Wednesday, December 09, 2009

rocked k-town

The Brian Setzer Orchestra opened their show at the Tennessee Theatre last night with the theme from "Batman." I was in heaven as my favorite band played the music from my favorite TV show.

The musicians always do a great job. They might have been even more "on" than usual because the show was being filmed for BillboardLive. It will be streamed on Christmas Eve and repeated at some point in the future. At this point, the site has conflicting information about the time of the webcast. It will either start at 8:00 or 10:00 p.m. EST. After I thanked them profusely for the tickets, the guys from Surfdog Records told me that the concert could possibly be sold as a DVD too. I would buy one even though I already have a previous holiday disc of theirs.

State Street behind the theatre was closed to accommodate the TV truck. Fortunately my wife read about the closure on Twitter, which saved us some time and trouble on our way to the parking garage. Knoxville must be a great place to film a special. Ralphie May, among others, have used the Tennessee Theatre for the same purpose. Because of the proximity of Scripps Networks and the independent production companies that create programming for them, high-quality crew members are readily available. The cameraman focusing on Setzer from stage left was D.J. Corcoran, who was my classmate in the FBI Citizens Academy. He was part of the crew that once filmed an episode of "Ed the Plumber" at my house.

The set list mixed Setzer favorites with holiday classics. A costumed Grinch made an appearance as the band mashed "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" into the "Stray Cat Strut." I don't know if Brian really needs the sheet music for "The Nutcracker Suite" or if the roadies put it out there for a visual effect. I suspect he was actually reading the notes because he looked like a kid at his Christmas recital. The Orchestra's cover of "Angels We Have Heard On High" is one of my favorite versions of the hymn.

No Setzer show is complete without "Rock This Town." Even though I've seen their trick before, I love it every time. In the middle of the concert, Brian gives the horns a break and plays a set of tunes with just the drummer and stand-up bass player. It's obviously a nod to the Stray Cats. The last song the trio does is "Rock This Town." Before it ends, the scrim rises and the horn section kicks in to finish the tune big-band style. At the end of the show, real snow (or real shaved ice) fell on us as the band played "Jingle Bells."

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

batdisc drop

An email from my friend Bean boasted about the guests they interviewed on KROQ last week. On consecutive days they had Rhys Darby, Weird Al Yankovic and Adam West.

During the interview, which is available on Friday's Kevin & Bean podcast, Adam says that he has a newly redesigned website and is now on Twitter. Adam was calling from Comic-Con, where he debuted his new DVD.

In "Adam West Naked," the actor talks about each of the 120 episodes of my favorite television show, "Batman." If the classic program were legally available on DVD, this could be the commentary track. The disc was exclusively for sale at Comic-Con. It will soon be available at the store on, which, by the way, would be a perfect place for my relatives to do their Christmas shopping this year.

The same day that TV's Batman was on KROQ, I had a bat-encounter of my own. Check out the most recent little critter that I saved from drowning in my pool. He doesn't look that great in these pictures but he eventually dried off and flew away.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

better than hot water and ketchup

A video on Funny or Die appealed to my inner child. In it, Adam West has fallen on hard times and is having a garage sale outside the Batcave. I wish I had looked for the Bronson Caves in Griffith Park when I lived in California. What if he really was selling stuff there?

If money were no object, I would buy memorabilia from my favorite show, much like KROQ's Ralph Garman has done. The first thing on my shopping list might be the bust of Shakespeare from Stately Wayne Manor.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009


A bootleg DVD caught my daughter's eye this past weekend. As she told me about it, I was reminded of the bunch of bootlegs I saw at a well-known knife store in Sevierville about three years ago. She knew that "Song of the South" is permanently locked away in the Disney Vault and shouldn't have been on display at the Capital Home & Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center. However it was another title that made her think of me and take a picture with her camera phone.

