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February 2006 Archives

February 1, 2006


Here's what I need: not exactly an alarm clock, more like something that, as soon as I rise, would tell me the particulars I need to know in a soft, reassuring voice, like this:

"Good morning, it's Wednesday, February 1st, 2006. You are at home near Los Angeles, it is a work day, it's 4:30, and it's time to feed the cat, then go to the other end of the house and start working. Everything before this was a dream."

Seriously, I'm getting tired of waking up and having no idea where I am, what day it is, and whether I have to work or can sleep in (considering that I work pretty much every day, I suppose this is a moot point). An invention like this that senses my initial confusion would be welcome. Someone get on this case, stat.


February 2, 2006


OK, a few more scans because I'm tired tonight. I like this one because it's a rare glimpse of the logo of a truly demented TV station of the 70's and 80's:

WWHT, channel 68 Newark (with a translator on the World Trade Center on channel 60) and its satellite, WSNL-TV, channel 67 on Long Island, were... OK, let's see. The history you might see on Wikipedia or elsewhere is a little off, so let's correct it now. The station existed as a construction permit as WWRO Newark, but by the time it went on the air (I actually saw the very first test transmission, a painting of a big tree with the calls in the corner), it was WBTB-TV, and the early schedule included bargain basement black-and-white shows with bad prints ("Dobie Gillis" being the best of the lot), cheesy local variety shows ("The Danny Tarantino Show," featuring some lounge singer on a bare set), stock market news (with ticker on the bottom of the screen), and Uncle Floyd, who was the one redeeming feature of the channel. But you know about him, and he's still around, one of the "Wise Guys" on Sirius.

WSNL started separately- it was a local station for Long Island that also carried the WFL's New York Stars games, went dark, and eventually re-emerged as a simulcast of 68.

Later, the station was purchased by Wometco, the Miami company, which changed the calls to WTVG (their Miami station was WTVJ) but kept programming cheap (they did briefly carry WTVJ's local-legend kid's show "Skipper Chuck"); eventually, they changed the calls to WWHT and launches scrambled subscription programming as "Wometco Home Theater," The crappy daytime programming and the sublime Uncle Floyd remained, but in the evening, the picture went scrambled and required a converter box to watch HBO-style movies while nonsubscribers heard a loop of music including Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need Of Love Today" over and over and over. A favorite pastime of the cheap- OK, that would be me- was to try and futz with the vertical hold to unscramble the picture, especially with R-rated movies, when you might get to see an occasional breast. (Hey, I was a kid at the time, gimme a break)

The station eventually went all-scrambled (except for a block of public affairs/educational shows on the weekends); when the subscription bubble burst, it became an MTV competitor, "U-68," playing a pretty cool mix of odd videos MTV wouldn't touch, programed by veteran music industry guy Steve Leeds. That failed, too, and the station went through a long Home Shopping Network period before going Spanish as the New York Telefutura affiliate, which it is today.

But back in the day, it was about the most cheesy major market TV station ever, cheesier than the 90's incarnation of Philly's channel 48, cheesier than L.A.'s KDOC, just plain cheesy. Naturally, I loved it. The ad you see above has the logos and one other feature: someone was too cheap to design a new ad for the show's second season, so they just pasted "SECOND SEASON" over the words "NEW SHOW," the top of which is still visible in the ad. Just perfect.

And while we're on ABA TV ads (or, at least, ads for TV stations featuring teams that were at one time in the ABA), here's a Kentucky Colonels/WLKY-TV ad from '74, with a cartoon of Artis Gilmore and Dan Issel. 32 was the ABC affiliate then, is CBS now. No reason for this, just because. Gotta go.


February 3, 2006


Glenn Reynolds isn't the only person to fall for the hype of the five-blade Gillette Fusion.

Yeah, I got one.

