Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Affordable Health Care Act

For those of you who are in a tizzy about "ObamaCare..."

Here is a plain English explanation of what it does and doesn't do.

Set aside your hatred for Democrats and, more specifically, "The Black Guy in the Whitehouse" and educate yourselves.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"The Main Man's" Main Man...


Well, at least tonight's post isn't a eulogy.

But, not by much.

Roger Slifer is in a medically induced coma at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center tonight, thanks to a hit-and-run driver who hit Slifler in a crosswalk around 1:00 AM Saturday morning.

You probably don't know his name. But, if you are a child of the '90s, you know his work as a producer and writer on animated shows like "G.I. Joe," "Gem and the Holograms" and some obscure series called "Transformers."

But, if you are a comic book nerd like me, especially if you love the comic books of the the 1980s and '90s, then you know Roger as the co-creator of the most over the top, bad-ass, ass kickingest anti-hero in comics history.


"The Main Man."

If you know who Lobo is then, you know what I'm talkin' about!

Thinking about this has got me thinking that I should write a piece about DC Comics in the 1980s. I'm of a mind to do that later this week.

So, I won't go into a long dissertation about Lobo, right now.

Suffice to say, for the moment, that this guy who looks like the love child of Gene Simmons and Arnold Schwartzenegger was a poke at all of the grim, ultra-violent comic book characters that were the trend in the Reagan Era.

And he was just so hilariously wrong on so many levels!

I'll catch you up later.

In the meantime, The Curmudgeon's thoughts are with Roger and his family. I hope he comes out alright on the other end.

I hope that they find the hit-and-run driver who is responsible.

And, that little part of me that is compassionate hopes that the LAPD finds him before Lobo does. Because, believe me, that would be ugly!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Probably, Sadly, My Last Rock Bottom Remainders Post

Here is the Hollywood Reporter's review of the final RBR show.

The Blog is seriously bummed that he did not attend the final show.

The Blog never got to see the Remainders perform with "Big Steve" King.

A story....

The first time that The Blog worked with RBR keyboardist and Elvis impersonator Mitch Albom ("Tuesdays With Morrie") he told Mitch that he loved seeing him perform with RBR.

His response was, "Oh no! That means you have seen me do my Elvis bit!"

Yes. Yes he did! And it was awesome!

So, you can bet that the next time The Blog sees Mitch, and every time after that,  he will give Mitch a shitload of grief about the need for an RBR reunion tour.

I will not give up on this! That's a promise!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

RBR Update

A couple of posts back. The Blog stated, confidently, that he would be attending the final public performance of The Rock Bottom Remainders.

Sadly, it is not to be.

By the time The Blog got the details, the show was virtually sold out.

(At the risk of sounding insensitive, The Blog's inside connection up and died before she could email send him the details.)

(RIP KKG! You are missed already!)

But, if any of my bloglitts want to catch the show, there are still some $40, standing room only tickets available. (The Blog is too damned old for SRO tickets!) And some expensive, $200, "meet and greet tickets". (That The Blog just can't afford.)

The Blog will spend the evening watching The Remainders on YouTube.

The PC Review: The Addams Family

As The Blog mentioned, *ahem* in passing, a few posts back, Mrs. Blog and I spent last Sunday at Hollywood's Pantages Theater, attending a performance of the Broadway musical "The Addams Family."

If you haven't read that post, you will find it here....

Go! Catch up so I don't have to repeat myself.

Now I hear you asking, "So, Uncle PC? Did you like it?"

And I answer, "Yeah. I liked it! I liked it a lot!"

In fact, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

Oh, it wasn't perfect and no one would ever mistake it for "great theater." But, it was a whole lot of fun!

First, the house was packed. I don't know if it was sold out. There may have been some empty seats in the balcony, but the orchestra level was full to capacity.

The story was pretty much what I described in the earlier post.

Wednesday Addams is now a young woman and she has fallen in love with a "normal" boy. In fact, he has asked her to marry him. Now, the young man and his parents are coming for dinner.

Wednesday is played to near perfection by Cortney Wolfson (the understudy to Broadway's Wednesday) alternating between the classic Lisa Loring/Christina Ricci dower deadpan and uncharacteristic, giddy bride-to-be, at a bipolar drop of a hat.

In a plot line that, I am told, didn't exist in the Broadway production, but was added for the tour, (which is hard to imagine, as it is a major part of the story) Wednesday confides her engagement to Gomez and asks him to promise her that he won't tell Morticia until she announces it after dinner. This is a problem for the family patriarch, as he cannot conceive of the idea of ever keeping a secret from his wife.

