Monday, February 27, 2006

Wes Craven Nightmare: You Can't Spell Condominium Without.... Inium

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious”

Does that sound familiar? It’s a quote from the first Star Wars from 1977 which means that yes folks I have seen it, and if you stay tuned later this week you will see my review of the film.

Today however that quote concerns a condo complex I once lived in for three years that we will call “Wes Craven”. Later on I will tell you some stories about my Nightmare on Elm Street… a place not haunted by Freddie Kreuger but rather by two characters named “Magda” (named for the wrinkly old neighbor in There Something About Mary which I watched during the blizzard 2 wks ago) and “Mr. Loser“, and a bumbling condo management company guy named “Mr. Flintstone“… Mr. Loser is one of these guys who in high school was the senior the freshmen used to pick on.

If you are a condo resident or are planning to buy one.. Today’s column is a must read… There may even be a quiz... Trust me…. I know what I am talking about.

A recent front page article in the paper caught my attention that made condo residents cheer and evil ego maniacal board members cringe. Buried in the headlines on the day we first heard of the NHL gambling fiasco and the death of Coretta Scott King at some wacky now closed clinic in Mexico was the tale of the NJ State appeals court ruling in favor of residents of the Twin Rivers Condominium Association. Just last week a NJ State Assembly Committee passed a bill that will take away more power from condo boards run by ego maniacs. I also have an important organization to tell you about called The Common Interest Homeowners Coalition.. And a couple named Haim and Margaret Bar Akiva. If you live in a condo or plan to do so, then write this down.. that’s right.. Go get a pen… We’ll wait for you to get back. Ill hum while we wait….

Do Do Do Do Do…..(that Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed is still ringing in my ears!)

Back to the condos.. Kudos to the residents of Twin Rivers. They stood up to their board and won. Personally, I have lived in 2 different condo complexes. The place I live in now has an ok board.. I have no issues with them and they have acted very honorably… But the Wes Craven complex was run by a bunch of power hungry losers who were probably picked on all of their lives and now take it out on the residents who dare to try to enjoy life under their insane regime….

Twin Rivers went to the Appellate Court over the relatively minor issue of allowing residents to display flags… nothing major.. Yet the strict limitations about the type of flag combined with a few other nuisance rules lit a spark under the Bar Akivahs and led to a court ruling that I feel is fantastic! The ruling basically strips the corrupt boards of their all encompassing power.… a ruling that the people still living at Wes Craven will gladly embrace. This is assuming the same board is still there.. But who knows, they conducted a lot of shenanigans involving voting, so who knows what goes on there?

Wes Craven used to be a nice place. My mother lived there at one time, as did my friend Joe who served on the board when the board was honest and had integrity. . Interestingly enough, Joe moved out before I moved in, yet he was the President when my mom was there and was extremely helpful to her when she asked to get a new railing for some stairs. Trophy Wife and I have since become friends with Joe and his family, and he actually was the ring inspector and yichud guard at my wedding. (Yichud guards block the entrance to the room where the couple goes for “private time“ right after the wedding.)

In early ‘04 I realized how horrible an out of control board can get. Once I escaped the madness there,…and I moved to my current complex, I vowed to attend every public meeting… and so far I must say the board is honest and ethical. If there is any advice I can give a condo resident.. It is attend those board meetings and make sure that these people behave themselves. The chuckleheads at Wes Craven circumvented that by keeping their meetings private.

I took issue with the activities of 2 board members that involved calls to the police and ultimately a complaint filed in Trenton. Even though nothing was accomplished with my case.. I can appreciate the satisfaction that the Bar Akivas must be feeling. Corrupt boards like the Wes Craven board hold their meetings privately with no input from residents. That allows them to do all kinds of sneaky and sleazy activities. On Presidents Day Mrs. Bar Akiva wrote a fantastic editorial about some of the problems such as the fact that boards finance their battles using resident’s maintenance fees.. And they obsess over all kinds of silly little things such as toys left on balconies, etc. Classic line from her piece… “the boards aren’t interested in HOW my neighbor is doing.. They’re more concerned with WHAT my neighbor is doing!” One nice young neighbor at Wes Craven a European immigrant who was new to the USA kept her toddler’s toys on the porch which you could only see by standing in the bushes in front of the unit and peering over the top… which is exactly what Magda aka Cruella DeVille did.. I could see from my bathroom window how Magda would waddle through some bushes to this woman's porch and then desperately hop up and down to catch a peek over the top to see what toys were stored there. Its almost as if she was a peeper looking for nude sunbathers. After her little visits, Magda promptly sent her letters threatening huge fines!

I heard about the Bar Akiva situation when I went to Trenton to rat out my old board. I also want to share an excerpt from my correspondence about what led me to go to lawmakers and what can happen when loser board members allow their delusions of mediocrity fuel their egos…. I feel like a movie star who goes on Letterman with a clip! Here’s the set-up… Basically the management company made a mistake and the corrupt board took advantage of it. Incidentally the management company is owned by a local politician whose opponent is guaranteed my vote in the next election! Here are the basic highlights… For the blog, the names have been altered to protect the guilty…. but the actual letter named names! In reality most people don’t know them since these pathetic creatures hid behind their mommy’s skirts… aka the management company.. Cue the Law and Order Music…


In January, “M” Management took over management of the complex. They also changed the prior company’s policy of mailing out monthly bills, and instead sent out a payment book. I never received this payment book, and I did not know about the new policy. In the middle of January, I received a bill from them along with a $25 late fee. Again, the next month I got a bill and another late fee. This went on for about four months, and each month I promptly sent a bill along with a note saying I shouldn’t have to pay the late fees since the bill was sent late. I even enclosed the original envelope with a post mark showing the date “the bill” was sent out.

Ultimately in April, I mentioned something to my neighbor about conversations with “Mr. Flintstone“. from “M” after a visitor of mine had been threatened with notes from Magda and Mr. Loser (but signed by “M”) that her car would be booted for parking in a visitor spot. (That is NOT a misprint, and I will address the wheel boot issue later in this letter.) My neighbor told me about the payment books at which point I called Mr. Flintstone to request one. It took him about a week to ten days to get it to me, at which point I immediately sent in a payment.

Every month after that, each payment was sent in on time. However, the statements kept showing late fees. It also showed an extra months payment was due, but I just figured that their bookkeeper was posting my check after the monthly invoice was mailed, which is very common with other bills such as the phone, and cable, etc. At the end of the year, I called them to point out the extra month on the bill, and they informed me that I owed an extra month. I told them I kept impeccable records, because I send the check the same day as my mortgage bill, and I knew from my itemized deductions exactly when those checks were written and mailed.

