Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10 reasons why "The White Shadow" is the best show of the '70's

1. It ran only 3 seasons, which means it had a beginning, middle and end. They didn't follow the players to college, or have any one-off reunion specials.

2. Great lineage. Kevin Hooks, who played Morris Thorpe, went on to direct movies and TV, including the series "Prison Break". And the actor who played 'Salami", Tim Van Patten went on to direct many of "The Sopranos" episodes. He even co-wrote the fan-fave "Pine Barrens".

3. No hugs or happy endings. Even though they tackled some serious subjects like murder, drugs, S.T.D.'s, teacher-student affairs, the end of the episode didn't sink into dripping sentimentality. They just ended.

4. The characters in the show actually grew up and didn't spend 8 years in high school.

5. They had the "Harlem Globetrotters" on an episode. The real Globetrotters featuring Curley Neal, Marques Haynes, and Geese. And they played!

6. Basketball. The show was about a basketball team, and they actually showed them playing. Pick and rolls, lay-ups, ally-oops, they showed it all. The writers did their homework on this.

7. The show took place in 79-81, and they dressed as such. None of the cheesy mid-70's fashions like flares, disco suits et al, but actual clothes from that period. Jeans, flannel shirts, tee shirts. So cool, it made a comeback in the early 90's.

8. They sang their own songs. At the end of season one, some of the team, having sung in the shower, decided to form a singing group. And no lip syncing.

9. Real dialog. Not every line had to be a sarcastic comic or put-down, like nowadays. Not everyone was a comedian, they had real conversations. And stayed away from stereotypical 70's jargon. So the show never really "dated".

10. The theme song, one of the best in the business. And now my ring tone.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ernie Roberts

I remember reading the sports pages of the daily newspaper as early as 7 years old. Back then, it was the only way to find out what happened the night before with the local sports teams. Plus, when living on the West coast it was the only way to keep up with out-of-town teams.

Lucky for me my first sports page experiences were the Boston Globe, and the LA Times.

Late in the 70's, every Saturday morning was a column from one of my favorite writers, Ernie Roberts. He had a column "Thoughts while shaving" which became the standard for all of the "bits and pieces" columns that many, if not all sportswriters have been piecing together since.

Except that Roberts columns weren't just leftover scraps tossed together or phoned in. They were researched, thoughtful, pertinent, valid, but most of all, they started off with a "Good Morning", and more importantly, a breakfast choice relevant to the first bit.
(Note: I was misinformed on his whereabouts. I apologize).

Here's some samples of his infamous breakfast choices:

  • Good morning! Colleague Joe Concannon, just back from a New Zealand vacation, recommends this Auckland breakfast special: cheese omelet with a small lamb chop and pot of tea.
  • Good morning! Join our post-holiday austerity program with breakfast right out of the Scarsdale Diet: half a grapefruit, one slice of unbuttered protein toast and coffee straight . . .
  • Good morning! Diet breakfast again? I've decided never on Saturday. Drop an egg on that corned-beef hash, surround it with wheat muffins and, yes, bring on that second cup of coffee..
  • Good morning! Here's a challenge to Saturday breakfast appetites from Pittsburgh third baseman Bill Madlock: "I love a plateful of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, all splashed with Mrs. Butterworth's Syrup.". .
  • Good morning! Boston College hockey captain Steve Barger has a Beanpot Tourney breakfast favorite: a pint of orange juice, English muffins, ham-and- cheese omelet and, of course, a side order of beans.
  • Good morning! Signor Rip Valenti, whose 79th birthday came on Valentine's Day, will gird for his Marvin Hagler-Loucif Hamani fight promotion today (Ch. 7, 4:55 p.m.) in Portland with this favorite breakfast: orange juice, two dropped eggs on toast and coffee . . .
  • Good morning! Stoking up midway through the ECAC hockey championships at the Garden, Dartmouth goaltender Bob Gaudet will breakfast today on blueberry pancakes, link sausage and two large glasses of orange juice.
  • Good morning! Meadowlark (his real name, honestly) Lemon doesn't eat like a bird. "For breakfast on the West Coast I have a big fruit salad, couple of hard boiled eggs and juice. Here in Boston I like corned beef hash with a poached egg and tea with, naturally, lemon," says Lark, whose new basketball team, the Bucketeers, appears at the Garden tomorrow afternoon . . .
  • Good morning! Ever try sliced banana and Cheerios fried in butter for breakfast? Nothing better, swears Clayton (Lone Ranger) Moore. "Even got my horse, Silva, nibbling on that instead of sugar," said Moore, who was here for the Foxboro harness opener last night . . .
  • Good morning! Fresh strawberries over cornflakes this merry day and a large slice of Irish bread to herald the departure for Dublin of Belmont author George and Betty Sullivan on their 25th wedding anniversary trip . . .
  • Good morning! Pretty Pat Bradley plays golf on a skimpy breakfast of juice, one egg on toast and Sanka. Yet the Westford star, who previewed next month's Boston Five Classic site at Ferncroft CC this week, says it still cost her $35,000 for expenses on the LPGA Tour last year
  • Good morning! To stoke up for his fishing trip to Red Sand Lake, Canada, today, Celtic draftee Kevin McHale will make himself a Hibbing (Minn.) breakfast of a quart of orange juice and a four-egg, ham and cheese omelet . . .

Ahh, breakfast. My favorite meal of the day.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fish tank

So we got a fish tank, one of the Biorb types, 8 gallons. Set it up, conditioned the water and put 3 Zebra something's in there. All swimming around, having fun.

Then the other day, there's only 2. Looked everywhere, but no sign of the third. Don't they float when dead? It's not like there's a hell of a lot of places to hide...


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christmas is over

Just some random holiday thoughts....

- The season now starts in October, and continues through December, lingering into January. Of course the Russian Orthodox celebrate Christmas on Jan 6 (Epiphany) but the other 99% dont's.
So with the all-seasonal music stations, music in the stores and malls, specials, etc., the so-called "War on Christmas" is over. Done.

- It's time the networks put the tired "specials" to rest. Rudolph was dumb and clunky when I first saw it as a kid, and it just gets worse every year. Really bad animation, too. A Gumby for Christmas. And the storyline is just an ad campaign. What I miss are the Norelco commercials from the '60's, which had the elves sledding down the hills on a razor. Frosty needs to go, too. An even dumber storyline...a snowman that comes to life? Kinda spooky, if you ask me. And the scene where the little girl is with Frosty in the greenhouse is the worst. He melts slowly in front of her...I can imagine the last few minutes of his life as he literally melts in front of her eyes. I wonder if he screams for help, or mercy while she watches.

- No more new Holiday albums. It's the last gasp for most bands, but a prolific one, as the public eats it up. Country stars love this crap.

- I miss when "It's a wonderful life" was in the public domain, back in the 80's. It would be on all month, on every channel. Some good prints, some crappy, even a colorized version. You could literally tune in on Christmas Eve, switch channels, and see the movie's different parts. At 7, you could watch the ending...switch to PBS at 9, and see the beginning...on Fox at 10, see the end in color. Now it's on a couple times.

- But I can't get enough of "A Christmas Story". I love the 24 hours of it on the Eve.

- "Scrooged" is the best version of "A Christmas Carol" out there. Up-to-date, although it does reek of the 80's, and really stays close to the original story. The (Marley) Ghost preaches of mercy, charity and mankind...Frank Cross snubs those who want and need at the beginning, his past shows where he lost the way, and his redemption shows him preaching charity. Kinda falls apart at the end, though, when Bill Murray's "Frank Cross" experiences his change, and becomes, well, Bill Murray.

And that's all...only 300 days to go before the "war" begins again.