For years I have been futilely awaiting a DVD release of the 1960s TV classic, "Batman." As far as we can tell, there seems to be either a stalemate between Fox and Warner Bros. or there are too many guest stars and others whose estates deserve royalties. Apparently some people have given up waiting and have been making and selling their own DVDs on the circuit. My daughter saw at least three volumes of "Batman" episodes for sale at the Expo Center. While I wanted it, I would still rather wait for the real thing.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

force of habit

In an effort to see at least some of the Oscar nominees before the awards ceremony, my wife and I watched "Doubt" this afternoon. The story takes place in 1964, before people became aware of the failings of an organization which is built on the forgiveness of sins but exists in a society that requires justice and demands vengeance.

The film is set at a fictional parish in the Bronx within walking distance of the Parkchester neighborhood where my mother grew up. Most impressive was Meryl Streep's perfect accent. She sounded exactly like my Aunt Marion, with maybe a dash of Aunt Grace thrown in. The parish school is run by the Sisters of Charity, an actual order which has put information about the movie on their website.

The first time Father Flynn did the sign of the cross during Mass, I absentmindedly crossed myself along with the onscreen congregation. In that scene, Sister Aloysius hits a disruptive child on the back of the head. I wanted to her to do the same thing to a disruptive audience member at the Regal Downtown West Cinema 8.

My wife said that they used the modern arrangement of "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" instead of the old-school version of the tune. Also, they had the priest deliver his sermons following a hymn instead of right after the gospel proclamation. Several scenes are so theatrical that you can't help but be reminded that the film was adapted from a stage play. There were also a couple of times when the camera is tilted on an angle, just like when a villain's lair was shown on the old "Batman" series.

I hope Viola Davis wins for Best Supporting Actress. There was one emotional scene that should clinch it for her. It's the one where her nose starts running. I may feel differently after I see "The Wrestler," but for now I'm pulling for Viola.

I came out of the theater whistling "Blame it on the Bossa Nova," which is featured during a small scene in the film. It reminded me of an interview I did with Emily Procter when I had a show on the Comedy World Radio Network. At the time, she had a part on "The West Wing." I was rather smitten with her Ainsley Hayes character because of a well-known bathrobe bossa nova scene. I tracked down a copy of the song, which wasn't quite as easy then as it is now, and played it for her during the interview.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

holy hurdles!

A couple of years ago Disney and Universal traded Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to settle a dispute. Universal had the rights to the cartoon character Walt created before Mickey Mouse. Disney got the rights to Oswald by allowing Al Michaels to move from Disney-owned ABC to Universal-owned NBC.

I was reminded of Oswald when my friend Bean sent me a link to an article at the Comic Book Resources site. He knew I would be interested in a potential bargaining chip that could help resolve a lawsuit between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. over the upcoming movie "Watchmen." So, who might save the day? TV's Batman! According to the article, Fox wants to get some rights from Warner to finally release my favorite show on DVD. They might then drop their suit to block the release of "Watchmen."

Before I get my hopes too high and bust open my piggy bank, TV Shows on DVD reports that there are still many more issues that also need to be settled before the 120 episodes of campy fun can be put on disc. At least Adam West has started working on his own version of DVD extras that could be released separately from the series.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

björn again

A box office record was set this weekend by "Mamma Mia!" Huh? Oh sure, "The Dark Knight" broke all kinds of records but "Mamma Mia!" had the biggest opening for a musical. My wife was included in the 75% of the film's audience who are female, which makes me part of the other 25%. "Mamma Mia!" was okay. I only liked hearing the ABBA songs that I already knew, which was a little less than half of them. The unfamiliar tunes didn't do it for me. True ABBA fans would know all the songs.

I have seen enough clips on talk shows to know that Pierce Brosnan's singing voice is not in the same league as his co-stars. Meryl Streep's voice was believable as Donna, a former pop singer. Amanda Seyfried, the actress who played her daughter, sings well too. All through the movie, I kept trying to figure out how one of Donna's backup singers could possibly be Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter films too. Julie Walters disappears into both roles.

In the course of clicking around for "Mamma Mia!" information, I found a less than favorable movie review by Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News. I once did some work for her parents during Oscar week in Hollywood. Her dad is Stuart Weitzman, the famous shoe designer.

