Paul Harvey: 1918 – 2009

We lost a radio broadcasting legend on Saturday. Paul Harvey died at the age of 90. I remember listening to him while eating my breakfast as a kid or riding in the car to school. Throughout my adult life, my ability to listen has come and gone as his show has moved to different stations and my schedule has shifted to different times. But he never failed bringing a smile to my face or keeping me on the edge my seat with “The Rest of the Story.” He had a distinctive voice and delivery method that will never be matched. He will be missed.

Six Degrees of Separation

Many of you may have heard of the six degress of separation. That is, the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is no more than six “steps” away from each person on Earth.

I have discovered the following celebrities within my 6 degrees:

Do you guys have any fun celebrity connections? Do tell.

Kate Miller-Heidke: A Fresh, New Sound?

I was just randomly surfing around through YouTube tonight…looking for something off the wall and downright silly. Well, I found it and perhaps found a new singer to add to my list of favorites: Kate Miller-Heidke. She’s a 27-year-old Australian that originally trained in opera (puke), but then came to her senses and is now working in pop (better).

She has a completely unique sound and a quirky manner about her that I absolutely love. Check out her video for Can’t Shake It:

Like that one? Test drive Words…I think it has an even more unique sound.

Are you still with me? Then check out this “ballad”–Make It Last.

So what do you think? Maybe I’m out of my mind (okay, I know I am), but her style and sound clicked with me instantly. I’ll have to let you know if I still feel the same way after a few days.

New Year’s Eve Review

Okay, I’m a few days late on this, but we left town early New Year’s Day and I didn’t have time to post until now.

It ended up being a quiet evening at home with just the Younger Daughter and me. We watched several episodes of the X-Files on DVD and had some snacks (since we didn’t eat nearly enough on Thanksgiving and Christmas) as we waited for the big moment.

We tuned into Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. I have enjoyed the show every since I can remember. However, it’s starting to get on my nerves for a couple of reasons.

Ok, let me get this out of the way first. A quick shout out to Dick Clark: enough is enough. Please, please, please fade into the sunset. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of his. I have enjoyed almost all of his ventures throughout the years: American Bandstand, the $100,000 Pyramid, TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes, etc. He is a truly legendary host.

I was very moved when he came back that first year. I admired his strength and courage in working and fighting to make it back on the show just over a year after his stroke. However, it’s now just sad to see what sounds and looks like death on a stick each year.

I realize that it is likely very frustrating to him. I think that he is all there mentally, but he is trapped in a broken body. But please pass the baton to Ryan Seacrest once and for all and leave us with the memories of that young, vibrant 74-year-old that hosted the show for New Year’s 2004.

Next up: Kelli Pickler. She was the reporter on the street mingling and talking with the crowd. What the heck is up with this chick? I have heard some of her music and can take it or leave it. This was the first time I had seen her outside of a musical setting. Holy cow, this girl needs a sedative. I’ve never seen anyone so constantly bubbly in my life. I really believe that if she cut herself, she would bleed syrup and honey.

The music was okay…nothing spectacular. Taylor Swift put on a pretty good performance and even bared her arms in the 1-degree windchill weather. The Pussycat Dolls…I think they sang…but mostly provided some very nice eye candy. Lionel Richie…hmmm…maybe another one that should fade into the sunset. He performed an unimpressive medley of his 80s hits. Again, I would rather have remembered what I heard and saw back then. It was at least tolerable. Then there was the Jonas Brothers. My ears are just now recovering from the ear-piercing scream of the Younger Daughter when they were announced. ‘Nuff said.

Happy New Year!

I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Rollerskates Parody

In an earlier post, I railed against the hideousness that is the song I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Rollerskates. A lot of people have criticized me for this and that’s fine. This is my blog and I’ll say what I want thank you very much.

Matt has joined in the fun by pointing out this parody of the the song–Combine Harvester by The Wurlzers. I think that I actually like the parody–it’s so bad that it’s good.

I Kissed a Girl Parody

You may recall that I complained about how much I hate the song I Kissed a Girl in a previous post.

However, I’m always a big fan of a good parody. Check out this parody of the song. Thanks to Licensed to Blog for this.

Birthday Concert Addendum

Despite the tsunami of negativity in my previous post (Concert Rants), the concert was actually awesome. I didn’t include the most awesome thing of all that happened. It’s a long story, but we had to take separate vehicles to get there. While waiting for the rest of the family, the Older Daughter dropped by the sponsoring radio station’s booth and signed up for a contest to win an upgrade to front-and-center seats.

