Category Archives: Television

Could Daytona 500 be about something else? Maybe

About an hour after I wrote yesterday’s post, I realized a funny moment relating to the Daytona 500.

During a 2005 episode of Fox’s great animated series, King of the Hill, Joseph Gribble tells his best friend, Bobby Hill, about a program called “Daytona 500”. Joseph says he thinks it’s about a “chick pouring champagne on a dude”. Bobby then asks “500 what? 500 bachelors? 500 dwarves?”, then exclaims, “Oh God, I’m so excited!”.

Bobby and Joseph have to find out the password to Hank and Peggy’s parental controls, since they have locked the Fox network outside of the NFL season. Bobby correctly guesses “propane” and unlocks Fox. The boys avoid detection by Luanne, Peggy’s niece, and they settle in to watch “Daytona 500”.

The boys find out it’s “just a bunch of cars going around in circles”. They are keenly disappointed until there’s a crash. The boys love it.

It was pretty funny for the boys to think Daytona 500 was a broadcast from spring break in Daytona Beach. If Daytona 500 were about spring break, I would have even less reason to watch than I do the race.

The episode where Bobby and Joseph watch the Daytona 500 features one of the most hilarious moments in King of the Hill history.

During the episode, Hank is pouring fresh concrete in his driveway. Bill, Dale and Boomhauer beg to help, and Hank agrees. Hank rents a jackhammer to tear up the driveway, and lets each of his pals use it. Instead of using the tool for its intended purpose, the guys try to “ride” the vibrating jackhammer.

Boomhauer lasts nine seconds before he is thrown into a bush, a reference to the eight seconds a rodeo cowboy attempts to last on a bucking bronc. When Bill tries, he immediately gets hit in the groin.

King of the Hill was one of my favorite shows. Still is. Of Fox’s animated shows, King of the Hill is a clear #1, followed by American Dad (which is now on TBS), then Family Guy a distant third. I watched The Simpsons early in its run, but haven’t in 20 years. I don’t miss it one bit. I haven’t taken to Bob’s Burgers, and I didn’t watch Futurama when it was on Fox.

I’m about to leave. Caitlyn is playing with her Norton teammates at Beloit. It’s the postseason, win or go home. Hopefully the Bluejays won’t be going home.

Ending a long silence, take 32

I haven’t posted anything in too long. I had something terrible happen to me the afternoon of August 10, about five hours after I arrived at home following my latest trip to Kansas City. The drive from Kansas City to Russell was smooth, but after that, my life descended into deep hell.

I cried almost all throughout my session with Crista the next day. My eyes were red as, ironically, I stopped in at Dr. Jones’ office to pick up my contact lenses and get a pair of reading glasses, because I’ve been having trouble seeing small print up close. The reading glasses have helped, but I still made an appointment for this coming Thursday, the 25th, to check out my prescription.

I went off my sleep machine for a couple of nights. I was going to go off my meds, too, but Dr. Custer kicked my tail a bit when I saw her the day after my appointment with Crista. I agreed for her to go back on my meds and sleep machine.

Now I have a problem with the sleep machine. Not the machine itself, but the mask. There are way too many straps to keep up with. I am seriously considering a full face mask. The nasal mask is nice, but I might feel better with a different one. My health insurance will pay for it.

I had another session with Crista this past Wednesday. Told her I’m scared about what might be coming, but she also told me that I needed to see Catilyn play her first match on the 30th. Norton’s home playing Hill City and Ellis, which is good for me, since I will get to see someone else I don’t see enough, Linda Nighswonger, who coaches the Ringnecks. I also need to see Peggy, obviously.

Dawn Amos’ birthday was last Sunday. I feel bad I couldn’t go to Kansas City to see her. I promised Robb I would come back soon, hopefully next week. I can’t go Thursday due to my appointments, but Tuesday is a possibility. I won’t be able to on Tuesdays until late October if I want to see Caitlyn play.

Speaking of birthdays, a very important one is next Friday. I’ll explain in an upcoming post.