Wednesday convinces the family to pretend to be normal at least long enough to make a good impression on her beau's conservative family.

Wednesday: You have to understand! They're from Ohio!

Gomez: Blast it! A swing state!
The pretense is kept up just long enough to be hilarious rather than a tedious "La Cage" rip-off.

But, little brother Pugsley, fearing that he will lose his beloved, torturer/sister to her new love, attempts to create mayhem, with unintended consequences.

Conflicts and epiphanies ensue. And, all is well that ends well. The curtain falls as Gomez and Morticia utter the only lines taken directly from an original Chas Addams cartoon.

Gomez: Are you unhappy, Darling?

Morticia: Oh, yes, yes! Completely!
The cast is nearly flawless.

In my earlier post, I mentioned that I thought that the Broadway casting of Nathan Lane and Bebe Newurth was, pretty much, genius. Now, having heard the original cast recording and seeing bits on YouTube and comparing it to the more or less unknown touring cast, I have to conclude that Broadway went with a cast that was, really, just commercially inevitable.

The touring cast is far superior.

I've already talked about Wednesday. So, on to the rest.

Douglas Sills as Gomez is mostly Raul Julia with just a dash of John Astin and seems to have been born for the role. (Lane seemed to strain, a bit, as a suave Latino.)

While Newurth's Morticia chewed the scenery, Sara Gettelfinger (in a plunging décolletage that defies physical law) left the "flies" (that's theater talk for scenery) sporting discreet hickeys and a wicked case of "blue balls."

Blake Hammond as Uncle Fester couldn't have channeled Jackie Coogan better if he had the help of a medium.

Pippa Pearthree's Grandmama stopped the show whenever she was on stage. A great performance aided by some of the show's funniest lines. No other version has ever made such good use of this crazy old lady!

Patrick D. Kennedy as Pugsley, the only child actor in the show, is clearly precocious beyond his years.

Martin Vidnovick, Gaelen Gililland and Brian Justin Crum played the "normal" Beineke family. I kept feeling like I was watching Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and Justin Timberlake, (Casting note to potential producers of "The Addams Family: The Musical" movie!)

And then there is Tom Corbeil as Lurch. Oh man. Impossibly tall and lanky. Cadaverous and deadpan.  An opera singer by profession who translates Ted Cassidy's mournful moans into weird arias. A bit disconcerting, at first. But, with a surprise payoff at the finale that makes it all make sense.

And never fear! Thing and Cousin Itt are on board, if only as cameos. Admittedly, Thing, being nothing but a hand, doesn't lend itself to the large stage, but it's small part is welcomed.

(HA! Thing... lends... a hand! The Blog just amused himself! HA!)

Note to future productions.... Cousin Itt's brief, romantic pursuit of an errant curtain tassel could easily be expanded to a much larger running gag. A la "Ice Age's" Scrat and acorn or Pepe Le Pew and cat. Think about it. You're welcome.

And speaking of curtains...

The red velvet stage curtain should be credited as a cast member. (You will just have to see the show to understand that.)

I should mention the music.

Meh. It did the job. Just enough of the original TV theme to keep me happy. *snap, snap* But, your Blog is in no danger of waking up one morning with any of the show's songs stuck in his head. Which is too bad, because he needs to find something to dislodge every note of "American Idiot" from his current internal soundtrack!

If you live in Southern California, it's probably too late for you to see the show. (But, don't worry. The Blog has discovered that touring shows tend to come back to other SoCal venues for a year or two after their main appearance.)

If you live somewhere else, go see it when it comes to your town!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Finally... Class Picnic: Part Two

So, last Friday was "The Class Picnic."

Now, let me be clear. This was not an official, school sanctioned, end of the year celebration planned by Mrs. Blog for her class. This was a picnic planned by her student's parents to show their appreciation for their children's teacher.

Allow me a brief digression...

We are currently living in a culture in America, where there are few professions shown less respect by Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, politicians, pundits and the media, than public school teachers. The Blog does not believe that at any time in America's history, public school teachers have been demonized the way they are today. They are regularly portrayed as incompetent, lazy and greedy.

A recent "Mallard Fillmore" comic strip (The Blog's favorite right-wing, asshole, cartoon duck) suggested that (I paraphrase) "If you graduate college with the equivalent of a 2nd grade education, you are well qualified to be a 1st grade teacher."

Oh, and let's not forget the subtext that teacher's unions are sanctuaries for pedophiles.

... End digression.

