April 2011 Archives


Some days, you don't want to write anything more at the end of the day. This is one of those days, since I spent all day writing. So here's something from earlier this week: A fledgling animator decided to try his hand at animating a clip from the Nerdist Podcast. He took a brief clip from the Kevin Smith interview in which Matt Mira gets a little exercised over the movie "National Treasure," and he gave it the "RIcky Gervais Show"-type treatment, with cutaways and animation of the things Matt describes. It even has credits and everything. Here it is:

He was wondering if he should pursue animation further, like as a career. Yes, I think so.

So I spent the whole day at the Worldwide Radio Summit, which is a new convention co-sponsored by my folks at AllAccess.com and which turned out to be a pretty substantial success. Tickets were sold out, the room was filled, the panels went over well, people were furiously networking, and they even had good sandwiches for lunch. It's really the spiritual successor to the old R&R conference, and the combination of strong talent for the panels, including a lot of people who haven't been common to conventions, and the trendy location of the W Hollywood hotel gave the whole thing an aura of success. I'm not saying that because AllAccess.com employs me -- talk radio isn't really part of the event this year, so it's not my thing. It's a music conference, and I don't have a lot to do with the music side of things. I even skipped the evening cocktail party and the live bands, who are playing right now as I'm preparing to just go to sleep. There was just a feeling that this is working, and that there'll be more to come.

Oh, yeah, this guy was at lunch:

Yep, Nikki Sixx, of Motley Crue fame, now hosting a radio show, so his presence 10 feet away from me wasn't quite random. More tomorrow.


This used to scare the hell out of me:

We didn't get channel 13 from New York very well where I grew up, and until New Jersey Network -- at first, "Jerseyvision" -- signed on, there were no other options (channel 12 hadn't moved to the Roxborough antenna farm in Philadelphia yet, and Glassboro, where the old tower was at the time, was way too far away for a signal) for public television. Being the child of a public school teacher and administrator, though, I was going to end up watching educational TV whether I wanted to or not. In the pre-"Sesame Street" days, there was Misterogers, and there were other rather fey kiddie shows, and I didn't like them much -- I preferred the crassly commercial stuff like "Wonderama" and "The Sandy Becker Show." And there was that logo... dark, foreboding, alien. Hardly cheery and kid-friendly. It came on, I dove to change the channel. Interesting to see the logo now; it looks pretty cheesy and rudimentary, even for 1968.

And even scarier was this:

I had nightmares from that owl, even the blurry, snowy version I saw through our bad reception. No wonder I still don't watch much public television.


Today's schedule: Work. Haircut. Returned fan to Lowe's, only to have clerk figure out how to get cap off so that I COULD assemble the thing, go back home, assemble the fan, work, work, watch Sixers lose a tough one, 31 cent scoops at Baskin-Robbins, work.

The Sixers game was disappointing but inspiring at the same time. That team was not ticketed to do anything and gave Miami all it could handle to the very end. A little better shooting by Iguodala, more consistency from Lou Williams (yeah, I know) and Thaddeus Young, if Turner made that easy shot at the end... but whatever. They lost, but as nobly as they could, and there's hope for the future. See? Just like that and I'm back with the NBA, just in time for a lockout.

The rest of this week should be interesting, seeing as how I'll have to combine regular work with a convention at which my only role will be to sit in a corner banging out news coverage and tweets about it while people on stage discuss things about which I'm allegedly an expert. I'm expecting quite the out-of-body experience.


I would list for you the indignities of the day, which culminated in the purchase of a desk fan and subsequent discovery that it was impossible -- literally -- to assemble, but I would prefer to just end the day. Besides, as the meme goes, my problems tend to be First World Problems. I caught myself complaining about one of the various troubles I faced to a friend, and it struck me that it was like complaining that First Class ran out of Grey Poupon. I'll live.

Besides, the Flyers survived the first round tonight despite never quite settling on a goaltender, and while the Phillies continue to not hit and Oswalt just didn't have it tonight, it's way too early to panic. And the Sixers remain alive and have accomplished more than anyone expected already. That's all good. Plus all the roof-over-my-head decent-health job-family-freedom things. So, enough complaining for now. There's plenty of time for that later in the week.