I asked them to send me a list of each payment, and after carefully reviewing their records, I realized that I accidentally missed the payment for the month that they had sent me the book. Each subsequent month’s payment was punctual, but the bookkeeper posted it as the prior month’s payment, so even though only one month was late, they were charging late fees for every month, which added up to $275.

I called Mr. Flintstone, and told him I was sending the payment for the missed month, but I didn’t feel that it was fair to be charged a late fee, because if I had received the original payment book, I never would have had any late fees. Ever since I moved to Wes Craven, every payment has been punctual, except for the months described above. Mr, Flintstone advised me to send a letter to the board explaining the situation, and request that the late fees be waived. I wrote the letter, mailed it in, never heard anything about it after that, and thought that was the end of it.

(Folks on the blog… here is where we go from incompetent to just plain corrupt…)

A few months later the board held elections, and I was one of four residents who attended the meeting to vote in person. One man there was told he could not vote because he owed $25 in fees, and according to the rules anyone voting has to be up to date on fees. Nothing was said to me about owing money, so I voted, wrote my name down, and signed my ballot. Two of the three other people there were witnesses. The ballots were counted, and the votes were announced. I left shortly thereafter with the two witnesses, and as we left the building, I asked them if my vote had counted. They said it did, and I reasonably assumed that the late fees had been waived.

On April 8, I went to my car and saw a boot on it. I called Mr. Flintstone to remove it and he said only the board could authorize boot removal, and that I still owed past late fees. I asked Mr. Flintstone why I owed the money and he said the board rejected my letter requesting the waiving of the fees. However, I never got a letter from the board, (which Mr. Flintstone would later admit was never sent out to me), and I asked him why I was allowed to vote. He told me my vote was pulled after I left the election meeting. However, unbeknownst to Mr. Flintstone, I left with the witnesses, which means Magda and Mr. Loser purposely changed the votes outside the presence of the witnesses.

I called Magda to remove the boot, and she said she would not speak to me until the association meeting two weeks later, and if I wanted my car back, I would have to pay the boot fee. I told her this was an error and she hung up on me mid sentence.

Two weeks later, at the meeting, these fees were discussed with the board. They originally demanded $275 in late fees, and $100 for removal of the boot. Ultimately they forced me to pay $200 to get the boot off my car. I feel this is unjust, and I should not have to pay because of the errors made by “M“. I also don’t like that my car was held hostage for close to three weeks, until I paid these outrageous fees. Incidentally, “M” has made numerous errors in the past. It takes them weeks to send parking decals; one neighbor didn’t get his because there was no postage on the envelope. Also, when I went to pay the $200, they insisted I owed $275, and ended up calling the Association’s attorney to confirm the correct amount. I don’t have an issue with “M”’s mistakes, but I feel that there is absolutely no reason that I should have to be penalized $200 for those errors.

(Attention blog readers.. More corruption is coming by our friend Magda!)

As for the wheel boot, I called the police to have it removed. They were stunned that a car had been booted for such a controversial late fee, but said that they could not take it off if the condominium’s bylaws stated that this was allowed. “M” provided me with an amendment to the bylaws signed by Magda (and her name is misspelled on the document). However, according to Page 41 of the Wes Craven bylaws, any changes to the bylaws can only be made by a vote by the residents. The notice by Magda clearly states that the wheel boot rule was voted on by the board. Both documents are attached.

(Yes folks.. I actually sat and read the whole bylaws to find that blurb on page 41! And finally bloggers… more insight into what losers with no friends do in their spare time…)

As a result of this new rule, numerous residents have been harassed by threats to have cars booted. Visitors also have been harassed for parking in visitor spots. Another included document shows rules on limits on how often a person can visit and park here. Magda and Mr. Loser actually walk along the grounds on an almost daily basis, and jot down license plate numbers that are then sent over to M. These cars then get threatening letters on their windshields that their cars will be booted. I asked Mr. Loser why he doesn’t sign his name to those letters, and he arrogantly replied that M should take the heat because that is why they get paid a lot of money. Personally, I don’t feel that my high maintenance fees should pay M to take the heat from angry residents who are fed up with Magda and Mr. Loser.

And that folks…. is basically the letter…It goes on to outline other indiscretions by this board.. But basically I think you got the gist of it. By the way, I had 2 cars at the time.. so the boot didnt stop me from getting anywhere. And sadly this is just a microcosm of what can happen when a condo board goes wild! I along with other condo residents applaud the Bar Akivah family for standing up.. And also for the excellent editorial that shows how much of our maintenance fees go to stupid unnecessary expenses. Keep up the good work! And folks…. If you live in a condo or plan to do so,………… go to the meetings.. And watch your boards!!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pump and Circumstance

Hey folks.. was Thursday night filled with tough entertainment choices... or what? You had Survivor on CBS, American Idol on FOX, The Olympic Skating on NBC, Dancing with the Stars on ABC and another podcast on the Nate's World of Words Blog. Choices, Choices, Choices.

And not only do we have Dancing with the Stars.. there is this copycat Skating with Celebrities.. and Coming Soon... live from your local Mexican restaurant... "Farting with Famous People"

Today we present Part II of our chat with Walter Nagel where we reveal his nickname and how he got it. We also have a brief follow up to last weeks Game Show blog with a look at the Best Game Show Theme Songs. You can hear it right here on the embedded player by clicking play, or on your computer's media player by clicking the headline.

By the way if you have a Yahoo account and wanna get the podcast (and/or this blog) delivered to you automatically, it's very simple to have it show up on your "My Yahoo" page. (If you haven't been on my yahoo, it's a little icon right there on the main yahoo page)

1. At My Yahoo click "add content"

2. Click "Add RSS by URL" and type in

3. Click on "add to my yahoo"

4. Click on the edit it link (edit to show content), to allow for headline and short summary. Now a little button will automatically show up on your "my yahoo" page next to the summary that you can click to play audio and video files.

You can then put it in your mp3 player and listen to it anytime you want!
© 2006 All Rights and Tables Reserved
The Nate's World Podcast!
The Nate's World Blog is now a podcast!!
Walter Nagel chats about his store, his nickname, and The Mets!

Thu, 23 Feb 2006 19:00:00 GMT

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Top 14 Game Shows of All Time - Part III - Graphite! Aristophanes! Blank Tape!

Its that time of the year folks… pitchers and catchers reported today (yippee!!) and March Madness is just around the corner… that means… its time for our version of the Final Four as we present Part III of … the top 14 game shows ever…. And we start with….

4. THE PRICE IS RIGHT…. If you talk about comfort food.. there's nothing like being home sick one day (or sleeping in on President’s Day) and flipping on the TV at 11am and seeing…. that The View's Meredith Viera still looks hot, and Star Jones is still ugly. Nah, Im only kidding… The Price is Right continues its incredible run… and remains like an old reliable friend at 11 am! If you watch it now and watched it 30 years ago.. its still the same show! The models are different, but every day Bob Barker who is now in his mid 80s holds down the fort…. and still has all his marbles to run from set to set to play all the goofy pricing games.