Mrs. Blog has been teaching the same Pre-Kindergarden program in the same school for 25 years. And, for most of those years, the end of the school year has always meant some sort of parent planned show of appreciation, respect and love for Teacher.

A party in the classroom, usually. Gifts, usually a nice plaque with all the kid's names on it, flowers, a gift card to a nice restaurant.

I think that the picnic was a first. But, I'm getting to that.

The thing that really touches your old Uncle PC is that he, "Mr. Teacher," if you will, is often included in the appreciation.

I don't like to "toot my own horn" here on the blog. (That's what Facebook is for.) But, I am going to make an exception now.

All teachers will tell you that, in one way or ten others, a teacher's spouse is a major contributor to the teacher's ability to do their job.

Whether it's putting up with piles of homework on the dining room table, making dinner because the teacher has another four hours of work to be done for the class after she gets home from work, or knowing that he will never put a car in the garage because it is a storage unit for all of the stuff that will be used in the classroom throughout the year.

(The Blog is being gender specific, here, because that is how it is in his house. I'm sure that it works the same when the genders are reversed.)

And, if the spouse happens to be more artistically inclined than the teacher, or more adept at using a computer, well, then the teacher's spouse is going to be contributing a lot to his spouse's teaching environment, without a District paycheck.

Another digression...

Have you ever wondered why The Blog posts so late at night? Did you think that he is just sitting on the computer, surfing the web, trolling Facebook and, eventually, getting enough scotch into his system to vomit words onto his blog?

Well, as far as it goes, you would be right.

But, he is multi-tasking.

As I write this, there are photos of the class "culmination" (the school district prefers to save the term "graduation" for those who make it through high school) are being printed out for the parents, and will be printing for another hour or so.

... End digression #2.

So, when the parents actually recognize the contribution that "Mr. Teacher" makes to their child's education, well, that's pretty damned special to him!

(Seriously, when was the last time you thanked your kid's teacher's spouse for all that he has done?)

Now, about this picnic...

The word "picnic" suggests hot dogs, watermelon and juice boxes.

This picnic was more like a banquet!

A full blown, Mexican style fiesta.

Any meat that you could put on a BBQ was there! Corn on the cob, frijoles (Sanora and refried), rice, strawberry agua fresca, salsa and tortillas, and yes, hot dogs and watermelon.


And all for "Teacher" and "Mr. Teacher."

(Also, hugs and "thank you-s.")

Did I mention in "Part One" that my wife's school is in South Central Los Angeles?

Even people who don't live in Southern California know that that is code for "the ghetto or the barrio."

Yes, Mrs. Blog's students are poor. Not the poorest of the poor. But, the "working poor." The moms and dads all work a job or three to feed, house and clothe their families. They buy clothes at the local thrift stores and "off brand" groceries at the little neighborhood markets that freckle the downtown neighborhoods. (I find it interesting that the only place that "Mom & Pop" businesses seem to continue to thrive are in the poor neighborhoods.) Virtually all receive some kind of government assistance or another.

And yet, every year, they pool their resources to show their appreciation for the people who educate their children.

One last digression....

In a school system that has an alarming number of drop-outs and a depressing number of graduates who never leave "the barrio," 98% of the kids who began school in my wife's class graduated high school. 60% graduated from college. My wife has been visited or received letters from former students who are now attorneys, entrepreneurs, and yes, teachers. One former student (now an elementary school teacher herself,) named her second child after my wife. (If you ever run across a Mexican-American child named Barbara, you will have found her!)

.... End last digression.

Sure, there are a few out there who fit the description of "entitled." A few who think that they and theirs should be taken care of by the government. For every one of them, there are 50 who don't fit that mold. (You want to know about entitled parents? Talk to teachers in the Beverly Hills or Palos Verde school districts. They will tell you about entitled!)

There were a lot of "anchor babies" and "illegals" present at the picnic.

(The Blog would like to see the terms "anchor baby" and "illegal" relegated to the racial epithet junk heap next to their close relative "wetback" sooner than later. But, he uses them now to illustrate his point.)

Not the four and five-year-olds present, for the most part. But, their moms and dads and their grandparents.

Many of my wife's student's parents today were my wife's students 20 to 25 years ago. Back then, it was pretty much a given that her kid's parents were not here legally. Many of the kids were born here. Many were brought here from Mexico by their parents. In the late 1980s, most of those parents benefited from The Amnesty Act signed into law by Ronald Reagan.

But, teachers don't care about immigration or citizenship status. If a child is put in their classroom, it is the teachers job to teach them. Period.