My father, Harold Simon, would have been 80 today, and had he lived to see this day, I know what he would have wanted to do. He would have wanted to do exactly what he did when he turned 70, and 60, and any day in between. He'd have been out on the tennis court, preferably in the middle of a hot South Florida afternoon, playing all day. And I would have done whatever I could do to be there with him, at least watching, if not playing.

He often told me his ultimate goal, which was to be just like Hank Beck. Hank Beck was a guy at the YMHA in Wayne, New Jersey; He was in his 80s and still played tennis every day. He couldn't hit very hard, but he'd get the ball back, and much younger players would be infuriated by their inability to beat him. That was what Dad saw himself doing, and had mesothelioma not gotten in his way, I have no doubt he'd be doing just that, then jumping into the pool and shooting baskets at a water basketball hoop. That's all he wanted out of life, and I'm grateful that, in his last years, he got to do that, all day, every day.

But he didn't make it to 80, and that's a shame. He would have made a great Hank Beck. I know he made a great father. Happy 80th birthday, dad.


Too late tonight. Was under the weather (again) today, slept part of the afternoon away (I managed to see the SIxers hold on to beat the Heat and caught the last few innings of the Phillies' win in San Diego, but missed the Flyers win and missed most everything else) , and then had to work late to catch up. I'm still not caught up, but I'm out of time.

I realize this site's become more excuse than content. I'll get the balance back soon. Bear with me....

1960... IN COLOR

Too cool not to share: from January 11, 1960, "The Steve Allen Plymouth Show," on NBC... in color!:

This is a rarity from color videotape. There's not much color videotape left from the early days, because it was sexensive and they reused it. But YouTube user musicom67 has posted this. It's an example of what passed for entertainment, 50 years ago, the way only those fortunate enough to own color TVs saw it back then:

THey get those car commercials in there, don't they? Product placement is nothing new. Here's more of that:

We're missing part 4, but you get the idea. Seeing TV the way people really saw TV back then gives you more of a read on what life was like than any history book.


So I get to the end of the week, a long one during which I was sick for most of it and just exhausted by the end, and all I really want to do is collapse on the couch in front of the TV and watch the Flyers-Sabres, which as I write this is entering overtime, but I can't watch it. Why?

Cable's out. Partially. Only many of the channels I want to watch.

Verizon FiOS is generally a pretty good service. The Internet speeds are great, and the channel selection is OK; they could add more HD channels, but they'll come, and in the meantime, the picture quality's fine and I'm happy. But today's the day they chose to screw up. I discovered it first at lunchtime, when I popped the TV on in the kitchen, went to channel 86 for MLB Network, and got a "Channel Not Available" screen. I thought it was a temporary thing, changed to the news on channel 9, and didn't think anything of it.

At dinnertime, I decided to check in on the start of the Flyers game, and it took me a few minutes to remember who'd be carrying the game. Ah, right, Versus. I went to that channel... nothing. I tried NHL Network -- not there. MLB was still gone. TBS, TNT, even KOCE-TV, the local PBS affiliate, all gone. I tried the HD box in the living room. Nope. We get some channels, but not all. I called, and it turned out that there's an area-wide outage with estimated repair time at some point on Saturday. Maybe.


So I'm going to miss the hockey. At least ESPN's coming in for basketball. And, yes, this is definitely a First World Problem. But I don't ask for much. And if I'm paying what I have to pay for FiOS, I want what I want, especially at the end of a week like this. Harrumph.


What's today?

Thursday. Correct.

What does that mean?

Column deadline. Also correct.

What? Yes, also that I'm running behind and haven't even started the column and it's already 9 pm and overdue. You're getting very good at this.

It's one of those weeks again. I have a couple of ideas for the column, and I won't know if either works until I start writing it. So... what am I doing over here?

Yes, procrastinating, just as I procrastinated by using one eye to watch the Sixers run out of gas against Miami tonight while Andre Iguodala turned back into Andre Iguodala. Very observant of you.

I will stop stalling now, and will try to at least get a paragraph written before falling asleep. It's the least I can do for my sanity.


Out this evening with great friends. Too late to write anything.

Tomorrow: Need to write the weekly column and the daily column and news for All Access and pieces for Nerdist. My head hurts just thinking about it.

So I won't. Not tonight, at least.


The cobwebs began to clear a little today. I'm still feeling under the weather -- there's some residual coughing, congestion, general blah-ness -- but, slowly, I'm feeling better, even trying a short run today. All good signs.

