Thursday, May 29, 2014

Music and the Generation Gap

"That's not music. That's just noise."

Said every parent to their kids.

Your Blog has noticed, because he has a kid who represents today's youth, that that musical generation gap is much narrower than it was a generation ago.

When The Blog Jr. was around 6 or 7, Your Blog overheard his son, standing in the driveway, loudly singing...

"Ice ice baby Ice Ice baby All right stop collaborate and listen..."

Your Blog, alarmed, dragged the Blog Jr. into the house by his ear and introduced him to Queen and David Bowie.

A moment of parental responsibility that, I like to think, changed The Blog Jr.'s life, forever.

The Blog Jr. became a fan of Freddie Mercury and Company, to the point that I dreaded the day that I would have to tell him that Freddie had died of complications from AIDS.

As it turned out, it was never an issue. Because my kid grew up to be awesome.

For more than a year, The Blog Jr. used "Queen's Greatest Hits" to lullaby him to sleep.

It seems weird, in retrospect, that the bombast of Queen would lull a kid to sleep, but not as weird as the fact that he, later, preferred The Ramones punk rock, "Beat on the Brat" and "Sedated" for his bedtime music.

So, what am I talking about?

Oh, yeah.

The musical generation gap between my generation and my parent's.

My parents wrote off most of my generation's music as crap devoted solely to sex and drugs.

And, for the most part, they were probably right.

KISS' "Love Gun" was, without a doubt, a concept album dedicated to Gene Simmons' and/or Paul Stanley's penis.

The Village People's "YMCA" was certainly a nod to the "homosexual agenda."

Never mind that "YMCA" is a staple of every straight wedding reception.

Was James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" a song about drugs?

Who knows?

Was John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" about drugs?

Oh, please.

Which brings us to this...

Funny thing...

When I was a teen, the adults around me insisted that this song was about drugs. One drug, specifically.

As a teen, I argued the official line. "No! It's not about LSD. It was inspired by a picture that young Julian Lennon drew of his elementary school crush, Lucy."

As an adult, I looked back and thought, "Phfft! Of course it was about LSD. Could it be more obvious?"

Turns out...

Lucy is real and really was Julian's school boy crush, and the crayon drawing really exists. (You can Google it, but there are so many related images on line that finding it is a bit of a needle in a haystack.)

So, the official story is, in fact, a fact.

"Plasticine porters, looking glass ties, marshmallow pies and kaleidoscope eyes?"

Yeahhh. Kind of hallucinogenic.

Parents vs. Rock. On this one... a draw.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Enjoy your long weekend.

Barbecue something and have a beer on me.

And while you are at it, take a few moments to remember what Memorial Day is all about.

If you need some help, take a listen to this from the official folk singing, political satirist of The PC Blog...

                                                                   Roy Zimmerman.

Fair warning. Roy is usually funny.

Not so much, this time.

On a semi-related note...

My next door neighbor to the east...

Not the teabagging, lawn mower who hates the Liberalism while living off his wife's disability check, unemployment benefits and off-the-grid lawn mowing income, to my west...

But, the Army National Guard Master Sergeant, the highest ranking non-com officer in the state of California, who, after his stint during the first Gulf War, got dragged back to Falluja for not one, not two, but three tours of duty for Dubbya's war, followed by a prestigious office job in Sacramento for the last two years...

Has finally, officially, retired.

Over the last ten weeks, he has remodeled his living room, reframed his front door and windows and...

This week, began installing solar panels on his roof.

So, from this Blog to him, on this Memorial Day weekend, a great big salute.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Blog Scoops the Internet

No post of substance tonight.

Just stopping by to gloat for a minute.

Last night, Your Blog got all excited about a brief glimpse of a new, but very old school, character from the new "Star Wars" movie.

                                       Today, the whole internet is buzzing about this guy.

For once, your Uncle PC landed ahead of the curve, instead of his usual day or six behind.

Indulge me while I take a "You heard it here first," victory lap.

A Force for Change

Can you stand one more Star Wars post?


Tough. It's my blog. I'll post what I want.

Early this morning, (or maybe late last night,) J.J. Abrams posted a video from the Abu Dhabi location where the new Star Wars is filming to the YouTube™, and it is cool on a number of levels.

Go watch it now. I'll be here when you get back.

Did you take it all in?

The video's message was, "A cool contest for a good cause."


But, did you get the sub-text? The parts that I got excited about?

Point #1.) Star Wars: Episode VII is actually in production, right now.

Point #2.) They are on location at an actual desert location. Not a green screen studio at Pinewood. (That will happen later, but not yet.)

Point #3.)

                                            That, my friends, is some old school Star Wars.

I've got a good feeling about this.