Well, as we were about to be seated, she got a call that she had won! So she and The Wife sat in the front row and had a great time. It was an added treat for The Wife on her birthday.

Concert Rants

Several nights ago, the whole family took The Wife to the Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson concert at Taco Bell Arena. This was to celebrate her (mumble)th birthday. It was a great concert. We’ve have been Reba fans for years and Kelly Clarkson is also quite a talented performer.

However, attending this concert reminded me of some of the things that really bother me about the whole concert experience. Mostly, I’m reminded that people suck. Anyway, here are a few of the things that bug the heck out of me:

  • Okay, does the security check really accomplish anything other than slowing me down, driving ticket prices higher, and giving the ignorant a false sense of security? The Wife had to open up her bag, but the revolver I had in my jacket pocket went completely unnoticed. (No, I didn’t really have a weapon. But I would have gotten through with no problem with one.)
  • What’s with these people that have to leave their seats like 57 times during the concert? They paid $60 to see this thing and they are leaving every 5 minutes for food, drinks, potty breaks, or whatever. Sit your butt down and watch the concert. I’ll give you just one courtesy coupon to leave your seat over and above intermission.
  • Then there’s those three gals (yes, call me sexist but they usually are of the female persuasion) sitting behind me at every concert that talk and giggle the whole time. Again…you paid $60 for this experience. Shut up and watch.
  • Oh, and then there’s that guy that can do the really loud fingers-in-the-mouth whistle thing. He always seems to do it as I turn an ear his way and it is so loud that it physically hurts. I’m always tempted to break this guy’s fingers. But maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t know how to do it.
  • How about that one lady? You know her. She’s in her late 60s, maybe early 70s. She has her fingers in her ears the whole time and is scowling over how loud it is. Hellooooo. Concerts are loud. Get over it. It wasn’t a good concert unless your ears rang for several days.
  • Okay, let me reiterate an earlier point. You paid 60 hard-earned dollars to attend this event. You’ve gone through the hassle of parking, long walks, security checkpoints, as well as the other pinheads I’ve already discussed above. After all this, you decide to leave before the concert is over? What form of insanity are you in the grips of? For $60, security will be dragging me out at about 2am after the place is all cleaned up and they are trying to lock the place up and go home.
  • Finally, what is with this stupid encore fiasco? What a stupid, contrived little game we all play. I imagine that in the early days of concerts (whenever that was) that the crowd loved a performance so much, that their excessive applause genuinely made an act decide to sing a few more songs. But now, we all know that it’s a given. The house lights don’t go up when the act says goodbye. More importantly, they have not yet played the 2-4 songs that we really want to hear. Cut the crap and just do the concert. Let’s end the encore game.

It really was a good concert, but I had to get these things off my chest. They’ve been bugging me literally for decades. Thanks for listening!

Man Club Membership Suspension

Our best friends visited us this weekend. The male of the couple was talking about some very interesting celebrity story. When I asked him where he heard about it, he replied “The Oprah Show”. The reason that I cannot remember what he was talking about, is that the mention of The Oprah Show caused an immediate erasure of any memories associated with reference to the show.

I demanded the immediate surrender of his Man Club card pending official ruling by the Supreme Council of Men on the matter. I don’t believe that a male can willingly view The Oprah Show for any period of time and still retain his membership. I don’t care if Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, and Pamela Anderson are appearing and if the FCC has temporarily suspended it’s standards to allow nudity. A man simply cannot view this show.

Your thoughts?

What Day is it Anyway?

DITH will be reporting to you for the next week from our branch in sunny rainy Hawaii Portland. Most often, I’ll typing my posts while sipping margaritas Diet Mountain Dew from the beach a cramped spare room. My nerves will be soothed frayed by waves crashing gently on the shore screaming kids and barking dogs.

Having said all that, I am actually having a wonderfully relaxing time so far. We arrived on Saturday. So far, we have mostly visited with family, watched TV, slept in, and eaten. The most exciting thing we have done so far is visit the IKEA store this afternoon–yes that legendary vacation destination.

I’m seriously not complaining though. I woke up this morning and didn’t even really know what day it was. That’s a fantastic feeling. I’m also not wearing a watch and don’t know or care what time it is.