On Friday we met some friends at the Regal Knoxville Center 10. Our original plan to see "The Dark Knight" got modified when one of our friends suggested that we could see "Mamma Mia!" too. The show times allowed us to take a break for lunch in between. I got a salad at Chick-fil-A and somehow resisted the urge to get one of their delicious, hand-spun, 790-calorie milkshakes. In the end, we were all glad that ABBA was the opening act and that we made Batman the headliner. It wouldn't have been as enjoyable the other way around.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

rough riders

The embargo is lifted. I saw "The Dark Knight" yesterday and can now read articles and watch shows about the film. The movie is amazing. It's so full of action and plot that it's almost like two movies in one. I want to see it a second time just to enjoy a spectacular scene with the Batpod and an eighteen wheeler again. The action is great but my favorite scene was a superbly acted conversation between Batman and the Joker.

I'm glad I waited until today to watch "Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight" on History. It included a lot of footage from both "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" as experts discussed the mental states of Bruce Wayne, Harvey Dent, Catwoman, the Joker and others. According to the show, director Christopher Nolan feels that Bruce Wayne is a lot like President Theodore Roosevelt. T.R.'s father was also a rich philanthropist. When the future president experienced great personal tragedy, he went off to the Dakota badlands, possibly with the intention of killing himself. Instead he came back a determined man. He became police commissioner of New York and rode a bicycle through the streets at night to deter crime.

The release of each new Batman movie brings the opportunity for some collateral publicity for the 1966 classic camp version. The best thing I've recently read about the old Adam West series was an article in Variety by Lorenzo Semple Jr. He describes the process of writing the show as well as some other backstage anecdotes. And the best thing I've seen about my childhood hero lately was a photo of Batman riding an elephant. Seriously.

Since "The Dark Knight" is a somber movie, I'll end this blog entry with some sad news about bats. Researchers are trying to determine the cause of a white nose syndrome that is killing off bats in the Northeast. It has nothing to do with Studio 54.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

to the Batcave

Perhaps the best place for me to be this week is in an honest-to-goodness cave. Where else can I go to avoid the hype surrounding the new Batman movie? With all the publicity I've seen so far, until yesterday I really thought "The Dark Knight" was opening tomorrow (or tonight at midnight). There's actually another week to wait. Or more if it's sold out on opening day.

Christian Bale and Heath Ledger were on the cover of the Entertainment Weekly that came in the mail last Saturday. There's a review of the movie in the Time magazine with Mark Twain on the cover. I had to take my wife's advice and stop reading it when it started to reveal more about the film than I want to know. She knows how I can be. When I'm really looking forward to a movie, I'll watch and read too much about it. "Get Smart" was a disappointment for me because I had seen all the best jokes in the trailers.

To a certain extent, I can't help it. Batman stuff is everywhere. Today on the Knoxville Blog Network, I saw an interesting entry from The Screening Log about the Bat Signal in Manhattan. In my on-screen satellite guide I saw a listing for a show on History called "Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight." I set it up to record.

The aforementioned Entertainment Weekly had a Batman reference that didn't spoil anything. Under the heading "Even the Darkest of Knights Shines Brightly on Blu-ray" was a near-silhouette of Adam West as Batman standing on a Gotham rooftop. It was an ad for the Blu-ray edition of "Batman: The Movie." I enjoyed the connection between the old and the new. By the way, when Adam West appeared on the "Today" show recently, it was to promote that same Blu-ray disc.

It's clear that Christian Bale is the best Batman since Adam West. Oh alright, Bale is the best Batman since Kevin Conroy, who was the best Batman since Adam West.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

and here we go...

Batman fans are buzzing today about the first review of "The Dark Knight." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone absolutely loved it. He's talking about a posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger. The movie trailers have allayed any fear I had that Heath's untimely death would distract from the film. When I look at him in character, I only see the Joker, not the actor.

Meanwhile Adam West fans can set their TiVos to record the 9 a.m. hour of the "Today" show on Tuesday. Adam, Burt Ward and Lee Meriweather will be interviewed. A couple of Adam West interviews popped up online this week. If you only feel like reading one, I would recommend The Den of Geek instead of It's no surprise that Adam is less than enthusiastic about the darker version of the caped crusader.