While your Blog has his nerd hat on...

A few days ago, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" director Zack Snyder leaked a black and white Instagram pic of Ben Affleck in the new Batsuit. And it's a beauty.

Appropriately based on the Frank Miller, Klaus Janson design from their 1986 graphic novel, "The Dark Knight Returns," where Batman and Superman waged an epic smackdown.

Did I mention the movie's title? Yes I did.

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."

Just announced today.

Officially confirming the rumor that this movie, which will also feature Cyborg and (finally!) Wonder Woman, is a launch point for the long awaited "Justice League" movie.

It's too soon to speculate about the "J.L." movie, but your Blog is hoping that it will include late '80s members Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner and Lobo.

Bottom line...

Today, May 21st, 2014...

While Luke Skywalker and company are back in action on the other side of the world, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg have begun filming in Detroit.

In the meantime, John Constantine, The Flash and Gotham City babies are heading to our teevee screens.

It is a good time to be a nerd.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cleveland Rocks: Bonus Post

While researching info about Murray Saul on the day of his passing, I ran across a couple more bits of late '70s Cleveland nostalgia. Here is a double dose...

Ian Hunter's "Cleveland Rocks" at The Agora Ballroom, no less! 

How about Alex Bevan's "Skinny Little Boy?" 

The Euclid Beach Band's "No Surf in Cleveland." 

And, don't forget Willio and Phillio!


Here is something crazy that your Blog just learned about Willio and Phillio.

(If you are not a late '70s Clevelander, you probably won't care, but here it is anyway.)

Here is what I did know. 

Not long after they achieved success in Cleveland, Will Ryan and Phil Baron took off to Hollywood to work for Disney. They did a couple of records for Disney with the likes of Donald Duck and went on to voice characters for the Disney Channel. 

Phil went on to produce Disney Channel shows while Will continued to do voices. 

To this day, you will find Will Ryan's name in the voice credits of Disney movies. 

Here is what I just learned that blew my mind...

Phil Baron was the voice of that creepy robotic bear Teddy Ruxpin and Will Ryan was the voice if Teddy's cartoon sidekick "Grubby." 

Who knew? 

Back to what I did know...

As I said, Will Ryan still makes a good living doing cartoon voices for Disney and others. 

Phil Baron, for the last decade or so, has been a cantor at Valley Beth Shalom temple in Los Angeles. 

Will and Phil still collaborate, occasionally. 

A few years ago, the director of the "Hellboy" animated movies reached out to Willio and Phillio to provide music for the soundtracks. And they obliged. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Murray Saul Gets Down

North East Ohioans of a certain age lost a Cleveland radio icon today.

Murray Saul began his years at WMMS 100.7 FM ("The Home of the Buzzard.") in the station's sales department. Before long he became their Director of News and Public Affairs. He was the face and voice of seriousness at the 1970's album rock station.

On Sunday mornings, he would spend several hours (after "Breakfast with The Beatles,") hosting interviews and discussions with local and state politicians and movers and shakers, all with the gravitas that that came with the job.

But on Friday afternoons, just before 6:00 PM, Murray drank some of Dr. Jeckyl's potion and transformed into a different Murray Saul.

As the strains of Springsteen's "Born to Run" faded, Murray would take the mic and begin to growl. And over the next five minutes that growl would grow into a rabid, ferocious rant about school, work, teachers, bosses and all those things that made the previous week a grind.

As his howl reached a crescendo that would make Wolfman Jack say, "Hey Man, cool it a bit..."

As he would froth to a point where we could almost feel the spit come through the radio speakers...

He would launch into his trademark catch phrase...
"We gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta, Gotta, GOTTA..................

......... GET DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Cue station I.D.

Follow with "Friday on My Mind" and "Cleveland Rocks...."

And with that, the weekend had been officially rung in.

For so many of us, it was a Friday night tradition. 

One Friday night, sometime around 1980, the "ring in" didn't happen. No Bruce Springsteen, no Ian Hunter. And no Murray. Just the usual Friday night station I.D. ("WMMS. Where the weekend never ends.")

"Why?" was never confirmed. Rumor had it that Murray was feeling that, after so many years, it had run it's course.

But, the faithful were not having it. The station's switchboard was deluged with calls.

"How are we supposed to start our weekend without Murray ringing it in?"

AT 6:00 PM  the following Saturday night, a momentarily contrite Murray took the mic (on his day off,) and made things right. He never missed another Friday until WMMS shifted to a Top 40 format in the mid '80s.

Murray Saul got down one last time, today. He was 84.

You can listen to an example of one of his early rants, here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Episode III: Return of the Franchise

Your Blog is bummed. But, he has no one to blame but himself.