It was on sale, my Mach III Turbo needs replacing- caked with gunk, broken tray, running out of blades anyway- so I figured, what the hell, I'll try it. And I will, tomorrow morning. It'll be Saturday, so if it slices a big chunk off my face, I'll have some time to stanch the flow, get a few stitches, and recover.

But for those of you who work in talk radio, you might be surprised that this can be a topic for on-air discussion. When I worked with this guy on a radio show a few years back, he came in one day singing the praises of the Mach III and we did a bit where he and another host spent an hour trying to convince a skeptic- that would be me- that the razor was good enough to abandon the old Sensor. And we got a ton of calls from guys who offered their own shaving critiques. Turns out guys really do care about that.

And that's what Gillette counts on. I walked into the drug store and there's the stand and an irresistible price for the new razor, and I couldn't resist, even though they keep increasing the price for blades (almost $15. for four?!?) (I go to Costco for those anyway) and it wasn't 100% necessary. I'm a guy, it's a new razor, I'm a sucker, it's a deal.

Review coming. Get the styptic pencil, Band-Aids, and tourniquets ready.



I will watch the whole thing, although I will lose interest before halftime.

I will eat chili.

That's about it.

The game? Who the hell cares?


February 4, 2006


At about 2:45 am this morning, I got up, staggered into the kitchen, fed the cat, and returned to bed.

And then I woke up and discovered that I'd only dreamt that I got up, staggered into the kitchen, fed the cat, and returned to bed.

As I've noted before, even my dreams are boring.


February 5, 2006


Here's the update:

The game is miserably boring.

The chili is simmering. It's the beef/beer/beans combination that I used to make with my mom many years ago. It's gooooood.

The beer was cold. Had some Red Hook ESB in honor of Seattle. They didn't have any IC in the stores here for the Pittsburgh angle, and Rolling Rock just sucks.

The commercials have sucked, too. The Jay Mohr Diet Pepsi commercials have been the worst- not just bad, not just unfunny, but actively repellent. What were they thinking? Were they thinking at all?

ABC seems to be desperate for everyone to watch "Sons and Daughters," which, frankly, looks dire- didn't laugh once, seems like a lame stab at an unscripted "Curb"-style uncomfortable-situation comedy. They're pushing "The Evidence"- seems gimmicky, and it stars the Guy From The Soda Commercials, so it's not promising- and the "Grey's Anatomy" post-game episode, which means little to me. Oh, and it appears that the Stones' appearance is really, really important to the NFL and ABC. They may be the only people excited over this, with the exception of the people they hired to act like they're excited around the stage at halftime (it's all phony, of course; who they think they're fooling is unclear).

OK, now we have the very worst commercial yet: Chris Berman with "highlights" from "The Shaggy Dog," Tim Allen remake. I don't think I need to explain this.



Halftime show involved some fossils and a bunch of phony "fans" on the field. I enjoyed Mick's new gambit of dropping every fourth word in the lyrics as a voice-saving device. Apparently, tuning one's guitar is optional for the Stones these days, too.

FInally, some fun, with Parker's touchdown and Herndon's interception polished off by a comical block of Roethlisberger that sent the bearded guy tumbling. Plus, I laughed at the Sprint "theft deterrent" commercial. Stevens just caught one for a touchdown; this game might be watchable yet.




If I were a Steelers fan, I'd be excited. I'm not, so the brief excitement in the third quarter wasn't enough to break the overall tedium. Maybe the only interesting thing at the end was how Hasselbeck disintergated in the closing minute of each half, running inscrutable plays that wasted any chance they had to score.

But it's over. Good. On to the rest of basketball season.


February 6, 2006


I was only able to find one mention of the Peter Paul "Peanut Butter With No Jelly" bar on the Net, on this list of no-longer-available snack foods. No Jelly was one of those bars that came out with heavy advertising (like the above, from the 1973 Atlanta Braves game program) but nobody ever actually ate. I like peanut butter, don't care for jelly, and would be interested in such a product, but never tried it, maybe because the negative name turned me off. You do't want to advertise a product by stressing what it isn't unless the stuff that's missing is bad for you (a "No Poison" bar might be worth a shot).