I don't think it's a contradiction for me to be a fan of both the '60s TV "Batman" and Christopher Nolan's interpretation in "Batman Begins." Of course, I also loved all the other Nolan films I've seen: "Memento," "Insomnia" and "The Prestige."

Some other bat-bits: It's too bad that Adam West wasn't chosen to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year. I hope his supporters keep trying. My friend Bean wanted to make sure I had seen a cool behind-the-scenes photo of Adam and Burt filming one of their famous Bat-climbs. My friend Lee sent me a sound clip of a 1960s radio deejay telling his audience that it was time to go watch "Batman." That's a sure-fire ratings winner. Lastly, I saw a picture on the Knoxville Blog Network of what is truly the worst Batman toy ever. Funny, though.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

where do I send my dollar?

How is it possible that Adam West, TV's Batman, doesn't already have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? KROQ's Kevin & Bean talked to Adam on Friday. They hope to right this wrong, as you can hear in their interview. They had previously gotten behind the efforts to get a star for James Doohan, who played Scotty on "Star Trek."

How do you get a star? The nomination process is detailed online. There are certainly enough "Batman" fans out there to help raise the $25,000 fee. It would make a great birthday gift for Adam, who turns 80 on September 19. If they can make the May 31 deadline, Adam could get his recognition in 2009.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

beware the Ides of March

The hat worn by the Wicked Witch and the whip used by Indiana Jones are getting most of the publicity of all the items in next week's huge pop culture auction in Vegas. In my opinion, any memorabilia collection worth its salt must include some "Batman" props. This one does. It didn't take too many clicks to find one of the ultimate collectibles from the show. If I had as much money as Bruce Wayne, I would take $50,000 to $100,000 and buy the William Shakespeare bust that held the hidden switch to access the Batcave. If you don't know where the switch is, you'll never get past the front page of the great website The Bat Pages.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

thanks for the meme-ories

Byron Chesney tagged me with a meme the other day. I've needed time to think about my response because it digs a little deeper than my comfort level allows. I had better respond now that Jack Lail has tagged me with a different meme. I'll get to Jack's tomorrow. Byron's meme asks me to name three things I can't give up, one physical, one mental and one emotional.

Physical - I have a real hard time disposing of anything. In fact, I get a little anxiety each time I delete something from my TiVo. It's even worse when the TiVo gets full and starts deleting stuff on its own. Rather than dwell on the stuff I know I should get rid of, I'll focus on two things I'm glad I kept since childhood. I still have a locker full of baseball cards that I got the hard way, buying them in wax paper wrapped packages with bubble gum and by trading away my duplicates to classmates in exchange for cards I wanted. I also still have my Corgi Batmobile.

Mental - My mind has retained a lot of trivia about "Batman" and the Amazin' Mets. I haven't tested myself in years but I used to know who played each of the guest villains and which Met wore which jersey number.

Emotional - I would prefer to keep the happy emotions but it's the bad feelings that come back to haunt me. When I get really sad it's often because I have remembered the painful feelings from the times that one or the other of our kids was sick enough to need hospitalization. Because of those times, I can get great joy from the fact that they got through it and are now both happy and healthy.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

this is Halloween

The cooler weather, not Halloween inspired me to put on a plaid flannel shirt this morning. Later when I looked in the mirror, I realized I was dressed as Dr. Bill Bass.

The best Halloween costume I ever had was the Batman outfit I wore when I was in first grade. My mother had to special order it from a catalog because I didn't want the full face plastic mask that was sold in stores back then. The costume she found had a cloth cowl that wrapped around my head and a "Lone Ranger" style mask to cover my eyes. I started trick-or-treating and had only gotten as far as the third or fourth house when I was forever traumatized by a neighbor kid who pulled off my mask, breaking the elastic string in the process. Darn you, Kurt Teckmyer!