I’ve been watching The O.C. way too much. Today is a very good day to be watching, as the man who gave us Sandy Cohen, Peter Gallagher, turns 61. He looks fabulous. Hard to believe yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of the nationwide premiere of Sex. Lies and Videotape, which starred Gallagher, Andie MacDowell, Laura San Giacomo and James Spader. The movie was shot in Baton Rouge in late 1988, a year after another film, Everybody’s All-American, was filmed in Louisiana’s capital.

Today, Baton Rouge is a real-life horror movie. Most of the city and surrounding area is reeling from devastating floods which have left 13 dead and tens of thousands homeless. It will go down as one of the worst non-hurricane natural disasters in Louisiana’s history.

Livingston Parish, east of Baton Rouge along Interstate 12, was hit much worse than the big city. Denham Springs, the largest community in Livingston, was swamped. Schools in Denham Springs won’t open until at least late September, and Denham Springs High may be closed until mid-October. I once covered a basketball game there. The hometown Yellow Jackets bombed Baton Rouge Catholic 85-59, shooting 60 percent from the field.

Another place I’m familiar with which was badly flooded was St. Amant, a tight-knit community in southeastern Ascension Parish, about 40 minutes south of where I used to live in Baton Rouge. I saw an aerial photo of St. Amant High, and it was completely underwater. The Pit, the football stadium at St. Amant Primary, fared no better. I spent many a Friday night at The Pit, including one where O. Perry Walker of New Orleans gained 707 yards and LOST. Twenty-one penalties for 182 yards and a defense which gave up 51 points will do that.

I am sick and tired of the Olympics. SICK AND TIRED. Come Monday morning, the world will be a better place. No more Olympics until the 2018 Winter Games, and no more summer crap until 2020. And hopefully Ryan Lochte and his pals will never be heard from again.

Avoiding the heat

The heat is still as intense as it was earlier in the week on this Thursday afternoon. Thankfully, I’m inside my air conditioned basement, which is colder than the main floor of the residence at 1224 North Brooks.

I left for my appointment with Crista before 8. I rarely do that. Most of the time, I’m scrambling to make it there for 9. Today, though, I wanted to get my things at Walmart and get out before it got hotter. I did just that, getting in and out in less than 15 minutes.

I had some extra time after getting out of Wally World, so I opted to get back on I-70 and take the last Hays exit, which passes by the outer edge of the Fort Hays State University campus, notably Gross Memorial Coliseum. I had 20 minutes before I had to be at High Plains Mental Health for my appointment, and I really did not want to fight the red lights on Vine Street (US 183), the main north-south artery in Hays.

I almost paid the price. Literally.

As I passed 41st Street on the US 183 bypass, I saw a Kansas Highway Patrol car going north. He pulled up and then turned around. Now he was right behind me going south.

I was scared to death that once I crossed the overpass near the Bickle-Schmidt sports complex, he would pull me over and give me a tcket, either for following too closely–a yellow Mustang was in front of me–or for speeding. I dropped my speed to 55, the speed limit, after the patrol car turned around, but he may have caught me between 60 and 65 before that.

Fortunately, I was not the motorist the trooper was after. The yellow Mustang was pulled over after it turned left at the bottom of the overpass. I felt a bit tight in the chest right as I passed Gross Coliseum–home to the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament–but once I got to the turn at Main Street, it was all better.

There really wasn’t much to report this week with Crista, since we met last week. However, the traffic incident provided some conversation, as did Hope Solo, LSU in the College World Series, and Brittany Davidson’s upcoming wedding reception. We’ll meet again on June 25.

Nothing on. What is on a Thursday afternoon in June? Watching the Shark Tank episodes I recorded last night, plus a TV movie starring one of my favorite actresses, Daphne Zuniga, who played JoBeth Reynolds on Melrose Place and Victoria Davis on One Tree Hill. Daphne was outstanding in the role on OTH, playing the perfect foil to Sophia Bush’s Brooke Davis.