While I was looking for more about the No Jelly bar- OK, no jelly, and it had peanut butter, but what else was in there?- I perused the list of bygones and noted the following:

"Abba-Zaba" does too exist, but it's spelled "Abba-Zabba," and you see it on every candy stand in California.

I liked Adams Sour Apple gum, but it's the kind of thing that tastes way better to a 10 year old kid than to an adult.

I would never think of eating anything called "Dumplets."

Aspen soda- apple flavored- was revolting.

I would never think of putting anything called "Big Wad" into my mouth, ever.

"Blammo" bubble gum sounds dangerous.

Bonomo Turkish Taffy tasted about as unnatural as anything you could eat, yet I liked it. You'd take the bar and SLAM it on the counter, breaking it into little pieces. And that didn't help- it would still rip your fillings and baby teeth right out.

I used to see Broadcast chili in the stores. What broadcasting and chili had to do with each other was never clear. I just knew I didn't want to eat it.

Why would anyone want to know if they still make Bush's Sauerkraut Juice?

I think Dynamints hit the wall when word was passed around that they would give you diarrhea. That's not a feature, that's a bug.

They may still make Gatorade Gum, but it was the worst, because it lost its flavor instantaneously. You got one hit of citrus, followed by the sensation of chewing an inner tube.

You can still get an Aero Bar, only imported. And they're still good- chocolate blasted full of air. Can't go wrong with that. But the list is wrong- they still make Hershey's Krackel Bars, basically a Crunch bar made by Hershey.

No, I wouldn't try anything called "Horehound Lumps." But about 30 years ago, my sister insisted on trying horehound-flavored hard candy she found at a drug store somewhere in upper Bucks County. The experiment did not end well.

Marathon Bars ruled. But there's a decent replacement, the Cadbury Curly-Wurly bar. It's import-only, but Beverages and More has it. (FOr the uninitiated, it's caramel in a braided bar covered with chocolate. Mmmmmm.)

Milkshake Candy Bars were among my favorites- like a Three Musketeers bar, only better. Bring it back, please.

The still make Mr. Pibb. Why, I don't know. I wasn't aware of a need for a Dr. Pepper clone.

RC Premium Draft Cola was really, really good- maybe the best cola in a bottle ever. That wasn't enough to save it. Good stuff, though.

Finally, Whip 'n Chill was an interesting thing. You shook it up and chilled it, and what resulted was a mix of Cool Whip-like topping and gelatin that resembled blood-flecked vomit. Wonder why they don't make it anymore.

OK, enough of that- it's almost time for dinner. Perhaps some Horehound Lumps, with an ice cold mug of sauerkraut juice. Deeeee-licious.


February 7, 2006


More timewasting ahoy! Here are a few scans from the Cincinnati Reds' 1969 yearbook, the "Centennial Edition" and the last full season at Crosley Field. First, let it never be said that Johnny Bench didn't like his meats:

Okay, I'm sorry. Let's redeem ourselves with this ad, which from the 2006 perspective carries a different connotation:

Hmm, so the kids call it "knotholing" nowadays, huh? Father Timmy is trying (maybe a little too hard) to get the parish to buy one of these for his weekend retreats with the altar boys.

I'm sorry again, really, I am. That was uncalled for. By way of apology, herewith, another ad that seems very different from the perspective gained by the intervening decades:

That Schott sold Opels really shouldn't have been a surprise, actually.


February 8, 2006


The winds have been blowing from the desert in this direction, and that means it's like a sauna here- a dry heat with the lingering scent of wood (the result of the brush fires in Orange County and Malibu blowing ash all the way here). And this has sapped every ounce of strength out of me- I made it to the post office with my gym bag in the trunk before deciding that, no, I just didn't have the energy to hit the weights today. I didn't have the energy to go to the post office or bank or Ralphs, either, but I managed. Barely. It's about 7 pm now and I'm just not functioning at my best.