From a business standpoint, the show is a juggernaut… CBS Daytime has kicked butt in the ratings for years and years and years.. And TPIR is the linchpin, In addition, it is the ONLY NETWORK game show… all the rest are syndicated,,… and it has been the only network game show since the early 90s when ABC bailed out on a revamped Match Game with Ross Schafer, and NBC gave up on its morning lineup of To Tell the Truth and Classic Concentration. Even CBS kicked out network remakes of The Pyramid, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud…

The show is just amazing .. And it just might never end! .The key to a successful game show is its consistency. That’s why game shows are comfort food,. Especially to someone like me with such a hodge podge brain. They have structure and rules and if you look at TPIR from the mid 70s, its exactly the same as it is now 30 years later except the prices are way off.... 4 contestants on contestant row are picked right out of the audience which gives anyone who goes to watch the show a chance to win. Then the ones that advance go to the wheel for a chance at the showcase and then at the end you hope they both overbid. Okay, maybe that’s just me.. But remember I watch Olympic Ice Skating to see the skaters fall on their tushies…

One cool thing was the genius in the 70s on contestant row who realized the 3 prior bidders had high bids so he went with 1 dollar.. And won.. The strategy is still used to this day with some people in the 3rd position bidding 1 dollar only to see his neighbor go last and screw him by bidding 2 dollars. The Family Guy did a brilliant spoof of this and had the contestants get into a vicious fight.

Incidentally, the older version in the 60s was pretty cool too. I’ve seen it on GSN and bidding actually went beyond the first round and they didn’t have all the bells and whistles like the Barker version. They also didn’t have contestants row back then,… but from the moment when the late Johnny Olsen summoned the first contestant on the 70s Bob Barker version to “Come on Down”… a legend and a catch phrase was born.

And what happens to this cash cow when Bob Barker retires? As mentioned in Part II, I used to think that Jeff Probst might take over.. but that was pre- Survivor. And it looks like Survivor is here to stay.. Especially if they do gimmicks like Thursday night’s episode where bikini clad women wrestle inside five rings that look very similar to the ones on the Olympics that nobody seems to be watching.

Are you ready for my pick to succeed Bob Barker? (And they’re gonna keep the show running post Bob since it makes so much money)… The weather guy from the CBS Morning Show… Dave Price.. Pun intended. I don’t watch him that early in the AM on CBS, but I remember when he was on Channel 5 how wacky and crazy he used to be, and he just might have what it takes to take over a game show…. Although replacing Barker may be impossible. Just ask NBC when Pat Sajak quit the network version of Wheel of Fortune and was replaced by………….. Rolf Bernirschke!

Long live Bob Barker!!

3. PASSWORD - If you are too young to remember Allen Ludden, you don’t know what you missed! I hope I look that good when I’m old. What a classy dude.. Allen presided over Password for years and years until a stroke knocked him off the air and ultimately killed him in the early 1980s. Tom Kennedy and Bert Convy also hosted the Plus and Super versions rather well… but Password was just a classic game. One player gives a one word clue.. The other one guesses it.. Simple yet quite entertaining… especially that memorable Odd Couple episode where Felix and Oscar go on the show and the Password is pencil.. Oscar says “Lead”….Felix’s guess is …. Graphite! Aristophanes! Ridiculous! What a classic!

I don’t remember the earlier editions too well.. And I vaguely remember a celebrity version called Password All Stars when the show ran on daytime on ABC in the mid 70s before the network canned it.. But it wasn’t gone too long.. NBC brought it back as Password Plus with new gimmicks like a puzzle board and alphabetics… kind of like the Pyramid where you get 60 seconds to get the contestant to say 10 words. Tom Kennedy took it over after Ludden got sick and the show ran a few more years.

The network brought it back again a few years later,.. This time as Super Password with Bert Convy. The show was the same with a few minor rule changes and a smaller set.. But for the most part, the game remained the same. However once it was cancelled in the late 80s it never got remade after that for some bizarre reason! But as a game it’s a classic and it comes in at 3.

The hits just keep on coming on Nate’s Blog Top 14 as we head to Number One and now time for a long distance dedication. Susie from Kansas writes… My mommy just met a new guy and they started shacking up. Here‘s the problem Casey… I have a cute little toy poodle named Fifi.. And her shack up has a big out of control dalmation named Killer. Casey…. For my entertainment….could you play… the theme song to Dog Eat Dog??

Ok Dog Eat Dog didn’t make the list… Lets get back to the countdown…with number 2

2. THE PETER MARSHALL HOLLYWOOD SQUARES - The original and still the best comes in 2nd on my list. This is not to be confused with the 3 remakes hosted respectively by Jon Bauman (well get to that later), John Davidson, and Tom Bergeron. I actually liked the Davidson version better than the Bergeron version… but the Marshall one was still by far the best!.

The show was anchored by center square Paul Lynde and created a celebrity environment that was used even better by the show that comes in at #1. The concept was allow them to loosen up and have fun on a game show…. I have seen the old pre HS panel shows on GSN, and none of them gave the stars the freedom that they were allowed on the squares. But when HS came along.. (and if Im wrong on this… please correct me), Marshall became the first host to set his ego aside and play straight man to each star’s wisecrack answers. Oh yeah, the show is tic tac toe.. Easy enough.. The contestant earns a square by agreeing or disagreeing with the answer given by the celebrity sitting in the corresponding square. But early on, the stars started off shooting wisecracks to the questions, and the show took on a whole new meaning. Comedy writers were hired, and Paul Lynde was brought in as the center square along with other regulars Wally Cox, Rose Marie, Charley Weaver, and later George Gobel. In my na├»ve youth, I didn’t realize that the stars had the joke answers written for them.. I just thought they were that funny and quick witted and as a result I developed a strong admiration and appreciation of them. That was the time when I started to really like game shows because it gave you a window into the clever humor of famous people.

The show ran on NBC until June 20th 1980 to make room for the daytime David Letterman show. After its cancellation, it went right into daytime syndication (not to be confused with the nighttime syndication that GSN briefly ran in the early 2000s to mind bogglingly low ratings!). Strangely enough the show moved to a casino in Las Vegas owned by Meshulam Riklis and the audience was set up as a dinner theater.. So the camera cover shot of the lower level was actually blocked by a bunch of goofballs who spent their comps at HS instead of the buffet…(Or maybe it was a buffet.. You never did see a waiter.) Oh yeah.. One aspect of the deal.. Riklis’ hot little wife Pia Zadora had to get her own square as part of the deal.