Now, I had planned to work a rant in here about the right-wing, Tea Party, Republicans who characterize these loving, giving, hard working people as "parasites, criminals and welfare queens," and oppose the DREAM act (an act originally proposed by that radical lefty Orin Hatch back in 2003) and any sort of immigration reform that doesn't involve mass imprisonment or deportation.

I will say that the president's executive order suspending deportation under strict but fair rules is a step in the right direction.

But, screw it.

I have talked about it before and,I'm sure, I will again.

Tonight, I am just going to celebrate the people who actually appreciate the people who educate their children.

And, those educator's spouses.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

F*cking Breast Cancer!

God damn it!

Your old Uncle Curmudgeon is getting tired of writing post-mortem tributes for people he admires!

Fucking Hell!!!

But, here we go....

You have probably never heard of Kathi Kamen Goldmark. 

                                                   Kathi accompanied by some guy named Steve.

Kathi began a career in the publishing business as an "author escort." (No, it isn't what it sounds like!) She was one of those hard working people who, when an author comes to town for a book signing, personally delivers said author to wherever he/she has to be makes sure that the venue has supplied the requisite water, beer, whiskey, Sharpies and brown M&Ms. And, then sees them off to the next stop.

In the ensuing years, she worked her way up in publishing and even became a published writer, herself.

But, the most interesting turning point came for her while she was still escorting those writers.

In those days, Kathi was a budding singer/songwriter/musician. And, in conversations with the authors that she escorted, she made a discovery.

An awful lot of very famous authors are frustrated rock stars.

In 1992, Kathi had an idea. She put calls out to the author/rockers that she had met over the last few years and put together a band to play at a book convention.

If you have followed The Blog for a while, then you already know the story of The Rock Bottom Remainders. If you haven't, you can catch up here.

So I don't have to repeat myself tonight, go read that post now. I'll still be here when you get back.

You're back! Good! So, now you see just how awesome her little band is!

I didn't know Kathi well, but we had met and had nice conversations on a couple of occasions. After an RBR show here in L.A., she made damned sure that none of the band members snuck away without autographing The Blog's concert poster.

A little over a month ago, The Blog received an email from Kathi.

"Big RBR show in L.A. in late June! I'll send you the info when I have it!"

But, the info never came. By mid June, I had actually forgotten about it.

Today, Mrs. Blog asked me if I had seen the story in this morning's paper about the upcoming RBR show. I grabbed the paper and started reading. And, there in the second paragraph, came the gut-punch.

The show, this coming Friday, is going on in spite of the May 24, 2012 death of the band's founder, Kathi Kamen Goldmark.

God damn it!

Fucking Hell!!!

There is an excellent obituary here, and a pretty decent Wikipedia page here.

The Blog will be at that show on Friday. And he will raise his lighter in her memory.


Can people stop dying for a while now? Please?

The PC has other things he wants to write about.

On that note...

Coming up in the next couple of days, the promised "Class Picnic: Part Two" and a review of "The Addams Family."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another Delay

In The Blog household, there is only one person who knows their way around a computer.

That would be me.

Another member of the household needs a computer project done by Monday morning.

I'll give you a couple of hints...

The Blog Jr. does not live here anymore. And is very computer savvy, anyway.

So that leaves, The BlogDog...
And, Mrs. Blog.

So, bear with me.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sorry For the Delay

The Blog's promised post about his class picnic experience will be delayed until tomorrow night.

Got on too late tonight.


Exhausted, really.

The day went much as expected.

And then, the President went an handed The Blog a whole other layer of perspective to add to the story.

See you tomorrow night!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Class Picnic: Part One

The Blog is going to attend a "Class Picnic" tomorrow.

He would rather not.

40 four-year-olds. About as many parents. Maybe more if dads and grandparents attend. And, that is a good bet.

The Blog has mentioned in past posts that Mrs. Blog teaches a public Pre-K class. In South Central Los Angeles.

But, unlike most field trips, He is not attending because The Mrs. needs an extra adult chaperone.

Nope. He is going because the children's parents are adamant that he should attend.

So, The Blog will be there.

Past experience tells me that I will be moved, touched, and happy that I went.

And, past experience tells me that I will have a lot to write about tomorrow night. On the subject of "the poor," "the working poor," "the recipients of government assistance," "the 'entitled poor,' " and, in a few cases "the illegals."

Tune in tomorrow night.

Because, if you are a member of the "middle class," "upper middle class," or "the wealthy class..."

The Blog is willing to bet that you don't know shit about those people. And I'm going to school you!

Big time!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Television Memories Lost

Talking about The Addams Family got the old Curmudgeon thinking about the television shows that he grew up with.