Yet work went about as slow as it could go. Nothing flowed easy, and I spent a lot of time staring at the screen wondering why no words were coming to mind. My mind's running a little slow.

But the good thing is that I feel marginally better. If the coughs come further apart tomorrow, I'll call it a victory.


Day 3, still sick. Can't shake this thing. Can't rest, though; too much work.

Believe me, this is more annoying to me than it is to you.


Nope. Still sick.

I HAVE to be better tomorrow, for work. So, I hope, I'll be able to give you something more than this dashed-off apology stuff. In the meantime, however, this is what I have. This and a cough and scratchy throat and the feeling like someone dropped a barbell on my head.



Maybe tomorrow.


Oh, I thought I'd gotten away with it. I didn't get sick after last year's conventions, and I didn't get sick after CES. But this time, the Convention Crud nailed me. I felt it when I woke up this morning, a soreness in my throat that got worse and worse and by lunchtime it was a full-blown... thing. I'm not sure if this is a cold, the flu, or what, but I feel awful, and since I haven't really been out anywhere with people except for the NAB Show, I'm chalking this up to the Convention Crud. Ugh.

That means I gotta go lay down. I have a lot to do tomorrow, so I'll probably post something here, but if I don't, that's why. Now, if you'll excuse me...

This was one of my favorite toys:

Spirograph was usually awesome for the first few times you used it, and for short periods at that. Once you got the hang of it, you could make very cool, colorful patterns. And then you'd look at them and think, well, okay, I did that, and, um, now what? But I liked it anyway, because it just looked cool. I'd pull it out every once in a while and play with it. I'd do it now if I had one. They DO still sell it, right?



I got out of Vegas this morning and hit the road, and it was relatively uneventful. Actually, it was stupefyingly boring; I was getting a little woozy by the time I hit Mountain Pass. I amused myself by punching the buttons of the car radio to see what I could get but I was disappointed to note that the old Highway Stations, which used to be reliable for cheesy Vegas and Laughlin casino ads and features and traffic reports dropped between mainstream Adult Contemporary schlock music have become a poorly produced Top 40-lite called "The Highway." It used to be the only choice, and then there were country and rock equivalents, and then some more stations were dropped in, and some of the Vegas stations moved to Mt. Potosi and could be heard clear to Barstow, and satellite and iPods came in and made the "only thing on the dial" irrelevant. But I still checked them out, and checked to see how far from San Diego I could get their stations (answer: pretty damn far, not consistent but identifiable).

And then there was KRSX. KRSX is a station licensed to Yermo, the town between Barstow and Baker, and it was an oldies station for Barstow before it went silent a year or two ago. It was sold and the plan was to move it to Twentynine Palms to become a Palm Springs market station, but that hasn't been built yet, and they probably had to put the thing back on the air temporarily to keep the license alive. That's the only rational explanation for what I heard, which was an incredibly poor selection of oldies veering all over the genre and era map -- "Forever in Blue Jeans," Herman's Hermits, "Get Up and Boogie" -- with a half-assed ID or PSA after every other song, complete with the legal ID (if you do the legal ID in the automation every four or five minutes, you're bound to run one at the proper top-of-the-hour time). It was bad radio. It was also mesmerizing, because I wanted to hear every variation of "You're listening to KRSX-FM Yermo" and see if it ever changed into a real format. A little past Barstow, just after the outlet center, KIOZ from San Diego suddenly burst in and took over the frequency, and by that time I still hadn't heard anything but poorly-chosen oldies, IDs, and PSAs.

It was bad radio, but I'll give it one thing: It kept me awake from Baker to Barstow.

Later, when I was trapped in traffic on the 605 and listening to the drone of a talk show on KPCC, I wished I was still listening to the temporary oldies. Sometimes, bad is a good thing.


So, um, yeah, I didn't post here.

I was busy. The NAB Show in Las Vegas is one of my recurring nightmares -- too much to cover at once, and with practically no time to decompress. The stuff I have to cover is concentrated in two days, and I have to do my other work, too. The result is that I see the inside of the Las Vegas Convention Center/Hilton/Renaissance and my hotel, and that's about it. No fun at all.