It's also done a number on my attitude. All the traumas of the last few months have caught up with me and I've been moping and generally being a miserable wreck. Intellectually, I know I shouldn't be this down, but I am anyway. Blame it on the weather.

To cheer myself up, then, here's the back cover ad on the Winnipeg Jets 1974-75 media guide from the old World Hockey Association:

I knew K-Tel was headquartered in Winnipeg, but who knew K-Tel was into motels? The photos make the places seem really, deeply unappealing, like Soviet hostels. But the top one, the Viscount Gort, is still around:

So is the middle one:

The third is still there, but I can't tell if it's still a hotel.

The K-Tel Music Hut? You know you'd want to check it out- a whole store full of "the original hits by the (sometimes) original artists!" But it's not there anymore. This is:

I think I'd rather go to the K-Tel Music Hut.


February 9, 2006


Radio continues to commit suicide. Here's a report from Promo magazine:

    Pizza Hut breaks new ground today with a national radio promotion and sampling blitz.

    Pizza Hut will roadblock drive-time programming in 50 markets with a simultaneous one-hour ad buy on 115 radio stations. That hour becomes "The Pizza Hut Free & Cheesy Music Hour," urging listeners to visit Pizza Hut on their drive home for a free slice of Cheesy Bites pizza.


    Pizza Hut gets all commercial pods during the one hour airing tonight on two to five Clear Channel Katz stations in each market. A few spots will tout Cheesy Bites Pizza; programming includes Pizza Hut commentary and pizza trivia.

    At the end of the hour, DJs will give listeners a phone number, 1-877-28-BITES, to call to enter the sweeps. Consumers also can enter in-store, for two weeks after the radio blitz.

So you have a medium that is presently on the ropes and credibility-challenged. People are complaining about the ad content, the lame "personalities," the stale programming. So, what do you do? You let your sales weasels BUY AN ENTIRE HOUR TO PROMOTE SOME CRAP and sell what credibility you have left down the river. Make your afternoon host sound like an idiot spouting bought-and-paid-for "Pizza hut commentary and pizza trivia." Perfect.

If I was a jock on one of these stations and my GM came to me and said I had to do the Pizza Hut hour, I might just kill myself. Or at least quit and look for another job. I hear Pizza Hut might be hiring.


February 10, 2006


I figured it out.

I was listening to one of the more recent additions to the syndicated morning show field and I realized what the problem with the show was. And the more I listened and the more that problem became apparent, I realized that it was a matter that affects personality-intensive radio shows everywhere. It was simple, true, and would be important information to radio programmers looking to develop strong talent and programming.

What was this revelation?

Can't tell you. Won't tell you. Sorry.

And why won't I tell you? Because for the last 20 years, I've freely offered such advice and counsel to broadcasters, the operative word being "freely." And my recompense for such insight? Zero. So, yes, I could offer a great deal of insight to why some of the newest high-profile shows will work and why some won't, what can be fixed and what can't, and what to look for in new talent.

But someone's gonna have to pay me. No more free samples.


February 11, 2006


Just watched a few minutes of the one-man luge.

Finally, a sport where the primary skill necessary for success is the ability to lay down.

Why didn't anyone tell me about this before?


February 12, 2006


Finally got around to watching the "Arrested Development" "finale"- four episodes back-to-back- from Friday. Here's a message to the producers:

End it now.

Don't try to keep it going. Judging by the last four episodes, you don't have much left.