One other highlight was the “secret square”… We knew who it was.. But nobody else did.. And when the secret square was picked… sirens went off and excitement was in the air… no funny answers here, buster.. This is it… I also got a kick out of hot stars who got to model politically incorrect fur coats on the spiral staircases that connected the 3 levels of the set.

By the way the Squares has the catchiest theme song in game show history… and is actually my cell phone’s ring tone. Second place for theme song goes to Whew… which had a catchy opening during its brief run in 1979- 80... (Close calls… narrow escapes… ) and who the heck can even pronounce the word “whew”??

HS fizzled out in the early 80s…(right after they changed the set and theme song.. although I just downloaded the new theme today and it actually is pretty snazzy) and came back in syndication in ‘86 with John Davidson. I liked it… it ran a few years and yet another edition recently ended a 6 year run with Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron. (Not to be confused with Skating with the Celebrities starring the girl from the movie Buffy the Marriage Breaker. She hooked up with her skating partner, and he left his 9 months pregnant wife!) The remakes stayed basically the same, but its hard to recapture the magic of the old stars, and even though Davidson and Bergeron tried their best.. neither of them could pull the show together like Peter Marshall. I’m sure it will come back again in a few years…

And now ladies and gentlemen… the number one game show of all time… Deal or No Deal.. You got the models… you got the banker… you got the suitcases.. You got Howie… What more do you need?? Ok, Im kidding..

Ladies and Gentlemen…. The all time Number One Game Show of all time…..


One day I was at the VCR department at K Mart.. And there in the flesh was Gene Rayburn!! He asked me if I knew where he could find “blank tape”… Hmmm,.. I started humming the think music…blank tape… Is it “duct” tape you want, Gene?? He started to get annoyed… “I know.. Masking tape…”.. I think he was gonna shoot me… “Uh how about ‘scotch” tape… Blank Tape he yelled… I want blank tape.. At which point he reached into his Brooks Brothers suit and pulled out his long microphone and started smacking me with it.

At that point I woke up from a horrible dream!

Flashback to 1973, The summer was coming to an end… and I was getting ready to start 3rd Grade. I was just about to turn 8, and my mom mentioned that maybe I should watch other shows besides cartoons. It was the week of Labor Day and the next thing you know this orange thingie starts spinning and I’m seeing Morey Amsterdam, Loretta Swit, and Ruta Lee (from High Rollers).. I started watching and I haven’t stopped… and interestingly enough I remember the panel for some bizarre reason… and it just so happens that very same panel is on this wks 3:30 GSN repeats!

The magic formula…Take one straight man host, (thanks for the idea Peter Marshall), six celebrities, write some wacky questions,… and you have a game show whose incredible popularity defies logic. Even Gene admitted, the game in itself is kind of silly,… but the chemistry between Gene and the six celebrities made for a fantastic show that continues on high rated reruns on GSN and websites made by fans who love the show more than myself…. Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Richard Dawson (for the first five years) were the glue that held the show together and their silly joking along combined with what was going on on HS really made these people seem to be hysterically funny and basically the type of people one would spend a half hour with each day. I used to watch the show and felt I knew the celebs… they were like uncles and aunts to me!! Of course I didn’t understand the jokes… and as I watch the show on GSN… I’m kind of surprised my mom even let me watch it… but it is my fave show of all time….

GSN knows the show is hot.. it’s the most popular show on the network… To me.. I equate it with Babe Ruth baseball games surfacing on ESPN… Ruth was the best player of all time bar none.. He dominated his era and set records that took years to break…. Hey pitchers and catchers reported today… its baseball season folks. Well if ESPN showed old Ruth games… they would have the same impact on sports fans as GSN showing old MG reruns has on us game show fans. The show is just so much better than any other game show and no matter how many times they remake it… it never will recapture its old magic.

They remade the show in 1990 with Ross Shaefer which stayed true to its original format… and in 1998 with Michael Burger (who dated a woman who lived next door to me when I had a summer house in 1990). Burger’s version was awful… it had 5 stars instead of 6... And the double entendres weren’t implied.. If the question was “Dumb Donald is soooo dumb… (how dumb is he?) He got his blank stuck in the spaghetti maker”.. the 70s audience laughed at the obvious answer and then wrote nose, head, arm, etc. The 90s version didn’t… and the show just didn’t work.

And what happens when you combine the top 2 game shows of all time? You get NBC’s very strange Match Game Hollywood Squares Hour. Its hard to write about this one since all the game show fans HATED it… I didn’t feel that strongly about it.. But it just looked odd.. Kind of like a movie in the 1800s that has planes flying over head… or a Met game that doesn’t have planes flying over head! I liked MG so much I was happy just to see it… (This show came 20 years before we could get our GSN rerun fix) but the celebrity alignment looked strange and I was more interested in seeing Bowzer than this strange Jon Bauman who played him… They played 3 rounds of match game with the same rules as the PM version… 3 rounds match as many stars etc…then it got creepier.. From out of nowhere emerged a wall with seats and voila you had the upper floor of a very cheap looking Hollywood Squares set. 3 other stars deemed not Match Game worthy came running out and jumped in the seats… and Jon Baumann took over as host… There was no secret square.. You didn’t have to “earn” a square to get a win and there were no bluffs. I’m amazed that HS ever recovered from this debacle. After the HS game ended, Gene took over as host and the winner got to play the Super Match like the old show. With all the legalities involving program ownership…and there are a lot since GSN has to jump through hoops to negotiate rights fees with the owners of different shows… I’m amazed this hybrid show even got produced! Rumor has it… there are legal documents that bar it from ever airing again!

I gotta really thank Google for help researching this 3 part extravaganza since I didn’t remember a lot of details about some of the shows. In researching the MG HS hour I found a review written by a teenaged kid on his My Spaces blog. Now how the heck could a teenaged kid review it if it hasn’t aired in 20 years. But even stranger are the comments section where these wacky My Spaces goofballs have assumed the identities of various game show hosts alive and dead… including Gene Rayburn. It’s good to see another generation of game show fans is emerging in America!

And there you have it folks,… the top 14 game shows of all time! I’m sure people have opinions like where was the Newlywed Game or Name that Tune for example? NTT may have gotten short shrift since it is never rerun because of the complexities involving the music licenses on the show.. I also left out Concentration and I am sure many others that you may have liked.. But feel free to leave your comments … and suggestions for other Top 14 lists.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Top 14 Game Shows of All Time - Part II - Big Bucks, No Whammys and...........Stop!

Here we go with Part II of the 14 Top Game Shows.. And as promised.. We lead off with what is the controversial #9 pick.. A pick even Chuck Barris’s mother wouldn’t agree with!