After nearly a week of not posting caused by one part "shit that I had no control over," and two parts "lazy procrastination..."

The PC's thoughts about what recent developments in the "Star Wars" galaxy mean for the not too distant future of the franchise, with one specific bit of "you heard it here first" prognostication, sort of slipped into the category of "old news."

Let's get the that one out of the way...

Based on comments on The Blog's Facebook page, and elsewhere, there seems to be a huge demand for a DVD / Blu-Ray release of the original, non- "Special Edition" (aka: not fucked around with, digitally,) versions of the original three movies.

The Great Blogoni was going to put on his turban and call on the spirits of The Force and predict that the folks at Disney's marketing arm, who have a long history of understanding that keeping an "in demand" property "in the vault" until demand has reached a fever pitch, will release the much desired, un-messed with versions of Episodes IV, V and VI sometime between now and the December 2015 release of Episode VII. I would have told you that you could take this prediction to the bank.

But, those know-it-all jerks over at The Nerdist had to go and beat Your Blog to the punch.

So fine.

I have said all I am going to say about that. If you want to read more, click on over to The Nerdist and read their story. It's fine. See if I care. But, remember, I was thinking it a week ago.

Oh, you're still here? You came back? That's nice. I knew you loved me more.

In your face, Chris Hardwick!

Okay, since you are still here, I will finish my thoughts, just for you. 

By now, you must know that the main cast members of the original trilogy are all returning for Episode VII.

(And if you didn't know, you probably don't care. You are welcome to read on, but I won't hold it against you if you skip the rest of this post and come back tomorrow for something about politics.)

Recent revelations tell us that, while the return of the original cast was only announced a week ago, via this Twitter™ pic...

Commitments from all were secured by George Lucas before the sale to Disney.

We had all heard the rumors. Most of the cast remained mum, except for Carrie Fisher who just couldn't help herself.

I don't really know how I feel about the return of the main cast after 30+ years.

I mean, I'm glad. It is right and just that they are getting another crack at the roles that made them famous.

But, here is a sobering thought.

Mark (Luke Skywalker) Hamill is, today, the same age that Sir Alec Guinness was when he first played Obi Wan Kenobi.

I'll give you a minute to digest that. Because, I know.

Okay, where was I?


So really, last week's announcement wasn't really a surprise. Just a confirmation of what we already suspected.

Which doesn't mean that there were no surprises.

The biggest surprise was probably the fact that Harrison Ford, who famously hated Star Wars, hated Han Solo and begged George Lucas to let him out of his contract and let Han die in "The Empire Strikes Back," (Thus, Carbonite,) but, grudgingly returned for "Return of the Jedi," was the first original cast member to sign on for the newest movie.

Maybe I read it somewhere, or maybe I am making shit up, but maybe it was Mark or maybe it was Carrie, or both, but someone said, "Well, hell. If Harrison is on board, I certainly can't say no."

So, the big three signed on.

Here is what surprises me most.

Two returning characters, whose faces were never seen...

And could, easily be replaced by other actors or, more likely, CGI, are getting back into their costumes that double as torture devices.

Kenny Baker, at the age of 80 is, voluntarily, climbing back into the tin can known as R2D2.

Good on Disney and Lucasfilm for giving him the opportunity. But, under any other circumstance, that would have to qualify as "elder abuse."

                                                     And then there is Peter Mayhew.

As he approached his current age of 70, his knees looked back on a lifetime of carrying around his 7'3" frame, and a decade of an additional 100+ pound costume and said, "Fuck this shit. We're done!"

Your Blog has been stalking following Peter on his Facebook page for a little over a year. Peter seems like one of the sweetest, gigantic people on earth. Peter has been posting posts that seemed like nothing more than enthusiastic love for the character that earned him a comfortable life. In hindsight, I realize that he has been dropping broad hints about his return to Star Wars, not the least of which was his regular updates on his surgical knee replacements and physical therapy, leading to his appearance, this weekend, at Disney's "Star Wars Weekend," walking without his light-saber shaped cane, walker or wheelchair, demonstrating his readiness to, once more, don the heavy, hairy body of Chewbacca.  

Han Solo once advised, "Let the Wookie win."

And the Galaxy said, "Make it so."

(I know. A "Star Trek" reference. Live with it.)

So there you have it. Whatever comes next, only Disney and J.J. Abrams know.

Okay, one more prediction...

J.J. Abrams is not only a genius, he is a true believer, and the heir apparent to Lucas and Spielberg. 

(Don't believe me? Go watch "Super 8.")

And Disney does not exist in the bubble that George's Lucasfilm was living in during the last (first) chapters.

What is coming is, I believe, going to be awesome. Or, at worst, no worse than Episodes I, II and III.