This series was, at its peak, hilarious, unusual, too good for network TV, loaded with great stuff for attentive and savvy viewers. The latest season wasn't as funny as the previous two, but it had its moments, even as the "we know we're in trouble and we're going to load every episode up with self-referential humor" stuff started to overwhelm the rest of the material. The last four episodes, however, contained too few of those moments and too many strained, not all that funny, we-don't-know-how-to-top-ourselves bits, plus some gratuitous anti-war material that just didn't fit and some even more gratuitous "Tobias is gay and doesn't know it" stuff that took the previous seasons' "Tobias is gay and doesn't know it" material and compacted it all into one evening of alleged wackiness that just came across as heavy-handed. The final episode, rushing to a possible/probable/likely conclusion, was mirth-free except for the obvious but still amusing Ron Howard-as-himself cameo. Bottom line: the end wasn't as good as the serious could be.

But let it be the end. The writing fell off a cliff this season, as if they'd run out of places to take the characters, as if they never expected it to last this long. The Charlize Theron arc kinda flopped (oh ho, she's retarded! Ha ha!), and I'm hard pressed to remember anything else other than the episode featuring the "Save the Bluths" party. Let's not save the Bluths, though. Leave them where they are, on a boat headed for Cabo, destined for DVD.


February 13, 2006


(Image From ToonTracker.com)

Computer crashed again. Just suddenly, spontaneously rebooted with no warning- one second, I was just typing in Notepad, and the next, the screen was blanking. There HAS to be a better way to do this.

(Yeah, I know, Mac. Shut up. And when I worked on Macs, they crashed plenty, too- in fact, it was my job to fix them)

Luckily, my All Access daily columns were done and posted. I did lose tomorrow's newsletter, which sucks- it was pretty good. (Here's a preview of what will be in it tomorrow: it'll humorously summarize what I can remember of the lost gem. What? You don't get "The Letter"? Sign up at allaccess.com, make sure you've selected News-Talk or Sports, make sure you accept the ad e-mails, and there you go. You won't be sorry. OK, maybe you WILL be sorry, but do it anyway for your kindly Uncle Perry) But that set other stuff back a lot, and I'm not pleased.

You hear that, Gates and Dell? I'm not pleased! Get this fixed or I'll... I'll... er, try Linux.



February 14, 2006


The longer you're married, the less you really have to do for Valentine's Day to make your spouse happy, which is a good thing, since our heads have been spinning so much with work and medical information and other concerns that neither one of us can really concentrate on doing the holiday right.

But that doesn't matter, because we took a little time and made the effort, and the Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Valentine's Day got done. And that's why there are two customized heart-shaped boxes of See's Candies here, one for each of us.

You want a happy Valentine's Day? A box of Bordeaux, peanut nougats, and peanut clusters for me, a wide assortment of "one of each" for Fran. Pure bliss.

Happy Valentine's Day, Fran. I love you. Candy optional.


February 15, 2006


From the December 1, 1974 Philadelphia Firebirds (North American Hockey League) game program (Firebirds vs. Cape Codders, Philadelphia Civic Center):


Notable: Jack Chipchase appears to be rocking a tribute to the Liberty Bell. Porn 'staches abound, of course, it being 1974 and all. Yes, the Firebirds (part-owned by Phillies legend Robin Roberts!) were a nepotism festival- Ray Schultz was Dave's brother, Dale MacLeish was Rick's bro. Lots of center-parts, and if you were a young guy in 1974, you had a center part. I did. (All pictures of that have been burned, I hope)

Many of these guys look a lot like they could have been among Spinal Tap's deceased drummers. And of Howie Colborne's bird's nest and Tom Young's pile o' hair, let us not speak another word.

But, again, it was 1974, so be gentle with your criticism. We all looked like that back then, kids. And, someday, your 2006 pictures will be posted on someone's web page and people wiill laugh. Guaranteed. It's the way of the world.


February 16, 2006


What does a migraine feel like?

Yeah, like that. I got one of those, right between the eyes.

My head is splitting, my stomach's bloated, and the garlic from the Versailles chicken I ate for dinner is oozing from every pore. Not conducive to writing, I'd say. So I won't.

See you tomorrow.