9. THE GONG SHOW - How many game shows had a movie made about it? Not only that, it was just so insane that you couldn’t not watch it. Hosted by Chuck Barris because nobody else could really capture the essence of the show the way he did (although Laugh In announcer Gary Owens briefly hosted the nighttime syndicated version)... 3 celebrities sat in cheap ruffled 70s tuxes and evening gowns and held a long stick just inches from a gong that would instantly end the talent show participant's performances dead in their tracks. The show also gave us cultural icons such as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and The Unknown Comic. Is it really a game show? Heck, why not?

American Idol is really the Gong Show without the Gong... and frankly watching the national tour of auditions all it needs is Arte Johnson, Jaye P Morgan and Jamie Farr and it really is the Gong Show. I think that considering the trend that game shows continue to recycle themselves with inferior remakes.. (there have been 2 remakes that didnt last long), one day in the future kids watching yet another new Gong Show will hear their parents tell them that its just like this old show they used to watch as kids called American Idol.

Speaking of American Idol.. can you believe the irony of how it spanked The Grammys in the Nielsen ratings last week? Singers go on AI to reach the ultimate reward of a Grammy... yet while AI alumnus Kelly Clarkson won a Grammy.,... nobody saw it because they were watching American Idol! I watched the first hour of the Grammys before wandering over to Lost and I briefly considered writing about the awards.. but they just didnt seem relevant to me. Too much of that hippity hop music, plus an opening where Madonna was singing with cartoon characters.. I almost thought Bob Hoskins would jump in and sing... "A shave and a haircut... 2 bits" like he did in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

Flash back to the late 80s... when the Grammys were relevant... in '88, I actually went to them... as a "worker".... kind of like the indentured servant on Sunday night's Desperate Housewives. I was at Montclair State at the time and a bunch of us got hired to work at the awards. Not only did we do it for free... but we had to pay for our own tuxedoes and our own transportation. A bunch of us hired a limo to take us in because we had to shlep a bunch of stuff to the City and it was too much to take on a bus or train, and as I recall we had to be at Radio City Music Hall at some ungodly hour in the morning.

It was fun.. no doubt about it. Watching the rehearsals were even more fun than the awards themselves. Billy Crystal hosted that year and there was an amazing performance of "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson...(which shows up on virtually every Google reference of the ’88 Grammys) plus a great opening number by Whitney Houston and a salute to NY with Billy Joel. We also got to hang out with Buster Pointdexter who was actually a nice guy. My job.. .a talent escort. My responsibility... to escort my "talent" around Radio City so they wouldn’t be lost when it was time to go on stage. And boy did I get a big star...The Lou Reed Singers... yep.. not even the original ones.. but new ones who had been recently hired by Lou. Remember the song.. "Take a Walk on the Wild Side"... Lou Reed has a line where the "colored girls go...(and the girls would then sing) doo doo doo dooo dooo....".... So all day long.. all I got to hear was doo doo doo to that song. Eventually I was fit to be tied but I kept a big smile on my face as they kept practicing doo doo dooing.. I actually asked them if they could doo doo to another song like "A shave and a haircut .. 2 bits".. and I think I ticked off Lou Reed.

By the way... after the Grammy's ended... our big party... we went to the late and lamented Clairmont Diner on Route 3. And since it was Purim… the next morning, just hours after seeing U2 not win with the classic “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For“…I got up early and went to my old synagogue in Linden for Purim services.. And since it wasn‘t due back till the afternoon I wore my tux there. It was one of only 2 times in my life I walked into that building wearing a tuxedo... the second time was my wedding day…. where I had already found what I was looking for!

8. WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE - Not since ABC had prime time Suzanne Somers Family Feud jiggle fests did Neilsen see a game show crack the top of the ratings charts. Millionaire ruled the Nielsens in the summer of 99 and became an instant ratings hit., First it ran as a special event and then ABC brought it back in the fall to plug in every hole in its rather lame lineup. The ratings started to slip and the show soon died of overexposure.. but not before selling it off to syndication where that hot babe Meredith Viera continues to host it. It ranks high on the watchability factor... you just can't turn away when a contestant approaches the 100,000 dollar question.

Heres a trivia fact... when I worked in radio we had an intern who bore an uncanny resemblance to Chuck Scarborough. We used to call him "Young Chuck". One day I’m watching the Regis version and there is Young Chuck sitting in Contestant's Row. He got the fastest finger question right and came on whereas he promptly bombed out on the first question. Little did he know I was watching as was every other radio alumnus I could contact once he was seen on Contestant Row, and we all saw his horrific outing. Im sure hes thrilled that this story is now on my blog to be read by millions, so if you ever see someone walking down the street who looks like Chuck Scarborough, ask him how he did on Who Wants to be a Millionaire!

7. PRESS YOUR LUCK - Hosted by Peter Tomarken, the game show that introduced “big bucks no whammys…and stop” to our everyday vocabulary, it is one of only 2 shows to premiere after 1980! What a dry spell for game show producers! Players answered easy questions to earn a “spin” and then spun their way on a big board to get the most cash and prizes… but once you hit the whammy… that was the end of the moolah. It was similar in principle to the devil on The Jokers Wild and Tic Tac Dough….but… on those games you could quit while you were ahead… Here, no such luck. A player with extra earned spins was allowed to pass them to an opponent, and the passed spin often wreaked havoc on players when it ended up on the whammy. I‘m amazed some of these players didn‘t get into fistfights over those passed spins..

One guy named Michael Larson was clever beyond belief since in the early VCR/Beta days he watched the patterns on the board and figured out where the cash and a spin spots would land and where the whammy would not.. And ultimately knew how to time out his hitting of the stopper to avoid that dastardly whammy so he would always land on a spot that gave him cash plus a spin. He went on the show and won more than 100,000 bucks as he continuously avoided the whammy spin after spin after spin. He spun 45 consecutive times, and of course the producers quickly figured out what was going on, since strategically…(and how many game shows employ strategy?) it would have made sense to pass his extra spins. He finally ended up with 2 or 3 spins which he passed to the next opponent who was stuck on 50 bucks. His incredible game took 2 episodes to finish and has been replayed on a GSN documentary about his “cheating”. The poor guy died broke several years later.. Amazingly he lost half the money in a real estate scam and the other half he kept at home in cash…. And of course his home was ultimately burglarized….so ultimately it seems like he did hit the whammy after all. But when it came to sheer excitement.. It was hard to beat Press Your Luck.