A reader named Lisa sent me a link to an online 1960s Batman quiz. If you can deal with the pop-up ads, the quiz is fun and challenging enough to hold the interest of a true fan like me. On Tuesday nights I've been having an ongoing conversation with Dave Fennell's brother Darrin about the Batmobile. His parents were friends with George Barris. He remembers that the car was covered in black velvet when he saw it as a child. The Batmobile I saw in the '90s was smooth and shiny. It turns out that the Batmobiles on the car show circuit in the '70s were covered in velvet to hide cracks and fingerprints.

When I was in grammar school, we always had the day after Halloween off from school. November 1st is the Solemnity of All Saints, a Catholic holy day of obligation. I'm looking forward to hearing the "Litany of the Saints" at Mass tomorrow night. My wife says that our friend Mary K. will sing it this year. Hey Mary K., the invitation still stands.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

auction ends Sunday

The same guy who is building his own Batmobile asked if I had an extra $44,000 laying around. I had met him last June in Morristown and was very interested to hear how he had stripped down a Lincoln Continental and was using it to hold a fiberglass Batmobile body. His finished product will look very similar to the real deal that I saw in 1993.

Since I will never build my own Batmobile, the guy from Morristown wanted to let me know that I could buy one on eBay for a mere $44,000. Unlike the original, this car has a back seat for the Batkids. The auction listing says that the car has been in many parades and that it is currently housed in Burbank. I wonder if I've ever seen it.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

batmobile lost a wheel

"One Knoxville media personality" is a media label used by Terry Morrow yesterday in his review of the Emmy Awards. I'm pretty sure he's referring to me and I'm thrilled about it. In context, the whole sentence reads as follows:
As one Knoxville media personality cracked to Tele-buddy on Monday: The Emmys paled next to even some commonplace affairs like the People’s Choice Awards.
Also more entertaining than the Emmys is the coverage of the award show on the gossip blog Crazy Days and Nights. They supposedly had an actress texting some dirt from inside the ceremony. They followed that with some juicy blind items about the backstage goings on. I'm a new reader to CD&N. I first heard of it about two weeks ago when I found a link to the surprising Old Hollywood story of an award winning actress who was really a man. The answer to the mystery was revealed today. TV's Joker is also involved.

The topic of media labels came up in January, 2006 when I found one that would amuse my friend Bean. The mention was in my review of "Carved In Bone." Meanwhile, Bean and his wife are vacationing in Italy this week. He's been sending me occasional emails from his i-Phone including one of his wife waiting in line at the Sistine Chapel and one of his new Pope snow globe.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

holy labor and delivery!

No matter their age, guys like their toys. For example, I still have the Corgi Batmobile I played with as a kid. I've been a fan of the "Batman" TV series as long as I can remember. Naturally, it was a big deal for me to see the real Batmobile at Barris Kustom Industries.

Today, I spent the afternoon doing a remote broadcast from a car dealership. The time flew by quickly while a listener told me about the Batmobile he is building in his garage. He ordered a kit from CY Productions and found his own Lincoln Continental chassis. He said there are several companies selling do-it-yourself Batmobile parts and accessories. One is called Gotham Cruisers, another is called The Batcave.

For model making on a smaller scale, I found a site offering incredibly accurate resin kits of the actors who played the heroes and villains on "Batman." Like the site says, it's the "best likeness of Vincent Price ever done!"

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Monday, February 26, 2007

holding out

The cast of "Heroes" was supposed to be interviewed on "Larry King Live" on Friday night. I set the TiVo only to discover on Saturday morning that the "Heroes" cast had been bumped for more coverage of Anna Nicole Smith. I'll try to remember to periodically check the CNN listings to see if they get rescheduled. Tonight's episode of "Heroes" was another good one. I liked the way Claire used her superpower to deal with the situation at her house. Twice.

I can't remember the last time I watched "Larry King Live." Radio host Laura Ingraham does a funny segment that makes me want to watch Larry more often but there's almost always something else on that I want to watch and/or record instead. The feature on Laura's show is called "Guess the Guest." She plays sound clips of King's questions and lets her listeners guess who Larry was interviewing. Unfortunately our local affiliate airs only two hours of Laura's three hour show so I usually miss it.

