Thursday, May 07, 2009

tawt I taw

The New York Times article on Twitter compared its appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to the Beatles' first performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." It also listed several little-known tricks for Twitterers and instructions on how to find the nearly hidden advanced search page.

My daughter does the Twitter and posted something today that made me laugh. She put a link to a URL on and commented that she would now have to re-alphabetize her entire collection. I clicked on it and was most amused.

My friend Bean has started Twittering too. Last week he posted vacation updates from the graves of dead presidents. Bean has suggested that I read the feed of "KingsThings," which purports to be written by Larry King. I've heard there are a lot of celebrity impersonators on Twitter. Maybe Larry really did write, "i am entertaining the crew w/ stories about Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles. almost showtime!"

An emailer pointed out that the video of my rumba with Emily Loyless has way more views than any of the other performances from "Star 102.1's Dancing With the Knoxville Stars" fundraising event. I would like to think it was due to my own blog posts but I strongly suspect that Don Geronimo's Twitter feed had a lot to do with it. You can still make an online donation, by the way.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, August 28, 2008

all shook up

It would not have been too difficult to make Memphis the first stop on our recent road trip. However that would have put us at Graceland on August 16th, which is both the best and worst possible day to visit the home of Elvis. Instead my wife and I were there on August 20th, which was still close enough to The Big E's death anniversary that many of the floral arrangements from his fans were still on display.

After we toured the mansion and the airplanes, we wandered over to the broadcast booth for Elvis Radio on Sirius Satellite Radio. I gestured to the deejay inside that I wanted to take a picture with him. Big Jim Sykes opened the door and graciously posed with me. I told him that I worked in Knoxville and he said that he had also. As we swapped radio stories, I learned that Big Jim was once known as Jungle Jim when he did mornings on the old WOKI. He didn't like the name, which had been assigned by his boss. I promised to email him a link to Knoxville Radio History 101, a blog full of memories he would enjoy.

Big Jim asked if I had ever met his former program director, Brother Clay Gish. I explained that not only had I met him (back when he was still a him), but that I will often get a request line call during a weekend shift from Gishelle Diva Gish, as the former Clay is now known. Big Jim was rather surprised to learn of Gishelle's transition and said he would look for photos online. I said that I wished I could see his reaction when he does. At that point, Jim invited us into the studio while he did a Google search for Gishelle. Big Jim's jaw almost hit the floor when he saw the article and photo essay about her on I'm glad I was there to see it.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 04, 2008

in this world the headlines read

The Giants were trailing 7-3 in the Super Bowl last night. Their defense was playing well but the offense had only managed one field goal. As I said I would the other day, I got into a New York state of mind by enjoying a Mallomar during the game. Shortly thereafter the Giants scored a touchdown. New England came back to take the lead again and it looked like they might actually achieve the 19-0 record we've heard so much about. When Eli Manning avoided that sack and threw the ball to David Tyree, it occurred to me to have a second Mallomar. Sure enough, the Giants responded with the game winning touchdown.

My mother and her siblings all grew up in the Bronx. They were exchanging emails all weekend as they make plans for Grandma's birthday party this Spring. All of their messages ended with the words "Go Giants!" The biggest Giants fan in our family was my dad. He even sent me to the same Catholic school as some of the Mara kids. Wellington Mara is buried in the same cemetery as several of my relatives. Within minutes of the game's end, people had posted congratulatory notes on Mara's page at

Meanwhile my wife and the rest of the Redskins fans in our family happily recall that both previous Super Bowl wins by the Giants were followed by Redskins wins.

My favorite Super Bowl commercial has been getting favorable reviews. It featured computer generated images of balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The greatest balloon of all time, Underdog fought for a Coca-Cola bottle with Stewie from "Family Guy." To my knowledge, there has never been a Stewie balloon in the parade. Do you think there will be one in the future? I'm not sure that I want to see him there. Although Underdog clearly deserved the soda, Charlie Brown rises up over Central Park and gets the bottle instead. Good grief!