When The Blog was a mere blogling, he could have, charitably, been thought of as a television addict. From the time I got home from school until the time I went to bed, I was absorbing cathode rays.

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. Dinner time, homework time and, in my teens, a job, took me away from the "small screen."

But, in an era before VCRs and DVRs, all of my favorite shows were "appointment TV." I planned my schedule around television. If an episode was missed, you had to wait until summer reruns. And if you missed that, you would have to wait until the show went into afternoon syndication.

It's no real surprise that I wound up with a career in the television industry.

About a year ago, The Blog became the last person in America to, finally, hook up a Tivo.

And, what a gem Tivo (and it's more generic DVR siblings) is (are)!

The Blog hardly ever watches "live" TV anymore. He, mostly, wastes his weekends  catching up on the previous week's shows.

But, Tivo has brought with it, what the political talking heads call "unintended consequences."

You see, when I first started programing the Tivo, I threw in a bunch of show titles from my distant past. Favorite shows of the 1960s and '70s. What a wonderful trip down Memory Lane that would be!



What Tivo has really shown me is, God Damn! Most of the TV I loved as a kid was seriously God-awful!

Not all of it.
All In the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, (In fact, everything that came out of MTM Productions) and WKRP In Cincinnati are as great today as they were when they first aired. (Bad 1970s fashion not withstanding.)

But, oh, so much of the rest.

The little Blog loved The Monkees. And today, I will tell you that the music that they made was unfairly underrated back then. It has taken decades for the music of The Monkees to get the respect that it deserves. And, considering that that music was written by some of the greatest musical talents of the time, the music deserves respect.

But, Holy Shit! What an awful show. The Blog would be amazed if he learned that more than $15 was spent producing an episode! Ridiculous plots, awful dialogue. But, produced and directed by directing greats like Bob Rafelson!

Hogan's Heroes was a favorite. And, the sordid facts about Bob Crane's personal life aside, an absolutely charming cast. But, WOW! Vaudevillian dialogue, wildly improbable plots and, really, just not funny. (No matter what the laugh track tried to tell us!) An actual slap in the face of anyone who survived the Holocaust or fought in the war.

The worst insult to The Blog's nostalgia trip?

The Partridge Family.

Back in the day, your old PC wanted to be Keith Partridge. He wanted to make-out with Laurie and be BFFs with Danny.

So, watching the show decades later was a bit of a punch to the groin. As a 50 something year old, I found myself wanting to slap the whiney, self-absorbed, precociousness out of all three of them.

I now find myself relating to Rueben Kincaid. That poor, long suffering bastard.

(Okay, I admit that I still like their music, too. Not as awesome as The Monkees and 98% more Milli Vanilli. But, I  make no apologies.)

One more thing. And this will be heresy to many....

I Love Lucy, which was already 15 years old and in syndication by the time the young Blog was first brought to tears of laughter by the exploits of Lucy and Ethel, and is now, still being syndicated, is 95% awful.

There. I said it.

Sure, there are a few iconic moments. The chocolate factory. Wine stomping. The encounter with William Holden.


But, the rest? None of it comes even close to Mary Richards at Chuckles the Clown's funeral. Or WKRP's Thanksgiving turkey fiasco.

The bottom line?

Today's television, (The Jersey Shore, Big Brother and The Real Housewives of Anywhere aside,) is so much better than the "Golden and Silver Ages" ever were.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Addams Family

This weekend, Mrs. Blog and I will be making the trek to Hollywood's Pantages Theater to see the national touring company of the Broadway musical The Addams Family.

The Blog admits that he is looking forward to this with some trepidation. Here's why.

The Addams Family is one of those iconic things from The Blog's youth that they had just better not fuck up.

"Re-imagine" The Munsters all you want. That's what one of the networks, can't recall which one, (ABC, maybe?) is going to do next season with the intriguing Mockingbird Lane. Hey! What the fuck?! Bryan Singer (House, M.D. and X-Men) and Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) are involved. So it has to be cool. Right? And, while The Blog loved the sitcom story of the Frankenstein monster and his suburban family, it was just not even close to as hip as The Addams clan.

(Breaking news.... Jerry O'Connell has just been cast as Herman Munster in the new series. Yep! It keeps getting cooler!)

Your old Uncle PC loved The Addams Family. Still does. Not just the 1960's sitcom, but the original cartoons from the New Yorker magazine by Chas. Addams that inspired the show. By the time I was 13-years-old, I owned every compilation of the original cartoons that had ever been published.

Dark. Subversive. Totally wrong. And, hilariously funny!