The past few months have been tough and the remainder of this year could prove even more interesting. So I’m really looking forward to just unplugging from all the negative stuff going on–just for a few days. However, I’ll try not to disappoint my devoted followers. I plan on checking in with any interesting things that happen. Stay tuned.

Mary Ann Busted for Pot

Ginger or Mary Ann? It’s a classic question to ask guys. Ok, gals can answer too if you want…that’s okay. As for me, I was always partial to Mary Ann. I much prefer the more natural girl-next-door look to the 29-pounds-of-make-up look.

Anyway, former Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells (playing Mary Ann Summers) is now a resident of Driggs, Idaho, where she owns a ranch. Back in October, 2007, she attended a surprise birthday party. On the way home, a Teton county sheriff pulled her over after noticing her swerving back and forth on the road. As the officer approached the car, he noticed that all 4 windows were down on a cold October night and that Ms. Wells was not wearing a jacket. Oh, apparently there was some sort of marijuana smell also. They had a conversation that went something like this (this may be totally made up, but based loosely on the actual facts of the case):

Deputy Gutierrez: Good evening ma’am. So why am I smelling marijuana smoke coming from your vehicle?

Ms. Wells: Hmmm? What? Oh, well you see, I was headed home from the surprise birthday party my friends had for me. Along the way, I saw these 3 guys that needed a ride. I’m 69 years old and routinely pick up young hitchhikers at night. So I picked them up and was giving them a ride to Driggs. Almost instantly, they all lit up marijuana cigarettes. I was outraged! I immediately pulled over and kicked them out of my car. They put out their smokes and were nice enough to put them in the ashtray and center console so as not to mess up my car.

Deputy Gutierrez: Wait, so what’s this container with a half-smoked joint and some unsmoked marijuana?

Ms. Wells: Well duh, the hitchhikers left it here.

Deputy Gutierrez: Ma’am, I need you to step out of the car please.

Somehow she failed her field sobriety test and was arrested on the counts of: driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphenalia, and possession of a controlled substance. In a plea deal reached on February 29, these 3 charges were dropped and she pleaded guilty to reckless driving. In the end, she served 5 days in jail, paid $410.50 in fines, and will have 6 months of unsupervised probation.

 http://www.ktvb.com/news/localnews/stories/ktvbn-mar1108-mary_ann.44494e42.html

A 24 Fix is in the Works

I cried inconsolably for days when I heard that season 7 of Fox’s 24 would not air at all this year–instead delayed until January of 2009. I have been suffering severe withdrawals ever since.

Fox recently provided a glimmer of hope by announcing a “preqeul” that will bridge the gap between seasons 6 and 7. This two hour show will air this fall and serve to ease some of the withdrawal pains prior to season 7 commencing in January, 2009.

Also, to the producers: You’ve had plenty of time with this extra year off. Make sure 24 doesn’t suck this year. If it does, season 7 will be the last one.

Childhood Flashback: Saturday Nights

As a child, I lived in a small town and we were pretty poor. So Saturday nights were pretty simple. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m actually thinking back on those nights with a great deal of fondness. The evening largely revolved around watching TV. Let’s take a look at the Saturday evening lineup that dominated most of my first 12 years:

  • Wild Kingdom: Marlin Perkins was a pioneer of wildlife shows filmed in the field. He set the stage for the many shows that would follow–arguably even the development of the Animal Planet network. I have always loved animals, so I enjoyed his weekly adventure in the wild. Having said that, he certainly was not as brave as people like Steve Irwin. Do you remember that he would be hovering in the safety of his helicopter while his staff would do much of the dirty, dangerous work? Just an observation. I also remember the annoying Mutual of Omaha (the show’s title sponsor) commercials . I can still hear the song to this day: “Mutual of Omaha is people…you can count on when the going’s rough.”
  • Hee Haw: This was a corny, but enjoyable, country variety show. It had a mix of country music, comedy skits, and corny jokes and puns. For most of the years, I enjoyed the corny entertainment. However, as my teen years approached, I also developed an appreciation for the buxom Southern belles that adorned the show.
  • Lawrence Welk: This was another variety show, but more sophisticated than Hee Haw (okay, that’s not saying much). It was also corny, but on a different level. I see it today and say to myself: “What were you thinking?” Yet every year, when PBS has it’s annual fundraiser, I find myself watching the Lawrence Welk special and enjoying the quick trip back 30 years.
  • Portland Wrestling: Prior to the 80s, “professional” wrestling was largely a local affair. Each large city had its own wrestling association. The matches were held in relatively shabby buildings. The wrestlers were gritty, working-class guys that just wanted to beat the crap out of each other. Of course, it was just as fake back then as today. However, it seemed more realistic than today’s highly commercialized, glamorous, wrestling productions. We lived in western Oregon at the time, so we tuned in to Portland Wrestling every Saturday night without fail. Throughout the 80s, these local venues slowly faded away. Very few of the wrestlers were able to make the transition to the new, highly polished package of the new professional wrestling. One notable exception was one that you might recognize. Former wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura got his start in Portland back in the 70s. I even have his autograph from attending a live event!