Melrose Place, which debuted in July 1992 as a spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210was one of those trashy shows you didn’t want to admit you watched, but couldn’t stay away from. Marcia Cross, who went on to great stardom as Bree van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives, played psycho killer doctor Kimberly Shaw, who appeared to be dead in a drunk driving accident, only to come back and terrorize everyone. Two other female stars went on to bigger and better things after Melrose: Courtney Thorne-Smith, who went from Allison Parker to a co-starring role alongside Jim Belushi on According to Jim; and Kristin Davis, who went from a manipulative woman who drove a wedge between Throne-Smith’s Allison and Andrew Shue’s Billy to Charlotte York, by far my favorite of the ladies of Sex and the City.

Speaking of Sex and the City, I watched the first episode of that show with my dad in a hotel in Cape Girardeau, Mo. We were returning from the 1998 College World Series and drove from Omaha to Cape Girardeau, where we stayed overnight before completing the return to Baton Rouge. I actually had the entire DVD collection of Sex and the City in Louisiana, but it was flooded by Katrina.  I saw the first Sex and the City movie in theaters and have the DVD, and I have the second on Blu-Ray, although I have never watched it. How strange is that?

Game 4 of the NBA Finals are tonight in Cleveland. Not sure how much I’ll watch, but there are only two Shark Tank episodes on CNBC tonight at 7 and 8. I have an appointment with Dr. Patriarca at High Plains tomorrow at 9, so it’s likely I’m going to bed early. And probably tomorrow night as well.

Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a kid again…

This cartoon cat was a big part of my childhood. I enjoyed watching the cartoon he appeared in. Can you name the cat and the cartoon he appeared in? 

Hold on here

So much for another late-night sojourn from Kansas City to Russell. Mother Nature has decreed I should stay until tomorrow morning through her epic lightning display, which was followed by another outpouring of the heavens.

Fortunately, I packed for such a potential, and I will be trekking two miles north on I-29 to the Holiday Inn Express. I had the points to stay for free, and I do not care for the Courtyard on the other side of I-29 on Tiffany Springs Parkway, given the lack of hot water for shaving and housekeepers who can’t understand a Do Not Disturb sign.

Besides, I’m getting to spend extra time with some of my favorite people on earth, especially Elizabeth Psenski, Brittany Davidson and Jaclyn Blankenship all of whom are working this Labor Day evening. I’m also bonding with young Raymie, one of the newer servers. She’s a cutie and is going to break a lot of hearts. But I’m an old man by comparison.

Louisville is beating Miami 24-13. Ugh. I have never liked Louisville, and I cannot stand Bobby Petrino, who has all the morals of Barabbas, the man who was freed by Pontius Pilate instead of Jesus Christ before the Sanhedrin. He used Louisville in an attempt to get jobs at Auburn and LSU, quit the Atlanta Falcons by attaching a form letter to the players’ lockers, then showed up 24 hours after a Monday Night Football game as Arkansas’ new coach, then blew the gig in Fayetteville not only by carrying on an affair with an engaged intern, but lying about it after the two were in a motorcycle accident.

Louisville has never been beyond shady ethics, so it didn’t surprise me one bit when they re-hired Petrino after Charlie Strong went to Texas. Then again, Strong may have a better moral compass, but Petrino runs circles around him as a football coach. I guarantee there’s no way Louisville loses to Central Florida last year with Petrino coaching.

I not only dislike Louisville and Petrino, I want Miami to win, because that is the alma mater of the sweetest and most talented sports broadcaster around, Jill Arrington of Fox Sports 1. Jill graduated from Miami in 1994 before going into broadcasting, where she was the sideline reporter for SEC football on CBS for five years in the early 2000s. She came back to TV this year on Fox Sports 1, and it is great to have her back. I also remember Jill doing a turn as a television news reporter on Monk in 2009.

I’m eventually going to leave Buffalo Wild Wings, but this time, I have an even shorter drive to the hotel than I had over the weekend from Briarcliff. And it’s easy out to M-152 to I-435. I figure I’ll leave between 9:30 and 10, visit with Jack, then turn around and go to Beloit.

Royal spotlight

The Royals are taking on the Indians in the final game of the weekend series at Kauffman Stadium. Cleveland won the first two games of the series, 6-1 Friday and 3-2 in 11 innings last night.

Why is this significant? It’s not because the Royals are playing the Indians, it’s WHEN the Royals are playing the Indians.