We will know, soon enough.


Oh, Wait!

Back on the first post in this series, I told a, possibly apocryphal, story about Sir Alec Guinness and an encounter with a young fan.

I promised a, sort of, parallel story about Mark Hamill that I witnessed with my own eyes.

Here it is...

It was the spring of 2001.

Mark Hamill was guest starring on the show I was working on.

Mark and I had worked together one other time, ten years earlier, so we bonded quickly on this show. For a little over a week, I ate lunches with Mark, by his invitation, in his trailer while we watched episodes of "The Simpsons" that he had recorded on his new-fangled Tivo™ machine.

Which is one of my favorite "only in Hollywood" stories, but has nothing, really, to do with what I am about to tell you.

After Star Wars, Mark maintained a quiet but comfortable acting career. A lot of stage jobs and TV guest roles. But, mostly, cartoon voice jobs.

                                                  Most notably, the voice of The Joker
                                   on a couple of decades worth of animated Batman shows.

We were filming on a public street in Long Beach, CA when a woman approached Mark with a very young boy in tow.

"Look Timmy!" (or whatever,) "It's Luke Skywalker!"

Two and a half decades had passed since Mark last played Luke.

Little Timmy had probably seen the original movies via his parent's video tapes.

But, while he remained mute, his eyes communicated his opinion that the old man standing before him was not Luke Skywalker.

"Bullshit," said little Timmy's eyes.

Mark, like Sir Alec before him, dropped to one knee and looked little Timmy in the eye.

"Do you watch cartoons?" Mark asked.

Timmy nodded in the affirmative.

"Do you like Batman?" Mark asked.

Another positive nod.

"Okay, so, close your eyes and picture The Joker." Mark instructed. "Can you see him?"

Timmy nodded, again.

Mark launched into full Joker mode.

"So, Bat freak! We meet again! etc, etc."

Little Timmy's eyes flew open. His jaw dropped to his chest.

Little Timmy was in awe.

Sixteen years later, he may still be in therapy.

And, I still get goosebumps when I tell this story.

This concludes The Blog's "Star Wars Trilogy."

Up next, I don't know.

Maybe some mocking of the #OperationAmericanSpring hilarity.

Or, maybe a tribute to #Randi'sLastDay.

Check in tomorrow.

We may all be surprised.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Episode III: The PC's Commentary Strikes Back, Will Happen Tomorrow

Your Blog didn't get on line early enough to finish his Star Wars commentary.

Because, tonight was the two hour season finale of "Once Upon a Time."

Your Blog watched it on a half hour Tivo™ delay.

And, "OUaT" had more plot twists in it's last two hours than it has had during it's entire run.

Your Blog's mind is blown.

Seriously, if you have not been following "Once Upon a Time," you need to do whatever you have to do to catch up...

Netflix, YouTube, ABC VOD, whatever it takes, to catch up with the most creative show currently on television.

You need to start with the first season. Otherwise, you will be completely confused.

You have to do it. You can thank me later.

"Once Upon a Time" is a story line that plays out as if Aaron Spelling directed Disney's classics.

Like any good soap opera, villains become heroes and good guys go bad. And back again.

I love a good deconstructionist take on classic tales.

*Spoiler Alert*

Little Red Riding Hood is a "big bad," werewolf.

Rumpelstiltskin is as bad as one can be, but has a heart as golden as the straw he spins. He is also Captain Hook's reptilian nemesis, and Belle's "Beast."

Peter Pan is the "Don Corleone " of the fairy tale world. A nasty piece of work.

Captain Hook grows from villain to romantic hero.

Snow White's evil queen, step mother finds redemption, heroism and acceptance,  only to have it pulled out from under her.

And, finally...

Seriously, this is a super spoiler alert...

After the citizens of  Storybrooke defeated Oz's Wicked Witch of the East, a new villain rises for next season...

A Disney Princess, a pretty blonde who takes off her gloves to freeze whatever she touches...

... will be next season's villain to wreck havoc on the people of Storybrooke.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Judgmental Maps is a website that has been getting a lot of attention on the Facebook, lately. The site posts maps of cities, states and countries, identifying areas based on real or perceived stereotypes of the area's populations.

They are, kind of, hilarious.

The newest map hits close to home. And by home, I mean the greater Los Angeles area. The part of the world that Your Blog has lived in for 31 years.

Your PC lives in the Los Angeles South Bay. Identified on the map as "Middle Class People of Color," south of the 105. That is only semi-accurate. I would call it, "The most ethnically diverse, middle class neighborhood in America."

White, black, Latino, Asians from various countries, and likewise, various Middle Easterners.

Democrats, Republicans, Independents. Progressives and Conservatives.