Now, I've got to tell you. The Addams Family movies starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Houston, Christopher Lloyd and Christian Ricci were brilliant. Better, even, than the sitcom.

(Full disclosure... FotB (Friend of the Blog) John Franklin (Children of the Corn's ubber creepy "Isaac" played the movie's "Cousin Itt." John! I hope that you will "ego search" yourself on Google and find this post. Check in, dude!)

(The Blog loves that the TV show he currently works on is shot on the very sound stage that those movies were filmed on!)

And a Saturday morning, animated version made in the '90s was pretty good. 

But, there have been some clunkers.

The third movie, Addams Family Reunion, shot after Raul Julia's passing, went straight to DVD. The Blog has never seen it, but, seriously, it went straight to DVD.

Know what I mean?

(Okay, so Tim Curry plays Gomez and Daryl Hannah is Morticia. The Blog may have to put it in his Netflix cue. Because that does, actually, sound pretty awesome!)

According to IMDb, there was a late 1990s series called The New Addams Family, a Canadian production that starred people no one has ever heard of. Evidently, it ran for 65 episodes on "Fox Family" before Disney bought them out. That's, HOLLY SHIT, three seasons! I've never heard of it. An IMDb review says it was "not that bad." So, maybe The Blog will have to check it out.

But, let's go back to the 1970s.

That decade brought us a Saturday morning animated series that put the family in a haunted, Victorian style RV and had them crossing the country learning lessons about the environment. (in the 1970s, all Saturday morning cartoons had to teach a lesson. Goddamn! The '70s were an awful time for cartoon entertainment!) On the plus side, most of the original TV series cast provided the voices.

Here is a stunning bit of trivia for you...

Ken Weatherwax, the original Puglsey Addams, reprised his role for an "unknown" number of episodes. For the rest if the episodes, the voice of Pugsley was provided by the past and future Oscar winner Jodie Foster!

Go ahead! Win a few bar bets with that bit of knowledge!

The Broadway production of The Addams Family musical was savaged by the critics. The reviews were toxic! Audiences disagreed. For nearly two years, the show played mostly sold out shows. The Blog doesn't really care how bad the show may have been. Nathan Lane as Gomez and Bebe Neuerth as Morticia? Priceless!

The touring show made some substantial changes to the music and plot line. The current reviews are tepid to, sort of, positive. So, that may be okay, As long as I am entertained for my nearly $100 per ticked cost, I'm cool with that.

Here is what I know about the show, going into it...

The now grown up Wednesday Addams has fallen in love with a "normal" boy from Ohio. The boy's ultra-conservative parents are coming to dinner to meet "The Family."

Where have I heard this plot before?

Oh. Right. This is basically, what we action figure collecting nerds would call a "repaint."

La Cage au Folles, anyone? La Cage au Bats. maybe?

Fine. As long as I am entertained for two hours, I'm okay with that.

Here is The Blog's point.

No matter how off base, no matter how not good the production may be...

The Blog witnessed the absolutely worst version of The Addams Family that ever went down. A single episode of a show, (presumably a failed pilot. Further research confirms this assumption,) so obscure that even IMDb has no listing for it. A show so "what were they smoking?"  bad that it makes The Brady Bunch Variety Hour seem like great television.

It was called The Addams Family Fun House.

(Since The Blog wrote the above, He put on his "investigative journalist's" hat and did a Google search. Because, frankly, The Blog started thinking, "It was the late '70s. Maybe it was a question of what I was smoking?" In the vast world of the internets, Google found exactly two references to this abortion of a show. One was a question on a message board. Some collector looking for a video of this pilot. Either an Addams completist or a total masochist. The other, a passing paragraph on the Palely Center's website that confirms that the pilot actually existed. God bless the kids at the Palely Center. A bunch of disturbingly damaged television addicts who found a way to turn their television obsession into a paycheck and an academic endeavor. Not one of the cast members lists it on their resumé, Not even Butch Patrick (see the next paragraph) who, let's be honest, post Munsters, has had a career that has, mostly, consisted of being "the guy who used to be Eddie Munster." )

The Addams Family Funhouse starred Jack Riley (The Bob Newhart Show's "Mr. Carlin") as Gomez, Liz Torres (a '70s television character actress staple) as Morticia,  a bizarrely cast Pat McCormack who, besides being tall, looked nothing like the Karloffian Lurch as... well... Lurch. And, in one of the weirdest bits of stunt casting ever, the by then adult "Eddie Munster", Butch Patrick, as Pugsley. (Great minds think alike. The Palely site called Butch Patrick's casting as Pugsley "bizarre.")

