Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Question: Is there a better TV intro. than this one? Answer: No

Grand TV intro's. They're an endangered species nowadays. Maybe a quick flash of the actors/actresses names, the creator's name, title (sometimes), maybe even a licensed song. But I remember a time, a time as a young boy in the late 70's and early-mid 80's when just about every TV show had a full blown intro. with original music and everything. A little 30 - 90 second "welcome back" every week just for Me, the TV viewer.

I wax nostalgic at this time, because, well, it's easier than waxing my truck! (*Pause for uncontrollable laughter*....mmmkay, then). But seriously folks, I wax nostalgic because I realize just how lucky I was to grow up during a time of such great craftsmanship.

No better craftsmanship was displayed than what those gifted editing masterminds forged into the greatest TV intro, ever - The Six Million Dollar Man.

That dang thing just gets cooler and cooler as the years go by! Everytime I see it, I want to drop everything that I'm doing and watch a full episode right then and there. But then I realize - it's not the 70's anymore...and the dang show has yet to come out on Region 1 DVD. Sure, the folks over in Europe get to watch all The Six Million Dollar Man they want on their fancy-Euro Region 2 DVD's, but I, a tax-paying, law-abiding American, cannot yet re-live the exploits of one Steve Austin! Where is the justice in that?...where, I ask you, where?!

I mean, I still have my Steve Austin doll - er - action figure with red jumpsuit! And, yeah, I'll admit it, I still like to look through the little Bionic Eye peephole on the back of his head while making the Bionic Eye's Bionic Magnifying sound! Yeah - I'm still that cool!....and, um, yeah, I'm still that single...*ahem*.

Anyhoo, while I'm on topic, coming in a close 2nd on my "Great TV Show Intro's" list is the one for a little cartoon known as - Battle of the Planets! Between this epic opening and the one for the original (and still superior) Battlestar Galactica, I was able to satisfy my Star Wars pangs during 1978 - a year in which my little 4-year old mind could not yet fathom such great inventions as: Cable TV, VCR's, DVD's, and high-speed Internet, in which I could watch all the Star Wars I could handle.

There are many more great TV intro's I could rave about, from the 70s' Starsky and Hutch, Emergency!, CHiPs, The Jeffersons, Good Times, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, Happy Days, Three's Company, Eight is Enough, Dallas, Buck Rogers; transitioning into the 80s' Dukes of Hazzard, Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life, Silver Spoons, A-Team, The Greatest American Hero, MacGyver, Cheers, Family Ties, Growing Pains, etc.

But there's one show that stands out above the rest in this "Best of the Rest" lot...a show that set sail in the 70's and finally docked after many hot-to-trot voyages in the 80's - yes, I think you're expecting them, because - "...they're expecting youuuuuuuu" - The Love Boat!

I mean, c'mon! You get a classic, cheesy theme song (is there a better karaoke song for people who can't sing? - no, because how can you make the song any worse?), and perhaps one of the greatest moments in TV history - the coolest bartender ever, Isaac, whipping out the "six shooters"! Hell yeah! The dual "six shooter" quick-draw is still in my personal repertoire - see a hot chick? "six shooters"; see one of your buds in the pub? "six shooters"; knock over an old grumpy waiter with your cool Euro friends, yet earning a smile from the old gruff at the end? "six-sh-" well, actually, that's a "Mentos Moment", but anyway...

Bring back the lost art of the full-fledged TV intro. Like silence, they're golden...and I'd like to grab me a nugget.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I actually enjoyed an MLS match

I decided to give the MLS another try this season since I knew more Kansas City Wizards games were going to be available on TV. Plus, I was interested to see if the MLS were trying anything new in the presentation department in this "the year of Beckham". Well, nothing in the presentation department stood out, but I gotta tell ya, KC looked fantastic in winning 4-2!

The Wizards and DC United played a wonderfully exciting, fast-paced game throughout! There were 3 goals scored in the first 11 minutes of the game! Also, though the field conditions were slippery and sloppy from the almost continuous downpour of rain, the play between the two teams was anything but sloppy (for the most part).

KC's #1 Draft Pick, Michael Harrington, scored with his first shot on goal just a few minutes into the game, making his goal (according to Omar Garriot's recap for MLSnet.com) "...the fastest in MLS history for a player making his league debut". The left-winger, Harrington, would later add a sweet cross toward a teammate near goal, but that shot was denied.

Midfielders Sasha Victorine and Davy Arnaud were a constant presence throughout, feeding the ball to the very impressive and speedy duo of Forwards - Eddie Johnson and Scott Sealy. Sealy is frickin' fast, but Johnson was just plain awesome last night! Though never a fan of MLS, I was thrilled when we traded for Johnson last year as I had seen him play for the US National Team and had been very impressed. His form, unfortunately, was pretty lackluster last year for both the Wizards and the National Team. It's great to see him back on track...though I wonder how long it will take before some of the big European clubs take notice and entice him over there?

All in all, I was surprisingly impressed and entertained by the product on the field last night. I look forward to the next Wizards game now, and heck, I might become an MLS fan after all.

Though, on a sidenote, I have to make this comment: Does KC really still need to call themselves the Wizards? How about something more traditional like KC FC (Kansas City Football Club)? Or at the very least change the logo to something a little cooler than a soccer ball with a frickin' rainbow shooting out the back of it! I mean, do we really need a Wizard of Oz connection to the sports team?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Hooligans - The Untold Story...A Panorama/BBC Documentary on Freemoviescinema.com

So, after seeing Grindhouse on Friday (awesome movie! I enjoyed Planet Terror more than Death Proof...Death Proof was a little too "talky" at times) I was in the mood to see some schlocky 70's/early 80's flicks.