Another memorable part of Saturday night: popcorn. I’m not talking about microwave popcorn or a popcorn machine–I’m talking about cooking it in a pan! First, pour in enough oil to cover the pan bottom. Next, add the corn–but not too much or it will push the lid off during popping and popcorn will go every where. Once the corn starts to pop, slide the pan frenetically back and forth across the burner to keep it from burning. When the popping stops, dump the popcorn into a bowl. Top it off with melted butter and a few shakes of salt. It may just be fond memories, but I don’t think any of our “modern” methods of cooking popcorn has yet topped the popcorn I last had over 20 years ago now.

If you grew up during the 80s or after, this may have been a fairly boring post for you. But for those of you that lived through the 70s, I’m hoping that I was able to spark a fond memory that you haven’t thought about for awhile. Feel free to reply with your own Saturday night memories or post your own and give me a shout back.

The Death of 24?

I discovered 24 about 3 years ago. I rented the DVDs and loved them. I watched the past couple of seasons pretty much live (instead of the usual TiVo I do with other shows) with the Older Daughter and loved it. Last season kind of sucked, but I had hopes that season 7 would turn things around. Then we had the writer’s strike, Kiefer Sutherland spent time in jail, then we found out that 24 would be delayed to 2009, and now we find out that co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow has left 24. Is there any chance that 2009 isn’t 24’s last season?

Hangin’ Tough?

Thanks to John for this one.

I had to check the calendar on this story. I was sure it had to be April 1st and someone was pulling my leg. Unfortunately, it’s not April Fool’s Day. So now, reason #159 that this country is doomed: The New Kids on the Block are reuniting. According to the People article:

“Eighteen years later, they’re still “Hangin’ Tough.” The oldest “Kid,” Jonathan Knight, now a real estate developer, will turn 40 later this year. Since the band’s demise, former members Donnie Wahlberg, 38, and Joey McIntyre, 35, have seen acting success, while Danny Wood, 38, has worked as a music producer and Knight’s brother, Jordan, 37, has continued to record.”

A side note: For truth in advertising, shouldn’t they change their name to “Middle Age Guys in the Suburbs”? 

My best friend’s sister was a complete NKOTB freak. Her room was a shrine to the band. I think that she had every single promotional item available. I never got it…probably because I’m a guy.

Ok, so my guilty pleasure during my high school/early college years was Debbie Gibson. Yes, that’s right. Go ahead and laugh for awhile. Then resume reading…I’ll wait. I had all of her tapes (I can hear my kids asking: Dad, what are cassette tapes?), a VHS tape of a concert, and I even attended a concert in Tri-Cities, Washington. But that was it…I didn’t do the shrine thing…no posters or any of that stuff.

Anyway, I need to run. I need to see if Debbie Gibson is planning a comeback.

So tell me, what is your most embarrassing favorite singer/group from your younger days?

Let’s Dance

The Wife, the Younger Daughter, and I went to see Riverdance at the Morrison Center tonight. As a card-carrying member of the Man Club, I am legally restricted to very minimal interest in dance. This is a good thing. I don’t need, nor want, much dancing in my life. Riverdance is my guilty pleasure in the area of dance.

I freely admit that I do like Riverdance. They put on an amazing show. I think that each performer burns about 25,000 calories during the performance. Their feet are moving at an astonishing pace. I’m impressed with the near-athleticism of the performers and amazing choreography involved. That’s the part I enjoy and that’s where it begins and ends. I think there is some sort of story involved (yawn) and there are the occasional musical interludes between dances (extra sleep time for me). They also bowed like 27 times at the end. Give it up. Yes, we know you are awesome. Get off the stage so I can go home!

Don’t let my (occasionally negative?) comments stop you from seeing this show. It is very good.