The topic of superheroes turns up in the most unusual places. A friend remembered my post about religious affiliations of superheroes and sent along a link to a podcast for me to share. On February 15, Monsignor Bill Parent spoke about superhero films to the Catholic Campus Ministries group at George Mason University. He points out the Christ-like figures in "The Matrix," "Spider-Man," "Superman Returns" and "Batman Begins." I'm listening to it as I type this. Holy Christological analogies, Batman!

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

echolocation, location, location

There must be something in the bat-mosphere. Sure, "Superman Returns" is getting all the hype this week but Batman will not be forgotten! My good friend Bean devoted a good chunk of his blog entry today (thanks for the name check, by the way) to an art exhibit and sale by TV's Batman, Adam West. Coincidentally, TV's Robin is selling his autograph in Knoxville this weekend. Furthermore, this weekend's "Access Hollywood" included a segment about "Batman" on its "TV Retro Hour."

In other bat-news, my kids and I had some fun watching a pair of the winged mammals this evening around dusk. The bats were dive bombing for bugs while we were swimming. We splashed some water droplets into the air, which the bats chased after. The last bat-sign came inside a large envelope my mother sent me in the mail. It was a 29-year-old photograph of my parents taken at the Bacardi Corporation headquarters in San Juan.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

holy disposable income!

Only six more days until Adam West's episode of "Living in TV Land." During his Tennessee visit last month, Bean told me that TV Land filmed some of the show at KROQ. (He also said that he heard a DVD release of the 1960s "Batman" series is stalled by a disagreement over the music rights.)

I've mentioned before how much I continue to enjoy the campy humor of "Batman." Just the other day I came across an Argentinean website that catalogs all the cartoonish sound effects of the show. I still have my Corgi toy Batmobile (five inches of danger!) and I've sat inside the real Batmobile but my fandom is put to shame by Ralph Garman. Ralph is on the air daily with Kevin & Bean and was the host of the very funny "Joe Schmo" reality show parodies.

While watching the Barry Williams episode of "Living in TV Land" today, I saw the promo for next week's show. The promo said that a preview of the Adam West episode is available online for the next few days at During the rather lengthy excerpt, you can see some of Ralph's incredible collection of Batman memorabilia when he takes Adam home with him. I half expected to see Ralph trap Adam in a giant Plexiglas box as the ultimate collectible.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

no love from the Italian judge

Enough people voted for Master P to keep him from being eliminated on tonight's "Dancing With the Stars." The judges had put the rapper and his partner in last place after a horrible performance. I know Jimmy Kimmel appealed to his audience last night to keep P on the show but I thought it was Kenny Mayne who provided the show's best comedy (besides the British announcer, of course). Kenny even did a little bit of the Batusi and still got sent home after urging citizens in his home town to remain calm if he lost.

During last season's American Idol there was an Internet campaign to keep the worst singers on the show. Is there a similar online campaign to keep Master P dancing? Or should I say standing there while his partner dances around him?

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

just in time for Halloween

There was a scene in "Batman Begins" that made me pause for a second and realize how much I was enjoying the film. It happens when Batman is surrounded by a swarm of actual bats. I've had an interest in bats since I was a kid. Of course, I watched the daily syndicated reruns of the classic TV "Batman." Plus, my father handled public relations for Bacardi Rum in the 1960s and '70s. We always had items with the Bacardi Bat Device around the house.

We have some bats in our neighborhood. I usually see them at dusk during the summer months as they sweep down to eat bugs. A recent newspaper article mentioned some pro-bat websites that are worth a look: Bat World and Bat Conservation International. Some day I want to get a bat house for the back yard.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed

"Batman" is still my favorite TV show (and needs to be released on DVD). I watched the reruns every afternoon when I was a kid. I may not have driven the Batmobile to my wedding like KROQ's Ralph Garman, but I did get to sit in it once.

Imagine my delight this week when the Best Week Ever blog posted a link to another link that ultimately led to a page about a network presentation for a "Batgirl" spin-off. Batgirl didn't get her own show but was instead added to the cast of "Batman." I have an old photo with Adam West that still needs to be scanned but here's a (poorly cropped) photo with Yvonne Craig from 2002:

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