February 17, 2006


Here's one for basketball fans of a certain age (like, say, mine):

This ran in the 1970 American League Championship Series program, Baltimore edition (Orioles vs. Twins). If you can name the five guys in this ad without looking 'em up, you were probably like me, watching every one of those Sunday afternoon Knicks-Bullets battles on ABC in the late 60's and early 70's, in which that first guy and Dave DeBusschere would absolutely pummel each other for the entire game. They're both gone now; Gus Johnson died relatively young, of a brain tumor. He was one of the toughest players in the NBA.

The second guy had a huge birthmark on his shoulder; he had a nice career in the NBA and then got a law degree at Duke. Here's Jack Marin now:

You gotta know the third guy. He was only 6'7" but seemed at least that wide, too. It's still amazing how much he accomplished on a couple of very bad knees, actually. Here's Wes Unseld now:

And then there's the Pearl.

The last guy's better known now as a coach, especially in the 70's and 80's when he'd wear suits with state-of-the-art flares, and broadcaster. You can read Kevin Loughery's column at CNN-SI here.

Anyway, I noticed this ad and the memories came flooding back, but two other things stood out:

1. Did Jack Marin go to the barber with the Sunday comics, point at Prince Valiant, and say "I want THAT"?

2. Have you seen five guys look this miserable in one ad? They look like they'd rather be anywhere but in front of a camera. This is what you get when you say "okay guys, just a couple more shots. Wes, your arm's dropping, could you keep it a little higher?"

I'd like to think that they proceeded to do to the photographer what Johnson and DeBusschere did to each other.


February 18, 2006


It HAILED! HERE! In Southern California! Right by the ocean!

Here's proof, from this morning, a photo of my car:

There were piles of the stuff along the curb on my running route. The sun came out, the ocean was glistening, and there were hailstones in the gutter.

This is not supposed to happen. Not here.

Good thing it only happens once a decade or so...

(And imagine the panic if there was any REAL accumulation)


February 19, 2006


From the upcoming gallery exhibition "Outhouses Of the Mojave Desert: A Photographic Study":

Tip: when driving through Joshua Tree National Park or any other barren, desolate area, bring plenty of water, make sure you have a spare tire/jack/lug wrench, and you might want to bring a nice big bottle of Purell, because soap ain't part of the equation, if you catch my drift.

By the way, while we drove out to the desert yesterday, we stopped for lunch at the A&W in Cabazon, and all I can say after observing the crowd there is that "My Name Is Earl" is based on fact, although most of the people there resembled Earl's brother Randy than Earl himself. And if you haven't seen that show, watch it next week and you'll understand. Let's put it another way: there was less than a full compliment of teeth for most people in the room, and they were fixated on the TV screens showing the action from Daytona, to go along with their NASCAR attire. They live!


February 20, 2006


Bad day. Bad year.

More bad news, this time from and for a close friend, and I'm wondering if that dark cloud lingering overhead is now starting to cover everyone else. I hope not, but the hits just keep on coming.

Joe, our prayers are with you and your family.

Everyone else, you might want to keep some distance between yourself amd me for a while. It's for your own good.


February 21, 2006


I'm running late again, which means that I don't have time to write much here today and still get to sleep in time to be awakened by a hungry and attention-seeking Ella the World's Most Famous Cat at 2 am, 3 am, and 4 am as usual and still catch enough rest to be coherent tomorrow morning. So just a few notes this evening:

1. Happy Birthday, Fran!

2. Er, that's it. Happy Birthday, Fran!

As a matter of fact, there's still a little time to celebrate, so I'll go now.


February 22, 2006


A gentleman who works at a particular Los Angeles radio station mentioned to me that he's been enjoying the nostalgia features on this here web thing lately, and, just for him, I just happen to have an ad for his very radio station, circa 1966, from the World Series program that year:

It's amusing that KFI's present slogan, "More Stimulating Talk Radio," actually gets a call in this ad, which promises "stimulating conversation," although I doubt they were thinking of the same connotation. And if by "stimulating" they meant "a bunch of old white guys in suits and ties," well, they DEFINITELY didn't mean the same by "stimulating." A few of these guys are still around, including one V. Scully, who, apparently, we'll have around for a few more years.