Even the Paley site doesn't mentioned that the pilot actually aired at some point. But, it did. The Blog actually saw it.

In a nutshell, this God-awfull pilot played like The Addams Family meets Laugh-In as written by a bunch of borscht belt comics. There was even a Laugh -In style "dance party" interrupted by lame one-liners.

So, I don't know how bad The Addams Family: The Musical can be. But, it can't be as emotionally scarring as The Addams Family Fun House was.

All kidding aside.... A quick "shout out" to the folks at The Paley Center for Media.
What an amazing resource they have compiled! The Blog predicts that he is going to waste spend a lot of time on their incredible site!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Passing of a Major Influence In The Blog's Life

As many of you know, I am a great admirer of public school teachers.

 I come from a family that is loaded with them, current and retired. My mom was a teacher, my sisters are or have been teachers. My wife is a teacher and my son is currently getting his teaching degree.

I had a lot of good teachers when I was in school. I probably drove a few of them to drink. I had a handful of great teachers. The ones who "got" me and had the skill and patience to not just teach me, but to guide me.

And then, there was Robert Bolen.

During the course of my public school years, Mr. Bolen was, I believe, my teacher for more individual classes than any other single teacher.

When I was in elementary and junior high, he taught the summer school drama and film classes that I took every summer. In high school, he was often my english teacher, and my drama teacher. He was my director in numerous school plays and a couple of community theater productions. He taught me how to use a movie camera, shoot "stop motion" animation, and he took me (and the rest of my class) to my first Shakespeare play. ("The Merchant of Venice" at The Cleveland Playhouse.) Several years after I graduated, I pitched an idea to him for a play that I was writing (an adaptation of "Night of the Living Dead") that I wanted to direct at the new community theater that he was overseeing. He "green-lighted" the idea. I was accepted to make-up school in Hollywood a month later, so the show never happened. But, I have always appreciated the confidence that he had in me!

And, most importantly, he was the first adult (maybe the only one) who never once looked at me like I was insane when I expressed an interest in pursuing a career in show business.


I have just learned that Mr. Bolen passed away yesterday at the age of 85. 

Robert "Bob" Bolen's passing leaves an empty space in the world. He will be deeply missed by countless people.

Longtime Avon Lake Cable Host, Robert "Bob" Bolen, Passes Away

Friday, June 8, 2012

Is Rock of Ages a Time Travel Movie?

In the last week or so, every other billboard, bus ad and bus stop ad, have been pushing the upcoming movie "Rock of Ages."

Now, The Blog and Mrs. Blog saw the touring company of this Broadway "juke box" musical about a year ago. It starred the charismatic Greek kid from "American Idol" Constantine something.

(The Blog is as straight as a brand new, wooden ruler. But, he is confident enough in his masculinity to admit that, "Damn! That kid is cute! I totally get it!" The Blog would, absolutely, be down with some "sexy time" with him. Or, at least a completely hetero three way with him and, I don't know, Angelina  or Gwyneth. But, maybe that is TMI.)

 But, I digress...

The story takes place in the mid-1980s. (aka, "The Reagan Era.") "The Man" is trying to take down Rock and Roll on Hollywood's Sunset Blvd.

It was trite, but entertaining. While '80s music, for the most part, sucked donkey scrotum, just enough good music came out of the era to make the show worthwhile. The show gets just enough of Journey, Twisted Sister and Joan Jett right to make it a good time, musically. (The show also takes a dead on swipe at "boy bands" that is priceless!)

So, call me crazy. Call me a hopeless "fanboy." Call me, "disturbingly OCD." But, here is the thing that is driving me nuts!

In the ubiquitous print ads/ billboards, Alec Baldwin is wearing a KISS t-shirt. The Blog (an unapologetic KISS fan) loves that!

But, here is the problem....

The t-shirt in question is chronologically wrong by a decade!

In the fall of 1983, about one month before The Blog married Mrs. Blog, KISS took off their make-up and abandoned their spandex and chrome costumes. And Peter Criss and Ace Frehley had left the band.

"So what?" you ask.

"I'll tell you what," I answer.

The t-shirt worn, in the ads, by Alec Baldwin, is from the 1996 reunion tour. Make-up back on, Pete and Ace back with the band. The t-shirt in the ad is from that tour. The concert that was The Blog Jr.'s first KISS show.

The Blog actually owns one of these shirts. So does The Blog jr.

I know.

Given the state of today's America, where billionaire donors are buying our government and women, gays and minorities are being regulated into second class citizenship and unions are being demonized, this is just petty bullshit.