A quick observation of area churches tells me that we have a lot of vaguely Baptist, store-front Christians, Seventh Day Adventists, a reasonable assortment of standard Protestants, a handful of Catholics, but not many. A fair number of Muslims. But, mysteriously, no Jews. Likewise, there are no Congregational, United Church of Christ or Unitarian churches in the area. Which strikes your Uncle PC as weird.

Atheists, like me, don't have churches. So, there is no way to gauge that population.

But, what I am trying to get at is this...

We are all neighbors. Coexisting, peacefully, side-by-side, in a small, suburban neighborhood.

We know our neighbors. Maybe not as well as we should. But more so than the current stereotype of the modern, urban suburb.

Our South Bay neighborhood, officially known as "Bodger Park" and unofficially, by long time residents and natives, as "The Maze," (because of the weirdly designed street layout,) is not only, virtually, crime free, is also the only neighborhood in Los Angeles county that did not go "underwater" during the Bush administration's real estate crash.

The area to the immediate east marked "gangs," was accurate 20 years ago. But not so much, anymore.

Mrs. Blog has been a teacher in the area just east of the 110 marked "Factories, Poor Folks, Discount Furniture and Gangs," for nearly 30 years. Mostly accurate. But, Your Blog has noticed, over the last 8 years or so, a marked improvement in the area's economy. Not a gentrification. The area has been mostly Latino for about 20 years. But a rather fast improvement in overall income in the area. My theory has been, recently, vindicated by the development of several higher end shopping centers in the area. I'm talking about major grocery chains flanked by Starbucks and Jamba Juices, etc., right across the street from those discount furniture stores.

Before I log out for the night...

A great big Happy Mother's Day, to Moms everywhere.

My sisters are Moms. My wife is a Mom. Many of my coworkers are Moms.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

And an extra special Happy Mother's Day to my own Mom...

... who "likes" my posts, whether she "gets" them or not. And has not washed my mouth out with soap, no matter how vulgar I get.

I love you, Mom!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Episode V: The Fans Strike Back

The Blog notes... This post is "Part Two" of a, probably, three part series of reminiscences, opinions and predictions, about the "Star Wars" series of movies.

No one in the galaxy devotes more energy to hating Star Wars than the people who love Star Wars.

If you love Star Wars, you know that this is true.

If you don't love Star Wars, you don't care if it's true.

And that's the point. Fans of Star Wars, especially people like me who saw the original first, have passionately taken issue with so many of the things that came after because none of the subsequent movies, cartoons, books...

                                                            ...or a Christmas Special...

...etc. had the things that made us love the original so much.

Some fans and most critics say that the second and third installments, "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," are much better movies than the first. And, I will concede that they are probably right. But, I never warmed to them the way I did that first one.

I saw the original about 30 times during it's initial release. I don't think I saw the next two, during their first runs, more than 3 times, each.

The original was, visually, pretty cutting edge in spite of a low budget. So, it was pretty cheesy even as it was spectacular. The look, unlike pretty much every sci-fi movie and TV show before it, was dusty and grimy and banged up.

John Dykstra got creative with the photographic effects, inventing new ways to make old school model and stop-motion effects look better than anything that had come before. 

Stuart Freeborn designed some spectacular main characters, while Rick Baker scoured his lab for every rubber mask he could find for background characters and the denizens of the Mos Eisley cantina.

The cast were relative unknowns. The movie's core demographic had never seen an Alec Guinness film until then. The most familiar face to an audience of Famous Monsters of Filmland readers was Hammer Film mainstay Peter Cushing who got fourth billing in spite of the smallish role of Grand Moff Tarkin.

George Lucas' story was a simple and familiar mash-up of westerns and war movies. The bad guy even wore black.

In the end, the whole thing felt like a labor of love for Lucas and everyone else involved. They did better than they should have been able to, given the budget constraints.

And, for George Lucas, it was also a pretty big career risk. Riding the cred of the success of his first and only commercial movie, "American Graffiti," if Star Wars had tanked at the box office, it may well have brought Lucas' career to a very sudden end.

"A New Hope" while a game changer, was also possibly the last movie of it's kind.

A large scale, summer popcorn movie made with little interference from studio suits and without a thought given to ancillary merchandising.

Merchandising? What merchandising?

Aside from the requisite paperback novelization, motion picture soundtrack album and a comic book adaptation, Star Wars was released without a bit of merchandise to be found.

20th Century Fox was caught so off guard in that respect that their June movie release had no, much demanded, merch anywhere near ready for the Christmas season.

That year, kids who wanted Star Wars toys for Christmas received what amounted to "action figure promissory notes" sold to desperate parents by the toy company Kenner.