Sunday night.

For the first time that I can remember, the Kansas City Royals are featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, meaning people from San Diego to Bangor and Seattle to Key West can flip their televisions to ESPN and watch Major League Baseball live from the City of Fountains and its beautiful ballpark, which looks a heck of a lot different than the last time ESPN broadcast a Sunday night game from Kansas City.

The Sunday Night game invariably is skewed to feature the popular teams of Major League Baseball. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs, Braves and Mets all make multiple appearances per season. In fact, if the Yankees and Red Sox play a weekend series, you can almost be certain the Sunday game will air on ESPN.

The Royals have been so bad for so long ESPN has had no compelling reason to put them in the Sunday night slot. Since ESPN began televising Major League Baseball in 1990, the Royals have had only FOUR winning seasons out of 24, and one of those was the strike-shortened year of 1994, when the final 47 games and the playoffs were wiped out. The four winning seasons matches the number of 100-loss seasons the Royals have suffered through in that period; those occurred within five years (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006).

Tonight, the Royals get to strut their stuff for the sporting public. And tonight is a good night to do it, since starting next week, most sports fans will tune to NBC for Sunday Night Football, and baseball will be on the back burner, except for St. Louis and a couple of other places.

The Royals lead 1-0 n the top of the third. They’d better get this game in, because there is a line of very heavy rain marching east. The leading edge is at Manhattan right now, meaning it should arrive in Kansas City between 9:30 and 10. Yikes.

Labor Day in front of the tube

The proliferation of football on television has made Labor Day weekend viewing very palatable.

This was not always the case.

On the Labor Day weekends when the NFL season opened, at least there were three games on Sunday, except if the Saints played at home, which limited New Orleans to two, since no game can go up head-to-head against the local team in that team’s market. Kansas City is under the same limitations when the Chiefs are at home.

However, if the NFL did not start its season until after Labor Day, it meant there was hardly anything on television worth a darn, and it was made worse by two things I had, or still have, no earthly interest in viewing.

One is the U.S. Open tennis tournament. CBS devoted nearly all of Saturday and Monday to coverage of the event through the 1980s and 1990s, and would have a full day on Sunday as well if there were no NFL games on Labor Day weekend. If there were NFL games that Sunday, CBS would televise all of them at noon Central and then switch to tennis at 3:30.

CBS now only televises the singles championship matches on the Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day, and that ends this year. Starting next year, the entire tournament will air on ESPN, meaning tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments–Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open–will now air exclusively on the cable sports giant in the United States.

The other event which used to be a staple of Labor Day weekend was the Jerry Lewis telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I wholeheartedly support the efforts of Lews and the thousands of celebrities who appeared on the telethon through the decades, but i didn’t think it needed to be televised to the point where it would wipe out 24 hours of regularly scheduled programming.

At least New Orleans, the telethon aired on independent station WGNO through 1995, which meant no network programming was preempted. However, on January 1, 1996, WGNO became an ABC affiliate, and that meant a lot of soap opera fans were angry on Labor Day when All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital were knocked off the air. The telethon usually ran from 8;30 p.m. to 6 p.m., which meant it was off the air in time for Monday Night Football if there was a game that night at 8 p.m. Labor Day night.

The long telethon ran through 2010, the last year Jerry Lewis hosted it.  In 2011, with Lewis’ health failing, Nancy O’Dell assumed hosting duties, and the telethon was shortened considerably to six hours. In 2012, the telethon ended, and it became a two-hour telecast on Sunday night. With online donating, there’s no need for a telethon today.

With the NFL waiting to start its season, there are now college football games for five straight days, Thursday through Monday. Not always the best games, but it beats the alternatives.

Reappearing act

I apologize for disappearing Thursday and Friday. Then again, there really wasn’t anything to report from those two days until 7:15, when I arrived at the Overland Park Marriott.

Two things totally distracted me Thursday. One was The Simpsons marathon on FXX which began at 9 a.m. FXX is airing every episode of The Simpsons in order, 552 in all, through Labor Day. My parents, my brother and I watched The Simpsons religiously in its early years, although I fell off the wagon when I favored King of the Hill when it first came on the air in 1997.