6. THE PYRAMIDS THAT HAD DOLLAR NUMBERS IN THE TITLE - Nothing against Donny Osmond but they modernized the show a bit much in its recent revival. The old versions mostly hosted by Dick Clark (but also Bill Cullen and John Davidson) had a dollar number in the title that was a huge amount of moolah for that time. The early versions in the early 70s was for a measly 10k… but later versions played for 100k. This game also had a high excitement level… as the seconds loudly ticked ominously in the background… almost like that clock on 24. It was fun to watched stressed out celebrities try to get people to say phrases like “Things George Bush says in a hot tub”….with clues like “Where are those bubbles coming from Condoleeza?”

5. JEOPARDY - Another Merv Griffin production…. And the most cerebral game show of our time. Simple format.. Answer in the form of a question. Use strategy to pick your dollar wagers on the Daily Doubles and final Jeopardy questions. Originally a daytime NBC game show in the 60s and 70s with Art Fleming, it came back with Alex Trebek in the 80s with a different set… and sharper look, yet stayed true to the format. Having Ken Jennings win a gazillion consecutive games in 2004 also helped give the show a big boost in the ratings not seen since Trebek shaved his moustache. Its always fun to play along and feel inferior to the NY Times Crossword Puzzle aficionados that excel in this game night after night. At this pace it could run forever, since they will never run out of questions, or smart people to play the game. Strangely enough, it could be the one show identified with a particular host that may have the most replaceable host. By the way Rock and Roll Jeopardy with Jeff Probst does not count on this list.. Although it too was a fun game show to watch. I always thought CBS was looking at Probst as a possible replacement for Bob Barker on The Price is Right.. But after his success on Survivor.. It looks like he will be gainfully employed for years to come.

Hey what does an award snubbed rich musician write in a telegram… Big Bucks… No Grammys… and Stop!

NEXT ; The final 4. More excitement than Dick Vitale could imagine!.. Will it be all Mark Goodson shows? Or will somebody else crack the list. And who is no. 1? No. 2? Stay tuned to find out!

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Top 14 Game Shows of All Time - Part I - Will It Be Bachelor No. 1, Bachelor No. 2....or the Banana Section?

Here folks is my own list of the top 14 game shows ever in the history of all mankind!. We're splitting this into 3 parts.. today the bottom 5, in Part II we will talk about the next five and in part III, The Final Four.. Anyone who knows me can easily guess what comes in at no. 1.... But keep in mind that other bloggers who have made this list have also come up with the same #1... so I just may have been on to something the last 30 years or so. Feel free to use the comments space to generate some speculation about The Final Four.

Interestingly enough only 1 of the game shows on this list has premiered in the last 20 years,.. and only 2 have premiered in the last 30! Virtually every great game show was created during television’s early years from the 50's through early 70s. But since then... zippo and zilcho. Game Show Network came into this world on December 1, 1994, and over the years they have tried to bring us original game shows, They remade Press Your Luck, The Gong Show and Three’s a Crowd which happened to have one of the catchier theme songs in game show history. They also tried a few original game shows such as Cram, Inquizition and Friend or Foe ….but aside from Lingo with Chuck Woolery, none have had much staying power..

Why 14? Why not?… I had a hard time picking from 2 shows for 15 (The Newlywed Game and Name That Tune) and I didn’t feel like making a top 16 list.. So I cut it at 14 because to me there was a pretty big gap after 14. And what went into my decision? The ability to play along , entertainment, longevity, and also the show’s impact on television as a whole. If you take a look at shows that started in the 60s and 70s (as most of these did) you will see how they influenced later shows. Aren’t the wildly popular reality shows Survivor and American Idol really game shows? I also think some will also find my number 9 choice to be controversial... but I'm sticking by my picks! So here we go.

14 - THE ORIGINAL MAKE ME LAUGH - We'll start with an oddball pick. All of the game shows lasted many years - except for this one… but for the year that it ran.. it was hilarious! This syndicated program was on back in ‘79 and was totally addictive!. Bobby Van hosted 3 comedians who had 60 seconds each to make a contestant laugh. The contestant sat there and if they went a minute without laughing they made a buck a second. If they outlasted all 3 comedians… they won 360.. . Not a heckuva lot of money, but there were definitely some very funny moments; not to mention a great source of exposure for young up and coming comedians.

One very memorable female contestant with chubby cheeks discovered that by hyperventilating, she could control herself to keep from laughing. She took these huge deep breaths, and won.. So the producers brought her back, and on her return engagement to the program the comedians attacked by putting party noisemakers and balloons in her mouth that she instantly inflated.. along with candles that she would blow out. I was on the floor laughing but the contestant kept huffing and puffing away.

Also, at the time this show was on.. the notion of having stand up comedians perform on TV was extremely unusual. Aside from the show Evening at the Improv, there weren’t too many comedians honing their craft on TV…. Yet now we have Comedy Central, a network that originally was 2 comedy networks that showed hours and hours of stand up material. Of course The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson also had a HUGE impact on this trend too… but this 30 minute program gave us a solid half hour of standup each and every day… Notice I said the original MML and not the lame remake that aired on Comedy Central in the late 90s. Maybe it will come back again in 2050 (MML).

13. THE DATING GAME - One of 2 Chuck Barris game shows to make the list.. This may have started the reality dating show craze. 3 bachelors (or bachelorettes) sat behind a wall and were suggestively questioned by a bachelorette (or bachelor) who tried to win a date for an exotic trip that would be “chaperoned” by a Chuck Barris Productions staffer. Ultimately, there would be one goofball on the panel and you just prayed that person would get picked.

Years later Love Connection came along…. which wasn’t really a game show… and you got to see if the 2 hit it off… or had a little of the ol’ hocus mcpocus.. I always thought that more contestants on Love Connection had sex than the people who appeared on the raunchier Studs. Love Connection in turn led to the plethora of dating shows such as Studs, and Singled Out on MTV which gave big breaks to Jenny McCarthy and Carmen Electra.. And many many more that have run over the years, mostly on MTV….Blind Date which sells a raunchy outtake dvd has taken the viewer full circle by allowing us to go along on the date….All of these dating shows… even the horrible Bachelor, owe their birth to this Chuck Barris original!

12. WHEEL OF FORTUNE - This is one of two game shows on this list created by Merv Griffin who to me is a showbiz legend. He created shows, hosted a popular syndicated talk show and made gazillions of dollars by becoming a casino mogul…casinos which he then sold for huge profits. You never hear about Merv having the financial problems that plague that goofball Donald Trump,…. And Merv Griffin’s daddy never bought millions of dollars worth of chips to keep his casino afloat. Merv also created Dance Fever which is now being copied by Dancing with the Stars…

Dance Fever was teamed up with Solid Gold, every Saturday night in the old days on 11 Alive! Speaking of which… many many moons ago, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky was a “celebrity judge” on Dance Fever… of course the woman who flashed the most skin ALWAYS won. Well, remember Jan and Diane - Motion! Jan was doing her little dance that day and caught Gretzky‘s attention. As you might know, she is now known as Janet Jones, aka Mrs.Gretzky and is now embroiled in a huge scandal involving a sports gambling ring that she ran with a NJ State Trooper. I bet Gretzky wishes he would have hit on Diane instead!