And that's the first really good news I've heard in several days.


February 23, 2006


More from the 1966 World Series program, with the theme being Vegas in 1966:

Yes, Vegas was then as now the "Fun Spot!", just one hour and $15 later. I didn't know that flights were just $15. back then, but they must have been, because they certainly didn't mean that youy'd only have to spend $15. to have fun there. They counted on you blowing your 1966 paycheck at the tables if you saved money on the trip, and if you won, well, the lady in the picture with her hands spread wide seems pleased and surprised to see your enormous thick bankroll, if you get my drift.

Once you got there, you had plenty of places to stay, what with 25,000 hotel and motel rooms even then. The Fremont looked like the ultimate in new and modern, with 500 "New, Modern Rooms" and "400 Car Inside Parking," where you could leave your car when you arrived to sample "Your Favorite Chinese and American Cuisine" and "The Finest in Entertainment." THis was before Fremont Street degenerated so badly that they had to put a cheesy dome on it and do light shows to distract tourists from the fact that it's still a pit. A pit with way better odds than the Strip, a pit where serious gambling degenerates go to play, but a pit nonetheless. The Fremont's still there, by the way.

And this place was pretty spiffy for the time:

The features of the Dunes included a full golf course and, new in 1964, a massive neon sign. But the place was perpetually financially challenged, and eventually Steve Wynn blew it up. What did he put there? This.

Meanwhile, some other casinos took the occasion to tout the celebrity factor. The Riviera touted a big star of the time:

Okay, she was appearing there at the time, October 1966. But the coming attractions had some major firepower: a young, nervous Barbra Streisand, Satchmo himself, Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher, Tony Martin, Abbe Lane, a pre-meltdown Harry Belafonte, and the immortal Shecky Greene himself. The hotel's still there but perennially on the endangered list. The big name entertainment's moved on, leaving behind the names- there's a show with Barbra and Sinatra impersonators doing "the show that never was," plus "Jay White as Neil Diamond" and "outrageous comedy hypnotist" Dr. Scott Lewis, as well as a La Cage troupe, the latest incarnation of the "Splash" revue, and other not-quite-big-time shows. Mitzi, we hardly knew ye.

But if the Riviera had some big names, check this lineup out:

The Rat Pack- Dean, Frank, Sammy, Joey, and you know Peter Lawford was lurking. Jerry Lewis, ostensibly when Dino wasn't around. Steve and Eydie, Louis Prima, Allen and Rossi ("Hello dere!"), Nipsey... Carol Burnett, Alan King, Red Skelton, Danny Thomas... "That Was The Week That Was" chanteuse Nancy Ames, Corbett Monica, Buddy Greco... Paul Anka... for 1966, that was the apex of Vegas entertainment. But the best thing in this ad was the slogan "So far ahead... it will always be new!" Er, no. It did last 44 years, but it went away in 1996- here's a nice photo gallery from the very end. But the Sands company lives, and lives well: the convention center's still open, and three years after the Sands itself closed, the owners opened this in its place.

I didn't get to Vegas until '95, after the current wave of Strip megaresorts took root. It must have been quite a place in 1966. It's quite a place now.


February 24, 2006


What's that sound?

Another hard drive failure. Crash!

Excuse me while I rescue data and install a new hard drive. There goes the weekend.


February 25, 2006


All freakin' Saturday in fromt of the computer fixing it.

One new hard drive, one valiant attempt to rescue data from a bad hard drive, and lots of software reinstallations. Right now, I'm almost- not quite, but almost- back in business, just about 40 hours after the thing started funkifyin' on me.

There goes my only "day off." sort of, for the week. Yeah, I'm in a bad mood. You would be, too.