And that lack of commercial savvy sums up the charm of the very first Star Wars movie.

Episodes V and VI couldn't avoid the taint of premeditated, corporate commercialism that Episode IV was innocent of.

Hell, by the time "Return of the Jedi" was made, the crew of the Millennium Falcon found themselves on a planet populated by toy store ready teddy bears.


After all these years, it just now occurs to me. In worlds filled with tauntauns, banthas, ewoks and wookies, how did Han Solo's ship come to be named after an earthling bird?

*End Digression*

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. "Lack of commercial savvy."

Even after the phenomenal success of Star Wars...

20th Century Fox...


Possibly the most insane thing that has ever happened in Hollywood.

At least until Lindsay Lohan came along.

And that is when the unthinkable happened.

Lucas, now the sole owner of the Star Wars property, screwed around with the original movie.

Embracing new technologies, George, on a technical level, essentially remade the original movies, tweaking the effects with CGI.

Unlike a lot of my fellow Star Wars fans, I don't hate George for doing that.

As an artist for hire, I can't tell you how many times I have applied my craft and watched it be committed to film or video, and wished that I had done something differently. "If only," I say to myself, "If only I could go back and make that one change, knowing what I know now."

So, I get it.

It's George's sandbox. He gets to play any way he wants to.

I wish he hadn't messed with the original. But, it was his right to do so.

I wish that the original was available, in it's original form, on DVD and Blu-Ray™.

Call me an optimist.

*Pause for laughter*

But, I suspect that hope is not lost.

I'll say more about that in "Episode III" of this little trilogy.

Which brings us to Episodes I, II and III.

If you are like me, you enjoyed seeing the back story of the rise of Darth Vader.

And, if you are like me, you are happy to watch absolutely anything that features Natalie Portman.

                                              Even when she is wearing clown make-up.

But, beyond that, what was there to like about these soulless, big budget, CGI heavy prequels?

Well, except for a really epic "Weird Al" Yankovic tune?

Yeah. Not much.

Which brings us to the bantha in the room.

Are you mad because The Walt Disney Company now owns Star Wars and the whole Lucasfilm™ catalog?

Are you pissy because J.J. Abrams, the man who rebooted Star Trek and caused this recovering Trekkie to fall off the starship, has been charged with helming the final triptych in the Star Wars saga?


I will address this further in "Episode III: The Return of the Franchise."

Can anything that is coming from Abrams and Disney be any worse than what "the creator" himself has done to the series?

Pray, tell me, how much you loved "The Phantom Menace."

                                                                        And, this guy.

Bill Nye is an Actual Science Guy

The Blog notes... Like so many projects in Hollywood, Part Two (or is it "Episode V?") of my thoughts, reminiscences, observations and predictions about "Star Wars" is being "pushed back" until tomorrow night. Until then, there is this.

Yesterday, over on the Facebook, I shared this graphic featuring my friend, (okay, professional acquaintance,) Bill Nye, laying a smack-down on a climate change denier.

One of my Facebook friends, in the comment thread, shared this from Bill Murray and "Ghostbusters."

*Seriously Apple™? TextEdit's spell check doesn't recognize "Ghostbusters?"  Are there any actual nerds working at Apple anymore?*

My Facebook friend suggested that someone should make a version of this meme with Bill Nye.

So, Your Blog, like Aladdin's Genie...

(The funny, happy, Robin Williams, Disney type. Not the creepy, "Monkey's Paw," "be careful what you wish for, because whatever you wish for is going to turn out badly and someone you love is going to die, type...)

Says, "Your wish is my command."

This is going on a t-shirt before the week is out.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Episode IV: A New Kind of Movie

The Blog notes... After a couple of false starts, this post is part one of a short series, in honor of last weekend's "Star Wars Day."

It was the summer of 1977.

My family was on an epic road trip from Ohio to California and points between. And while we were traveling, the very nature of the summer movie business was radically changing.

That change was called "Star Wars."

As a sci-fi nerd, I knew it was coming. Famous Monsters of Filmland had devoted a number of articles to the relatively low budget (as all science fiction was, in those days) film by a writer-director whose only other movie was the nostalgia-fest "American Graffiti."

During our trip, I passed the time traveling the more mundane miles of the country's flatlands by reading the paperback novelization of the movie and getting to know Luke and Leia, Han and Chewie, R2D2 and C3PO and of course, the evil Darth Vader.


My spell-check did not recognize the names "Darth" or "Vader." Just what kind of nerds do they have working at Apple?

*End Note*

With any luck, Star Wars would be successful enough that it would still be in theaters when I returned home.

The trip was major and probably worth a reminiscence at some other time.

Let's jump to my return home.