But there's something else. Twitter lends itself to observations as they happen, and I did tweet some of those during the show. Once that's done, there's nothing much left to say.

That's all a bunch of excuses, of course, but I just wanted to explain the absence. The convention? Mostly talk about spectrum crunches and bandwidth auctions and 3D. Some of it was interesting, a lot of it was boring. Most of the interesting radio stuff happened across the street at the RAIN Summit on Monday. By the end, my mind was melting. There's the wrap. I'm ready to go home. Happy? I am.

I'm here tonight.

It looks a lot different now.

Now, it's all huge high-rise resorts and Kardashian sister appearances. (Really.) Back then, it was low-rise hotels, tail fins on your Caddy, and Louis and Keely tearing the roof off the place. I wonder what it'll look like in another 50 years.


I gotta take care of things before I go to Vegas, so, um, I don't know, watch Dick Clark's obscure and boring first game show, "The Object Is," from 1963. Hey, it has interesting commercials and Hans Conried:

NAB Show coming up. I'm already bored.


I would have posted something of substance here today, but what I posted just now at Nerdist is the kind of thing I'd normally post here. Rather than duplicate it, it makes more sense to direct you there, where you'll find a few examples of the kind of bad music I accumulated over the years in radio, in the form of three singles from my vinyl collection. They are decidedly not my favorite songs.

Click here to be transported to the 1980s, where you'll hear songs about Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, surfing the Philadelphia subways, and a girl who eschews casual sex. They don't make records like those anymore... I hope.

BUSY (b)

No, turns out that today was even more busy than yesterday. No time for this.

Maybe tomorrow. Although today WAS productive in that I acquired a new tooth (okay, a crown), The dead animal's still decomposing somewhere in the crawlspace. Update tomorrow.

I have no idea what happened to the time today, other than that I had a lot to do and ended up here at the end of the day without having completed anything and wondering how that could be.

I'm wiped. We'll see about tomorrow, which includes another trip to the dentist -- what fun! -- and a column I'll need to crank out. Plus more. Not promising.


I just got a first run through of a project done and shipped off, so that's one down. I've a lot more to do, though. Which is to say that, once again, I'm done for the evening.

Tomorrow? We'll see. Hope so.


I don't have to tell anyone that tonight's NCAA men's basketball championship game stank. The shooting, especially Butler's, was epically, world-record bad.

The antidote? 26 years ago, when Villanova seemed unable to miss a shot:

Aaaahhhhh. Yes. MUCH better.


Another Chicago relic from the Internet Archive, this one from December 1950 on WENR-TV (now WLS-TV) and the ABC network, the "Mary Hartline Show":

Mary Hartline was a heartthrob on early television, especially for her stint on "Super Circus" on ABC. This episode from Christmas time includes a butchering of "Deck the Halls" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," Chet Roble (a Chicago jazz musician who also appeared on Studs Terkel's "Studs' Place" improvised sitcom) at the piano, an Ub Iwerks cartoon, and gifts galore. The kid who got the toy TV looks miserable.

This episode turns up variously marked as 1950, 1951, and 1954. The earliest seems right. And she's still alive, by the way, 81 years old.


How about this relic from the Internet Archive? The news on WNBQ-TV (now WMAQ-TV) Chicago, March 17, 1949:

The graphics -- hand-drawn -- are unique, as is the method of giving the basketball scores, written one number at a time on little maps of Illinois. This is what TV looked like before videotape, before practically everything.

Clifton Utley was at NBC in Chicago from 1932 through 1959. You might know his son Garrick as the longtime TV newsman, and his wife Frayn was also a reporter.


I have no idea where all the time went, but I'm still behind -- I got my column in on time, but I'm late on another project and more to do. And it's Friday night.

You want some writing? I wrote a long wrapup of the week that merges nerdy stuff and baseball. Read it here. Can't do much more tonight.

March 2012

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    Perry Michael Simon. Talk radio guy. Editor of the News-Talk-Sports section at AllAccess.com. Editor and writer at Chris Hardwick's Nerdist.com. Former Program Director, Operations Manager, host, and general nuisance at KLSX/Los Angeles, Y-107/Los Angeles, New Jersey 101.5. Freelance writer on media, sports, pop culture, based somewhere in the Los Angeles area. Contact him here. Copyright 2003-2012 Perry Michael Simon. Yeah.

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