Love them or hate them, The Simpsons has resiliency. Look at the thousands of shows which have come and gone since The Simpsons first premiered as a stand-alone 30-minute show December 17, 1989. Prior to going on its own, The Simpsons were shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show on Fox beginning in 1987.

I’m just glad The Simpsons got away from centering the series around Bart. I found Homer and other characters outside the Simpson family to be far more intriguing. If I had to pick a favorite character, it would be the neurotic professor Dr. John Frink. I love his gibberish. Mr. Burns is also up there among my favorites. As for the Simpson family, I wish Maggie would have more starring episodes. She cracks me up.

The second distraction Thursday was Sports Jeopardy. I knew the creators of Jeopardy were starting a sports-themed edition which would air online and would be hosted by Dan Patrick, whose daily national radio show is also simulcast on NBC Sports Network.

Jacques Doucet, a sports anchor at WAFB, the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge, sent me a link with tryout information Thursday. I missed the deadline this year, but hopefully I can try out in 2015. The questions aren’t the problem; the interview will be. Just hope it makes it to season 2.

I downloaded the Sports Jeopardy app for my iPhone, and of course, I was immediately addicted. There were a few questions in a few esoteric categories I was stumped by, but for the most part, I was kicking butt.

I left the house Thursday for a little while to drop in on Larry Bernard at Russell High and visit Jack and Kathy at the office.

Friday was a drag, at least for the first 15 hours. I could not get going, period. I wasn’t aiming to get out too early, but I wasn’t fully awake until 2:20. I kept dozing off during The Simpsons marathon before I finally realized I had better get it in gear. By time I left at 3:20, The Simpsons marathon was on the episode where Marge and Ned Flanders starred in Springfield’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire. That episode became infamous in New Orleans when Chief Wiggum led the chorus of a song which laid bare all of the negative aspects of the Big Easy, causing a stir among the city’s media and citizenry.

The trip east was uneventful, save for the idiot without a toll tag who got stuck in the tag-only lane at the Kansas Turnpike toll plaza near Bonner Springs. It took me less than five minutes to check in at the Overland Park Marriott and unload my stuff, and by 7:25, I was on my way to Zona Rosa and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Lisa said she would meet me there, but she got bogged down in homework from her college courses. Understood. However, she did take the time to come see me for a few minutes late, which meant a lot. I also got to see several of my favorites on the Buffalo Wild Wings team, especially Liz’s mom, Nadine. It was worth it.

I”m trying to get myself in gear this morning and out the door. I think I’ve finally got the sleeping part whipped. Now I’ve got to get in the shower and make myself presentable.

The O.C. at 11

NOTE: This post will be expanded later. 

Eleven years ago tonight, The O.C. premiered on Fox. I wasn’t watching. However, I have now become addicted to that show, so much so that I’ll often travel with my DVD collection so I can watch in my hotel room if nothing in particular interests me on television. I used to use another laptop and play it through the DVD player on the machine, but now that I have a Blu-Ray, it’s easy to plug in the HDMI cable.

I first started watching The O.C. by accident. I was watching SoapNet in the summer of 2009 for reruns of Beverly Hills 90210, and The O.C. happened to come on with back-to-back episodes at noon and 1 p.m. Rather than turn the channel, I just stayed with it, and then with One Tree Hill at 2 and 3. That was the summer I was recuperating from the kidney stone and urinary tract infection which sent me to the ER at St. Luke’s Northland in Kansas City, so I was spending lots of time at home.

By the end of 2009, I had The O.C. DVD collector’s set, and I was watching as much as possible. I pretty much knew every character’s story by heart, and I knew a lot more about the actors on the show, especially Peter Gallagher, who played the iconic father/public defender/moral center, Sandy Cohen.

I found out Peter starred in sex, lies and videotape, a 1989 classic which made a star out of Andie MacDowell. The movie was shot in Baton Rouge, where of course I went to school at LSU and lived for a time after graduation.

Peter is also a talented singer, and he showed that off during a season two episode when Sandy serenaded Kirsten (Kelly Rowan) at an anniversary party. His daughter, Megan, appears on her way to singing stardom as well.

