind the scenes and the crazy shenanigans that got Bob Crane in deep trouble and eventually led to his murder. It also didn’t seem like Richard and Bob were the best of friends.

Now years later, its interesting to note that both Bob’s son and Richard’s son have had a bizarre feud of their own. When Auto Focus came out they were blasting each other on their respective websites. Richard‘s son Mark has a bulletin board on yahoo groups where he claims to be a friend of the late John Carpenter. What makes that even stranger is that Mark Dawson served as a consultant for Auto Focus… yet the movie strongly implies that Carpenter killed Crane by smacking him with a tripod,. (Carpenter was acquitted at his trial and later died.)

Personally, I’m not too happy about the idea that the younger Dawson rips into Scotty Crane. Granted Crane has a very odd website that pays tribute to his father in some very unusual ways. But doesn’t Mark Dawson have anything better to do with his time than rip into Bob Crane‘s poor son? I mean Bob Crane was brutally murdered, while Mark’s dad went on to have a lucrative career as a game show panelist and host, and he achieved movie immortality by playing the cruel game show host Damon Killian in The Running Man in one of the most amazing acting performances I have ever seen…By the way, in their review of that movie, Newsweek said Damon Killian was the best movie villain since………….Darth Vader!

Ok… time to pop in the dvd….. Did you know beta tape technology was first introduced in 1977?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Grand Premiere!

Ok…. It was just going to be a matter of time.. But the question is…. What is the topic gonna be?? Hmmmm… I have decided that I am going to launch a blog about something people would least expect me to write about….

I could write about the importance of raising children to respect their uncles, aunts and cousins, but since my wife and I are both only children, our future (6 or 7?) children wont have any. I could also address the growing issue of is “The Family Guy” funnier than “Seinfeld”? But for now I am going to leave that one alone.

I also want my blog to utilize photo and video with html links. Right now my piece of garbage digital camera is not working correctly,…. The drivers don’t seem to work on either of my computers so I cant add any new photos for now…. (Nessim actually has the same camera now, so maybe he might have some ideas how to make the thing work.) Obviously this will be a work in progress, so bear with me for now as I try to figure out how to make it enjoyable…

Ready for the topic??


Huh? Nate hates science fiction! Yup, unless it involves time travel I am just so not into s.f. And… I have never seen a single Star Wars movie… that is up to now. I am launching this new adventure…. to watch each movie in chronological order, which should offer a unique perspective since I know squat about any of the SW movies.. I know about r2d2 Luke Skywalker and that’s about it… And although I tend to finish what I started…. I just might not have the patience to sit through all six movies! Then, the blog might evolve into something else,… like Family Guy vs. Seinfeld; or The Mets, or any other particular thing that captures my fancy. And… feel free to respond with any comments you may have. But for now I will write a blog about something I have never had any interest in… Star Wars.

May the force be with me!