February 26, 2006


This weekend, while some people were making like Bun E. Carlos, I was frantically trying to get the computer back to near-normal and catch up on work. Not quite there, and I still have to start packing for a trip later this week for which I am woefully unprepared.

So here's what I've learned this weekend:

Dell sucks.

You are better off doping a problem out yourself than calling Dell and being patched through to some guy in Bangalore who's reading inappropriate solutions out of a book. Had I listened to them, I'd have lost all my data. Instead, I spent a little over a hundred bucks and not only was back up and running with a clean Media Center install within a day, but preserved all my data; now, I have double the hard drive space, which I really didn't need, but a hundred bucks to be up and running within a day is worth the money and effort.

Did I mention Dell sucks?

Of course, the problem is that there's no other way to go, and by that I mean that I'd love to go with Apple but too many programs I need just don't work on Macs, and I'm going to have to wait and see how Intel and OS X play together before switching allegiances. That's not to say that I'm not intrigued. It could happen. Just not yet.

And with that, it's time to do laundry. See you tomorrow.


February 27, 2006


It must be Diversity and Sexual Harassment Seminar season, because I keep hearing about friends having to deal with those interminable scold-fests, from the Clear Channel Atlanta Diversity Training program to a friend having to give "the talk" to the employees at her company this week.

Things were different in 1972. From the NBA All-Star Game program (at the Fabulous Forum in lovely Inglewood, CA):

"Males and females - We've several of both on our programmer/analyst staff. The males are sharp. Ditto the females. But they're a lot prettier- like Miss Dylakor."

Put that in an ad today and watch the fun unfold.

Turns out that if this Dylakor is the same Dylakor mentioned as being acquired by Sterling Software in 1983 in this article, the president of Dylakor was a woman. She did not look like Miss Dylakor, but she apparently had plenty of computer and business knowledge.

Unrelated note: in all but one spot in the program- in the roster, in the picture gallery, everywhere- the name of the Seattle Supersonics' All-Star representative is spelled "Spencer Hayward." Is 34 years too late to let them know it was "Haywood"?


February 28, 2006


I am not good at packing for trips, because I end up carrying more- way more- than any one person should carry. There are extenuating circumstances, of course, because I have extra stuff that has to be lugged.

There's the computer, which is an electronic albatross to which I can't wait to find an alternative- as soon as there's a Treo on Sprint with EVDO and WiFi, a browser that handles the pages I need to access without screwing them up, and a document handler that can read, save, and FTP pages that aren't .doc or .txt files, I'm in business; maybe the HTC PPC-6700 will do that, but I have yet to find one in a store that's been activated so I can test it out and I'm not crazy about the chunky form factor. Still, if the Treo 700 or the HTC phone do the trick, I will be very, very relieved, and my shoulders will be grateful, too.

There's also my exercise habit. I run- more like a plod, but the effect is equally sweaty- and that means packing running shoes, shorts and t-shirts for every day, and, when I'm, as now, headed to cold weather country, sweatshirts and jackets and hats and gloves, all of which add bulk to the luggage.

And there's the jackets and khakis. I don't wear suits and ties, but when I have to do these conventions, my usual t-shirt and jeans attire won't cut it, so I drag out the sports jacket and khakis and dress shoes. Without those, I can stuff a bunch of color t-shirts in a bag, maybe a sweater or two, and I'm good. But I gotta do the jacket thing, so that means stuffing a garment bag with several options, because I always end up short a dress outfit at these things.

So I'm looking at four bags now, the regular case, the garment bag, the computer briefcase, and the tote bag in which I throw the running shoes, noise-cancelling headphones, and other stuff I'll need on the plane. Good thing the big bags have wheels, but it's still a lot to lug. One day, I'll figure out how those frequent flyers who seem to breeze through airports with a simple carry-on and a briefcase do it. Right now, that's not an option.


About February 2006

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in February 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2006 is the previous archive.

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