I went straight to one of my friend's houses, where I knew I would find all of my friends. (It was the 1970s, when "social networks" met in their parent's basements, in person.) I was all ready to regale my friends with tales of my recent adventures on The Left Coast.

"Welcome home! Did you have a good trip? Great! You can tell us about it later. Right now, we have to get you to the movie theater. NOW!"

And so, we went. In fact, my friends were so anxious for me to see this thing they had already seen that they bought my ticket.

The lights went down and the 20th Century Fox fanfare played. Not the short version that opened most of their movies. The full length, 23 second version. An indicator that something big was about to happen.

And if that wasn't enough...

Another fanfare. This time, the opening bars of John Williams' Wagnerian "Star Wars" theme.

I'm not gonna lie to you. To this day, that sound gives me goosebumps.

And, when combined with the 20th Century fanfare, double goosebumps.


This was not the first time I had heard the Star Wars theme. That happened two weeks earlier in a Sacramento, CA roller skating rink. A Neoclassical bombast sandwiched between something by K.C. and the Sunshine Band and The BeeGees.

*End Digression*

And the movie began. A rebel Blockade Runner zipped across the star field on the screen.

I was aware that my friends weren't watching the screen. They were watching me. Waiting to see my reaction to what was coming next.

Just a month earlier, I had laid my own eyes on The Grand Canyon.

That did not prepare me for this.

An Imperial Empire battleship entered the frame, in pursuit of the rebel ship.

And it kept coming.

And coming.

And, HOLY CRAP! it was still coming.

My friends, observing my chin dropping to my chest as my eyes popped out like a Tex Avery cartoon character, sat back, satisfied, and we proceeded to take in 125 minutes of cinematic awesomeness.

*Another Digression*

The I.E. ship's appearance was the first part of a cinematic "one, two punch." Six months later, George Lucas' contemporary and partner in crime, Steven Spielberg, would deliver the second punch late in his film, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," when, after teasing us through the whole movie with cute little UFOs, sucker punched us when "The Mother Ship" rose from behind "The Devil's Tower."


The first Star Wars movie, (which would later be titled, "Episode IV: A New Hope" but for the time being was just "Star Wars,") was so successful that it ran in my town's theater from it's opening day in June until sometime around April of the following year. And my friends and I went to see it at least once every weekend until it closed.

My town's theater took those profits, shut down for remodeling for three months, and reopened with a second screen. They would not see such a phenomenon again until 1982-83, when Spielberg's "E.T." broke "Star Wars" record.

During it's original run, (and not counting re-releases and home video,) I saw the first Star Wars movie somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 times.


Three Oh.

Which reminds me of a famous story.

A woman, with a small boy in tow, accosted Sir Alec (Obi-Wan Kenobi) Guinness in an airport.

"My little Timmy (or whatever) has seen Star Wars 28 times!" She gushed.

Sir Alec got down on one knee and looked the kid straight in the eye and said...

"Dear lad, you have seen it enough."

This story may be apocryphal, I don't know.

But, I have a sort of parallel story about Mark (Luke Skywalker) Hamill, that I witnessed, many years later, with my own eyes and ears.

But, you will have to come back tomorrow or the next night for that one.

Tomorrow... My thoughts about Star Wars movies past and future.

And, Star Wars fans.

Maybe I will call it...

Episode V: The Fans Strike Back

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Don't Get Cocky, Kid."

There has been a disturbance in The Force.

The Dark Side has conspired to prevent your Blog form getting on line at a reasonable hour, once again.

But, I have A New Hope that I can get on it tomorrow night.

In the meantime, go on over to and enjoy some rarely seen Star Wars Bloopers.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Force is Not With Me

I'm not going to have time to post my thoughts and recollections about "Star Wars," tonight.

I'll get on it tomorrow.

Happy Star Wars Day

Okay I'm running a little bit behind tonight.

Your Jedi Blog was busy doing battle with the Imperial Empire and lost track of the time.

If you get why May the 4th is Star Wars Day, then you get it.

If you don't get it, you may not be nerdy enough to enjoy The Blog's next few posts.

If The Force is willing and the Death Star don't rise...

Your Uncle PC will spend the next couple of nights commenting, pontificating and reminiscing about the phenomenon that is, was and will be,  "Star Wars."

And, I just might get around to telling you about the times I spent rubbing elbows with Luke Skywalker, himself.

For now, a quick riddle....

Q: How is The Force like Duck Tape™?

A: They both have a light side and a dark side and they both bind the universe together.

 Until then...

May The Force be with you, always. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Only Thing I Am Going to say About Donald Sterling

So, y'all are up to speed on the whole Donald Sterling thing, right?

You know...