I mean who stupid can you get? The wife of THE best player in hockey history has nothing better to do than get involved in sports gambling? That would be like Mrs. Gene Rayburn taking wagers for the Banana Section at a Tattletales taping! The only motion Janet will hear will be the ones in court for what has the potential to be a sensational trial!

I haven’t watched Wheel of Fortune in years, but you gotta give them credit for longevity. The show has been kicking butt in syndication for close to 25 years, and shows no signs of letting up. Merv took a simple game like hangman... threw in a glamorous wheel, a hot model and a host with a bad toupee and there you have it…. the formula for a multi million dollar money maker that will probably spin on forever.

I used to watch the show back in the old days pre-syndication when it was on NBC and hosted by Chuck Woolery. We used to have a substitute teacher in high school named Mr. Dreznick who aspired to be on Name That Tune. He used to walk around school with crumpled pieces of paper containing obscure songs and just sing them out of the blue.. Then in the summer of 1980 - there he was... on Wheel of Fortune. I think he won a car and when he lost on the 2nd day he launched a lengthy speech thanking Chuck and the producers for treating him so nicely and not throwing spitballs at him and planting whoopee cushions on his seat!

11. FAMILY FEUD - Again, its longevity.... The show started in the mid 70s as a vehicle for Richard Dawson based on the surveys used on Match Game in the Big Money Super Match. Since then there have been quite a few different versions hosted by the late Ray Combs, Louie Anderson and Richard Karn. Dawson even returned for a season back in '94 but was a shadow of his former self... his British accent was back, he wasn’t kissing women and he constantly talked about his new wife and daughter.. He actually met his much younger wife when she was a contestant on the old Feud, and called her a few weeks after to put the shmaneuver on her. That must have been an interesting phone call. Imagine Richard at the Family Feud production office…”Hey can you get me the phone number for that young chickie that was on the show? I’d love to have her at the house to watch my Bob Crane video collection” (See my 1977 column from November if you don’t understand the cross reference.) The Karn version is still basically the same with different music and a newer set. The Spanish station also runs a version in espanol..

Feud was a huge hit in the 70s and early 80s when ABC used to get prime time stars to face off against each other... just another opportunity for the network to get Suzanne Somers from 3s Company to jump up and down without a bra on! I remember it was the 3s company vs. Soap episode and Bob the dummy's eyes were popping out of his head!

Whatever did happen to the ventriliquist Jay Johnson? Well get a load of this... he has a Broadway show premiering soon! “The Two and Only” premieres April 3rd at the Helen Hayes Theater! (It’s also my favorite day in sports.. It’s Baseball Opening Day and the NCAA Tourney Final) The show has been on tour around the country and is directed by Paul Kreppel who played the pianist on Its a Living... All you need is Gavin McLeod and Isaac the Bartender and we could have an ABC 70s reunion on the Love Boat! Just think... you can invite forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee along and he can finally throw a dummy off the boat! (I think only the Rita Cosby viewers who follow the Smith honeymoon cruise story are gonna get that one...)

10. TO TELL THE TRUTH - This is one of 7 celebrity panelist game shows to make the list... It qualifies because I will usually watch it when its on. It has had a million versions with a bunch of different hosts including Lynn Swann, Alex Trebek, Gordon Elliott and John O'Hurley. The game never changes... 4 stars, 3 contestants,, 2 are lying. The show which started in the 50s always featured Kitty Carlisle who is now in her mid 90s and amazingly still performing and singing! The sheer watch-ability and play along factor get it on the list. Sometimes if you watch the old ones on GSN you see quasi famous people playing the impostors! T4 was one of three 4 panelist shows that hit it big in the old days of television including What’s My Line and I’ve Got a Secret… which rarely get revisited, although GSN is planning to roll out an IGAS remake in a few months. Apparently it has an all gay panel and is going to bump Match Game out of the 11-12 midnight slot.

In Part II, the next five on the list… including a controversial pick for #9 that may surprise some….. If you would like to wager on the Final Four… feel free to contact Janet Jones or your local state trooper.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Incredible Bad Luck of the ABC News Anchormen, and Its Importance in the General Scheme of Things

We’ll get to today’s column in just a moment.. But first a word from our non sponsor…

Hi I’m Nate, and I am here today to tell you about my cool new HP all in one Office Jet 6210. My lovely trophy wife had been getting on my case to get a new fax machine since the one we had been using dated back to the late 80s and still used thermal paper. Off we went to the local McElectronics store and purchased the all in one. Its pretty nifty.. It’s a printer, fax, scanner and picture printer. It can even core a apple. But there’s one major flaw… you can only use it if it is hooked up right near the jack… otherwise you are outta luck.

Allow me to explain. Telephone cords used to have 2 wires running inside them,… but when the 2 line homes got popular, manufacturers replaced them with cords containing 4 wires.. At the same time, corded phones and internet dial up hookups have grown increasingly obsolete, and it became less important where the phone was plugged into the wall.. As a result, people don’t need the very long telephone cords anymore.

At this point it is important to point out to the consumer that the HP all in one only works with a 2 wire phone cord.. which comes with the unit. But it is a short little five foot wire. And, when we got the machine.. we decided to place it at the wall across from the jack. Of course, the fax didn’t work. So, off I went to get a 25 foot 2 wire cord.. And after several stops culminating in a Pre Super Bowl visit to Radio Shack that caused me to miss the kickoff… I found out… nobody makes 2 wire 25 foot cords anymore! They’re as obsolete as beta players, nehru jackets, 8 tracks, and the older brother in the comic strip Zits. And if Radio Shack doesn’t have it.. nobody besides eBay has it! However, as it turns out I had an old old 2 wire cord from the early 90s that I saved for whatever reason… and today my fax machine is humming along! Just keep that in mind if you want to buy one of these, just in case the feng shui of your room calls for the machine to be placed anywhere but near the jack!

Now, time for today’s blog!

I was originally going to write about the Top 14 Game Shows of all time, but a conversation I overheard the other day led to my changing my mind to write about something more cerebral. Two old yentas were sitting at a fast food place and as they sat chomping on their French fries and sipping their diet cokes that were part of their senior citizens value meal discount, one blue haired alta cocker looked at the other one and proclaimed…

“Can you believe how badly Bob Woodruff was injured? Can you imagine how horrible it would have been if he had died. Oy, first Peter Jennings, now Bob Woodruff…. Oy oy poor ABC News”

I think my Yoda 1.99 Burger King watch actually stopped at this proclamation. I listened to the old ladies go on and on and on,.. until the conversation evolved into some gossip about one of their mah-jong friends’ daughters who recently announced she was a lesbian AND was about to adopt a Russian baby. As the ladies gabbed on about lesbians and their husbands inability to please them with or without Viagra, I started to think about the sad plight of ABC.