But, as a television and film guy, this is just one of those stupid little things that makes me crazy.

That's all.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Sweet and Uplifting Blog You Should Check Out

My dear friend "T" shared this blog, by a friend of hers, with me and I want to pass it along. In a world of Hollywood train wrecks and celebretards, this blog celebrating "Celebrities' Random Acts of Kindness" is a bit of sweet fresh air.  The Blog says, "Check it out!

Celebrity Good Deeds

Maybe by sharing this, I will even out my own karma for this blog that is filled with so much dark humored vitriol!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Answering a Tired Meme (No Humor Here, Tonight. Sorry.)

The following has been making the Facebook rounds for the better part of this year or so.

It began circulating in the run up to the last Republican Congress created debt ceiling debacle, near miss. You may remember. The one where Congressional Republicans were willing to shit-can the good credit of The United States of America  just to make an ideological point?

The game of chicken in which they, ultimately, blinked and raised the ceiling, as Congresses before them had done, without controversy, every year, for the last century?

And, even after they relented and did the right thing, the drama that they stirred up still succeeded in getting the county's credit rating knocked down from AAA to AA-.

Yeah. You remember.

Well, we are fast approaching the next debt ceiling vote and it's deja vu all over again. And, the above meme has resurfaced.

And, talk about bipartisan! The Blog's friends on both sides of the aisle are posting and sharing this!

Right and Left.

Conservative and Liberal.

Republican and Democrat.

Tea-bagger and Occupier.

So, let your old Uncle PC break it down for you.

It is true that, before the last debt ceiling vote, President Obama did indeed suggest that if the ceiling wasn't raised, he would not guarantee that Social Security checks would go out.

And the truth is that the POTUS was, to put it nicely, indulging in a bit of hyperbole. Or, if you prefer I be less "politically correct," he was shoveling bullshit.

The fact is, Social Security and Medicare funds are "sequestered." Debt ceiling raise or not, SS and Medicare can not be touched.

Soldier's pay? Well... that's another story.

So, why would the president, (or as The Blog likes to call him, "Barry,") make such a statement?

It's simple really.

Because the average Social Security and Medicare collecting tea-bag wearing folks don't give two shits about solder's pay. And, they can't even count the number of fucks they don't give about Congress' pay.

The "scare tactic" used by the POTUS was designed solely to grab the attention of the low information, Fox "News" watching masses, smack them into their senses and try to make them understand that not raising the debt ceiling is a very, very bad thing for the country.

Sure, withholding Congress' pay until the mess is worked out is a great goddamn idea! The Blog is totally behind it!

But, who are we kidding? The Congress would have to approve a measure like that. And that ain't happening. They would rather not pay soldiers.

Or... BTW... the Social Security and Medicare staffs.

The people who make sure that those checks go out.

Get it?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bumper Stickers? This Guy Don't Need No Stinking Bumper Stickers!

The Blog has done several posts about the weird-ass bumper stickers that he runs across. It's all in fun. Good for a few laughs.

But, The Blog's bumper sticker collection pales in the presence of this fixture of the Los Angeles South Bay.
Thanks to sheer, dumb luck intensive, investigative journalism, The Blog finally caught this guy's low budget Macy's Parade Float on his crap-cam.
Some call it "Obama Derangement Syndrome." But, the official medical term is, "Bat Shit, Looney Tunes, Whack-a-Doodle."

This freak show didn't merely rise out of the firmament a week after the dark skinned guy with the funny name was elected president.

Oh, no.

During the first decade of the 21st Century, This same truck, complete with the fake (I hope!) missiles poised at the front, displayed pro-Bush, pro-war, anti-Iraq and anti-muslim sentiments.

This anti-Obama version is what we nerdy, super hero action figure collectors call a "repaint."

(For the record, The Blog is pretty, politically informed. But, he has no clue who this "Gary DeLong for Congress" person is. I'm guessing that there are teabags involved.)

The Blog has said it before, and he will say it again.

You have the right, neigh, a responsibility, to stand for whatever ideological position that you like.

But, to make this sort of commitment to that ideology, well, that's just nutzo-cuckoo!

And besides questioning the general mental health of the owner of this vehicle (and his wife. The Blog has seen a woman, as well as the male who usually drives it around, uhm, also driving it around. As The Blog's boss likes to say, "There is a lid  for every pot.") The Blog also wonders about the aerodynamic drag that all of this crap puts on the truck, and how it affects the gas mileage on the vehicle, considering "Obama's failed energy policies."

Really, this is all just one big WTF?!