The SoCal slumlord who diversified his fortune by buying the L.A. Clippers basketball franchise.

You have all heard his racist rants at his black-latina "side chick" that someone leaked to the public via TMZ and the internets.


If not, go Google it.

The whole thing has been commented on by many who are smarter and wittier than you Uncle PC.

We have all heard about how he doesn't care if she hangs out with the blacks or, even, sleeps with the blacks.

Just don't be putting it out there on the Instagram or Facebook. And, don't be brining those people, (not even basketball legend Magic Johnson) to his games.

But, the comments that have been overshadowed by Sterling's bizarre and vile racist rants are more interesting to me.

And those comments are the ones that fall in line with the mainstream "job creators."

The idea that he (and I am paraphrasing, here,) "gave" those basketball player's their jobs, and he "bought their houses and cars for them."

Unlike what I would like to believe are his fringy attitudes about race, (although, I am starting to wonder if those attitudes are all that fringy...)

His comments about what he has "given" his employees is symptomatic of the all too prevalent mind-set of the billionaire 1%.

Sterling's employees, like all employees, earned their houses and cars, by doing the work that he, the employer, is incapable of doing himself.

Without his employees, he would not be an employer.

Likewise, all those low income families, most receiving that reviled government assistance, are the people who made Sterling, and other landlords of his ilk, wealthy to begin with.

And, as Forrest Gump would say, "That is all that I have to say about that."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cliven Bundy's Cattle

Hey, my bloglitts!

The official, left leaning, folk singing, political satirist of The PC Blog...

                                                                    Roy Zimmerman

Has dropped a new video over on the YouTube™.

Go check it out. 

While you are there, show him some love.

"Like" the video and subscribe to his channel.

You can thank me later.

Vacation, Schmacation

This is so true!

I am not a "workaholic."

Far from it.

I treasure my leisure time.

But, I love what I do for a living, and I love getting a paycheck to do it.

For me, "vacation" just means "a period of extended unemployment." And I find that far more stressful than doing the job I do.

I suspect that if I ever suffer a "stress related" heart attack, it will happen during a "vacation," and not while I am at work.

Your Blog has worked in the world of network television for about 20 of the 30 years that he has had a career.

He had never encountered the term "hiatus" until he entered the TeeVee world.

Your Uncle PC has detected a pattern.

Around the same time, every year, highly paid, "above the line" TV producers...

And young, single, not well paid, but young and single with no financial obligations outside of rent and college loan payments...

And, too often, with hefty trust funds...

And outsiders who have no clue...

All ask the same question...

"So! What exciting plans do you have for your vacation?"

After I resist the urge to punch you in the throat, I will answer...

"Oh, I don't know."

"Will you be doing any traveling?" They ask.

Yeah... No.

But, since you are here, Your Blog will share his inner thoughts.

His "inside voice" response to the question.

Here are my plans for my "vacation..."

I am going to file for unemployment benefits.

Which means, "I am trading in my $2000 a week income for a $400 a week stipend."

The one that my employer and, because I am technically my own business, I also pay into...

I am entitled to.

Because, as any right-wing conservative will tell you, collecting unemployment disincentives me from looking for employment. I am totally happy to live on the hammock of the social safety net.

"Don't feed the animals," the CONservatives say.

"They will only become dependent," they say.

That's me. A guy who works his ass off 9 months out of the year. Making rich people richer.

Just like my public school teacher wife.

We are just entitled, "wild animals." Like raccoons and opossums and skunks.

Waiting for handouts.

Yeah, I am drinking margaritas, snacking on bon bons and watching Judge Judy, while I enjoy living off the government tit.

But, no.

I am going to wonder how I am going to replace my wife's mini-van that just died, without an actual income.

I will brace myself for the fact that our remaining vehicle will require costly repairs and maintenance.

I will expect that my dishwasher will decide to spew sudsy wetness all over my kitchen's wood parquet floor. Or, my washing machine will do the same, in my garage.

And the odds, based on past experience, are good that one or both of our computers will probably crap out on us.

Best case scenario, I will be offered a temporary job so heinous that I will have to shower with sandpaper and lye soap to scrub the shame and disgust off of my body, before drinking myself to sleep.

But, I will take it, and I should be grateful for it.

Oh, and BTW...

My wife is a public school teacher...

Whose kidneys failed six years ago...

Because one of her students had a highly contagious virus, but was too poor to see a doctor about it...

Because, before "ObamaCare" healthcare was a privilege only for those who could afford it...

She now depends on a machine, four days a week, to keep her alive.

Thanks to "ObamaCare," She still gets her treatments.

Your Blog has lost his thread...

But, the above is all true.

If you get it, good for you.

If you don't...

Go fuck yourself.