Woodruff’s injuries are apparently pretty nasty, although you don’t hear much about the details, He may have been so badly injured that (assuming he is not brain damaged), his TV career may be over. After all only handsome men anchor the news on TV with a few exceptions such as Gabe Pressman who is kind of cute in a Yoda-esque way…. But for the most part, every anchorman this side of JJ Gonzales has always been a pretty boy. There’s always ABC Radio News for Bob if the TV viewers can’t “accept” him.

And I do feel bad for Bob, believe me. Some military people though are a little ticked off that Bob’s injuries are getting so much attention, as compared to the ones that their own people have suffered while doing some actual fighting. I guess it takes a pretty boy anchorman’s injury to draw attention to what has been going on overseas. And, as I pointed out last week, the Woodruff injury may bring the attention needed to this absurd war that all of the other thousands of deaths and injuries apparently couldn’t accomplish. Assuming a Democrat wins in 2008, his first action as he lowers his hand at the inauguration should be uttering the words….”OK folks, this war is over… lets bring the troops home!”

Do reporters belong there? Not if they’re putting their lives (and those of others) in danger. Ordinarily I would say keep ‘em home and let them just tell the story without this embedded craziness. But then you have someone like Christianne Ammanpour come along (and she is the best in the business) saying that Americans still don’t get enough info about what goes on in this war, and we should see what has been going on there.. That briefly give me second thoughts about my opinion about not allowing the media to embed themselves, and allow the troops to do their jobs. I’m sure the media must get in the way no matter how unobtrusive they try to get when everyone is cramped into such close quarters. Unless of course you embed Lara Logan and give all the guys free digital cameras to snap away at will.

And with all the attention being paid to Mr. Woodruff won’t it just be a matter of time before the crazy right wingers say it’s a media conspiracy to turn people against the war? They already mock Cindy Sheehan with such glee that they actually arrested her outside of the President’s State of the Union address when her Iraq war death toll T-Shirt told you more about the State of the Union than his speech. (And UPN had scheduled a special episode of Veronica Mars, but Channel 9 got some sweet revenge for losing its network affiliation, by pre-empting UPN’s only water cooler program in order to show the Fox News feed of the speech which was also shown on Channel 5) When will that blow hard Bill O’Reilly make a Woodruff fueled media conspiracy one of his talking points on his hideous show? And can you believe I actually used to watch this guy when he was a news anchorman on Channel 2 back in 1980? What went wrong with him? Why didn't Jim Jensen and Rolland Smith take him under his wing and steer him away from the horrible direction his career has taken?

And, getting back to the yentas talking about Peter Jennings… he died of lung cancer on August 7th. It was a weekend and Larry King actually came in to do his show live that night to discuss Jenning's death with other media hotshots. Then all day and all week all the news programs went all Jennings all the time… interrupting the summer of Natalee Holloway while the Smiths continued to plan their wedding and ill-fated honeymoon cruise which would give the 3 news networks something to talk about in the fall. People then started watching ABC with curiosity to see when they would drop Jennings name from the World News Tonight title… kind of like the sign changing ritual Match Game employed in the 70s at the annual change the sign show… goodbye 76... Hellooooooo 77”…. Ok, the changing of the guard had a bit less fanfare and you didn’t have Brett Somers balance a scotch with a Peter Jennings sign while Charles Nelson Reilly attempted to screw in the new Woodruff and Vargas neon sign while balloons dropped form the rafters.

And then the lung cancer stories started… Why it did take Peter Jennings’ death for people to start discussing smoking and lung cancer? It was exactly 2 years before Jennings death that I got a call while I was sitting in a rainstorm at Giants Stadium at a Bon Jovi concert that my buddy’s dad had died of lung cancer. Yet there was no special Larry King episode, the news didn’t run stories about him, and ABC didn’t run little spots about him with sad music in the background. Aside from a blurb in the local paper it didn’t really have a media impact. Yet upon arriving at the funeral the next day I noticed how heart broken and teary eyed the attendees were. And yet even though this wasn’t a news story… this man’s life apparently affected many others.. (I actually still have a Grundig stereo he sold me in 1982, and I still carry a lucky dollar he gave me several years ago). Since his death, the entrance to his synagogue has been dedicated in his memory…. The news networks may not have deemed his death "important" enough… but in the place where it counted the most.. his synagogue… he was important enough, so that everyone entering the synagogue will always remember him. And to me, that is a tribute that beats a Larry King panel discussion with Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather..

Which raises the age old question… why do things that happen to famous people seem more important than when it happens to us?

I don’t have an answer to that one… but it seems like the alta kockers cared more about Woodruff’s recovery and the actuary charts for Charlie Gibson than the contents of Sheehan’s T-Shirt. Hmm.. They don’t seem to be the only ones…

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Feb. 18 Temple Dance - A Chat With Walter Nagel

As you might know, I met my lovely wife at the Highland Park Conservative Temple and Center on 12-29-01. On Feb. 18th the temple will hold its Annual Rock and Roll dance in THE VERY ROOM WHERE WE MET!! Today we have a podcast chat with Music Impersario and Local Celebrity Walter Nagel who is the chairman of this exciting event. Click play (or the little icon at the top) to hear more about it, and also find out why this year we are playing Oldies and traveling in... The Time Machine!

The fun starts at 8pm at the Temple which is at the intersection of South Third and Benner in Highland Park. Food and drinks will be served. The admission is just 13.50/person but 12.50 per person if you call the Temple in advance.

It's gonna be a night filled with fun, and its for a great cause!

By the way if you have a Yahoo account and wanna get the podcast (and/or this blog) delivered to you automatically, it's very simple to have it show up on your "My Yahoo" page. (If you haven't been on my yahoo, it's a little icon right there on the main yahoo page)

1. At My Yahoo click "add content"

2. Click "Add RSS by URL" and type in

3. Click on "add to my yahoo"

4. Click on the edit it link (edit to show content), to allow for headline and short summary. Now a little button will automatically show up on your "my yahoo" page next to the summary that you can click to play audio and video files.

Soon we will have this on itunes so it automatically downloads to your ipod or mp3 player or your computer! I havent figured it all out yet... but Im getting there!
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The Nate's World Podcast!
The Nate's World Blog is now a podcast!!
Local celebrity Walter Nagel chats about the big dance coming up on Feb. 18th!

Wed, 01 Feb 2006 19:00:00 GMT