Sandy Cohen is the type of father every boy and girl would wish for, and every man a lady would want to marry. He was morally centered, but he would go out of his way to do anything for those he cared about most. He hardly lost his temper at his family, and never would dream of resorting to physical harm. He set firm rules for Seth and Ryan, but he let them have their freedom and learn life’s lessons on their own. His marriage to Kirsten had its rocky moments, especially when old flame Rebecca Bloom reappeared in season two, but Sandy took his vows seriously, no matter how much father-in-law Caleb Nichol belittled him and considered him unworthy of marrying his daughter.

The character would not have worked without the right actor, and Peter brought so much to the table. It’s shame he wasn’t nominated for an Emmy for playing Sandy. He is worthy of such accolades. I hope his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is coming.

Not-so-new news

In my previous post very late last night, I recalled the 1981 walkway collapse at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Kansas City, fitting since I am in KC right now.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of another tragedy, one which I vividly remember, even though I was still three months away from my eighth birthday. It was probably the first tragic event I can recall watching on the news when it happened.

July 18, 1984 marks one of the most tragic days in the history of San Diego, and the most tragic for McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is supposed to be a happy place. Kids look forward to a visit to the Golden Arches, not only for a Happy Meal, but for the opportunity to play outside, even though in 1984, the play areas at McDonald’s were nowhere near as elaborate as they are today. In 1984, I recall the McDonald’s closest to my home had a giant Ronald McDonald standing in front, a Mayor McCheese toy, and a couple of other rides resembling other characters.

However, the McDonald’s on San Ysidrio Boulevard became the ending point for 21 lives that Wednesday afternoon.

That day, a mentally unstable 41-year man named James Oliver Huberty walked into that particular McDonald’s and began shooting. And shooting. And shooting.

When the gruesome 78-minute real-life horror movie was over, 21 people, most of them children, one of those an eight-month old infant, were dead. Thankfully, a San Diego Police SWAT team member took out Huberty with a single shot to the heart, or more carnage would have ensued.

Ironically, Huberty ate at another McDonald’s before going on his rampage. He blamed the monosodium glutamate (MSG) in McDonald’s food for making him mentally unstable. BULL. I’ve eaten too much McDonald’s in my lifetime to know MSG does not make one homicidal.

The shooting began at 3:56 p.m. Pacific Time, or four minutes before ABC, CBS and NBC went off the air in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. The regular anchors, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw were all in San Francisco for the Democratic National Convention, and that was the day Geraldine Ferraro was revealed as Walter Mondale’s running mate. Most of that night was dedicated to the DNC and Ferraro’s background.

Unfortunately, in 1984, there wasn’t the 24-hour news cycle as we have now. CNN came on the air in 1984, but my parents hardly ever watched. Fox News and MSNBC weren’t even pipe dreams.

Cable in 1984 was a far cry from what it is today. I recall we had HBO, Showtime, ESPN, USA,, CNN, The Weather Channel, TBS, WGN and WOR out of New York. Heaven for a kid not yet eight.

The 6 p.m. local newscasts in New Orleans were mostly dedicated that night to the continuing financial problems of the 1984 World’s Fair, officially the Louisiana World Exposition, which opened two months earlier along the Mississippi River, at the opposite end of Poydras Street from the Louisiana Superdome. The sports broadcast focused on the Saints beginning training camp in Vero Beach,, Florida. The weather forecast: hot and humid, but the tropics were dead calm.

I wasn’t old enough to stay up and watch the 10 p.m. news, so I had to wait until the morning news the next day to find out what happened. It was so tragic it bumped the end of the DNC as the lead story on the CBS Evening News.

Had the McDonald’s massacre occurred in 2004 instead of 1984, we would have found out in minutes, due to the presence of Fox News and MSNBC in addition to CNN, plus the Internet and all its outlets. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had there been serious lag time between the 9/11 attacks and the first broadcast reports. Then again, (a) those happened in the morning, and (b) they came in New York City, where all the networks have their news headquarters. I’m sure there might have been a little lag had those occurred in the 1980s, but not much.