I remembered a few websites that offered free downloads or streaming viewing of movies that were now in the public domain. I had downloaded some old B-grade 60's horror movies from these sites before. Well, one such site I checked out was freemoviescinema.com. While I did find a couple of movies I might want to download, what I got stuck on was the site's Documentaries section. In particular, a Panorama documentary, broadcast on the BBC, titled Hooligans - The Untold Story.

Being a soccer fan, in particular a fan of English and German soccer, I decided to check it out. This particular documentary shines a disturbing light not on the club-level hooliganism which is rather common throughout many parts of the world, but rather the nationalist-inspired hooliganism which took place at last summer's World Cup in Germany.

Man, this was quite a fascinating documentary! From what I had seen on TV here in the U.S., everything was just one big, happy-go-lucky party during the World Cup; with only brief mentions of hooligans that were more-or-less detained before anything hit the fan. Well, as this documentary graphically shows, this was not entirely the case.

Turns out there was quite a contingent of hooligans from England who were looking not only for a place to drink beer and cheer their country on in Germany, but were looking to raise a little hell as well...um, actually a lot of hell. You know how you'll be at a party or at a bar and there's almost always "that one guy" who has too much to drink and then thinks he can kick everyone's ass (usually because he's trying to impress some chick(s); and since he has no real personality he does the only thing he knows how to do to get the ladies' attention...which, sadly, there's usually one dumb chick who will fall for the act and give him her attention - thus proving people are just like any other primitive animal on the planet...but I digress)? Well, take "that one guy" and multiply him by a couple hundred or so. Craziness!

Though the documentary mainly focused on the shenanigans brought about by the English hooligans against (primarily) the German fans, it also focused slightly on the rivalry between the German and Polish hooligans (Germany faced Poland in the World Cup). What was interesting in both cases, was that none of the clashes really had anything to do with soccer itself (or football as it is called outside of the U.S.) but seemed to have everything to do with old World War II-era hostilities. It was really fascinating to hear what was coming out of the mouths of the drunken English hooligans. Even more fascinating was the fact that groups of German and Polish soccer hooligans routinely schedule all out brawls against one another on vacant soccer fields!

This was a very interesting documentary to say the least. If you're interested in the soccer counter-culture (as I'll call it), or if you're just interested in the Sociological, Anthropological, or Psychological fields, this documentary makes great study material and is well worth the 60-minute viewing time.

Monday, April 2, 2007

KC Royals Game 1 Recap: A Royal Open to the 2007 Season!

I'm sporting a very satisfied "cat that just ate the canary" grin as I write this...

What a great start to the season! We showed the ESPN, er, Boston Red Sox that things are a little different here in KC this year. We have club leadership that demands professionalism and players that are committed to showing it on the field. I make a point of mentioning that at the onset because what I particularly noticed from the Royals today was - professionalism.

Every player out there not only carried themself as a real big leaguer, but they all had their head in the game for the full 9-innings. I've bled "Royal Blue" since I was a kid watching Brett chase .400 in 1980, so it was real nice to finally see a team that was bleeding the same color as me, and showing pride in wearing the Royals uniform. My hometown team just looked like they belonged on the field today more than the Red Sox from Boston...oh, what a nice change!

If I could give a "King's Crown" to one player today, I would have to give it to...two players - Gil Meche and Mark Grudzielanek.

Meche survived a shaky 1st-inning to cruise on into the 8th, showing the scoffing national sports media (paging ESPN and SI) and nervous Royals fans (paging, um, Me) that he has the stuff and know-how to be a staff Ace. My hat's off to you today fellow Northlander; it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that I would love to see more starts like this throughout the season!

Grudz not only made a surprise recovery from Spring knee surgery to start today's game, but showed why he earned a 2006 Gold Glove Award, along with a great day at the plate. Grudz is a model number 2 hitter in the lineup - consistent contact and smart placement of his hits. He adapts his hitting to the situation rather than making the situation adapt to his hitting - that equals great clutch hitter, great team guy. A Gold Glove for 2006 was nice, but how about a Batting Crown for 2007?

Other notable performances today included Tony Pena Jr. and his 2 deja-vu triples and great play in the field (the surprise trade acquisition from about a week and a half ago); John Buck calling a solid game and hitting a regal shot over the 410 sign in center; strong line-drive hitting from Mike Sweeney (stay healthy!); and Joel Peralta showing real cajones in relief by striking out both David Ortiz to end the 8th and Man-Ram to start the 9th.

Speaking of Manny Ramirez, that guy just really reminded me of Randy Moss today. Both players are capable of brilliance in their respective sports, but when things aren't going their way, they both just seem to go fetal and shut it down rather than push on to turn it around. Here's to hoping the Royals pitchers can keep Man-Ram in fetal mode!

One last note: while as a fan I was excited like the 41,000+ at Kauffman Stadium today when Alex Gordon stepped up to the plate for his first MLB at-bat with the bases loaded in the 1st-inning - BUT - at the same time I felt bad for the kid. He's been hyped up as a future superstar and the second-coming of George Brett, and then to be faced with that scenario for his 1st at-bat?! Shoooooot! Facing Curt Schilling, bases-loaded, an SRO crowd collectively standing in anticipation of the new "saviour" to hit a storybook grand-slam to get his MLB career started - man! Tough stuff. Though Gordon may not admit it, you could tell he was trying to hit anything that came close into the strike zone out onto I-70! Hey, I don't blame him, but the nerves and adrenaline had to be shooting through him something fierce - that combination can wreak havoc on even the best of concentration levels. Tough day at the plate for him today, but he'll have his fair share of ESPN highlights this year (of course, he'll probably have to be playing against Boston or New York to make it on their highlights...geez.)

Way to go Blue! The "Royal Turn-Around" starts today!