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, September 23, 2007

decomposition book

What's that? You just missed hearing the authors of "Beyond the Body Farm" on the early morning public affairs radio show I told you about? Well, get comfortable with a cup of coffee and the Sunday crossword puzzle while you listen to a podcast of this morning's show.

The book and the radio interview are full of interesting forensic cases. I almost thought that Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson had a monopoly on all the good dead body stories. Then I found one in the Washington Post that isn't theirs but is fascinating nonetheless. Last week a corpse from the 1850s was finally identified a couple of years after being accidentally unearthed in Washington DC.

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, August 31, 2007

carved in stone

Here's a couple of leftover photos from last month's road trip. A chapel in upstate New York bore the inscription "Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people" from the Book of Isaiah. The usage must have been correct at the time but it's weird to see the word "house" preceded by "an." The current New American Bible translation of Isaiah 56:7 reads "a house."

We passed a cemetery in Connecticut that was having some repair work done to its stone gateway. I thought that the scaffolding gave new meaning to the inscription from 1 Corinthians 15:52, "The dead shall be raised."

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, August 25, 2007

to geek or not to geek

An article in last week's Entertainment Weekly gave an update on the cast members of the under-appreciated "Freaks and Geeks.'' That show and other projects by Judd Apatow give a realistic portrayal of nerdy characters. "The 40 Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and "Superbad" all made big money at the box office. Nerds are hot right now.

A couple of new TV shows feature nerds in a leading role. "Chuck" on NBC and "Big Bang Theory" on CBS will both air during the 8pm hour on Mondays starting September 24. One show gets it right, the other gets it very wrong.

Chuck is a likable guy, working for a thinly disguised version of the Geek Squad at a thinly disguised version of Best Buy. His super-talented college roommate has gone on to become a secret agent. Chuck receives an email from his former roommate that turns him into a valuable resource for the CIA and NSA. A smokin' hottie shows up at the store and wants to get to know Chuck better. Turns out that she's a secret agent too, trying to find out what Chuck did with the email. The visual images from the email are now in Chuck's brain.

Meanwhile over on CBS, Leonard and Sheldon are a couple of Caltech scientists living together with their dueling dry-erase boards full of complicated mathematical formulas. When a smokin' hottie moves in across the hall, they attempt to convince her (and the viewers) that they are straight. It's not very convincing because Leonard and Sheldon are played too effeminately. Everything about the show seems wrong to me. Even the character's names. Calling the lead nerds Leonard and Sheldon is as much of a cliché as calling a gay character Bruce. The writers couldn't possibly be attempting an homage to the late Sheldon Leonard, could they? The old time movie tough guy would turn over in his grave. The whole time I was watching, I kept wondering why they canceled "The Class" for this.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The email from my friend Bean had the most irresistible subject line. It read: "nothing has ever been more Frank blogworthy than this." He sent me a news blurb about the late ice cream magnate Tom Carvel. Much like the Big Bopper, Carvel's family wants to have his body exhumed and autopsied to see if he was murdered.

Tom Carvel was well known in New York as the voice of his company's radio and TV commercials. Once when I was a kid, I saw him at a street festival in Tuckahoe. He was the emcee of an ice cream eating contest in front of the Carvel store in Depot Square. I also remember my Dad driving us past the site of the first Carvel store and telling us how it was the built on the spot where Tom Carvel's ice cream truck got a flat tire.

Tom Carvel is one of several celebrities interred at Ferncliff Cemetery. If he were still alive, I'm sure he would be busy promoting the discounts available this week as Fudgie the Whale celebrates his 30th birthday.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, February 23, 2007

thank you, Thing

Imagine yourself going for a swim in at a beach in Florida. Maybe you get too tired, maybe you get caught in an undertow. Next thing you know, a lifeguard is dragging you out of the water. He's unusually tall and powerful. You look up and realize that your life has been saved by Lurch from "The Addams Family." If this were an episode of the show, you would probably run back into the ocean as the laugh track swelled. In reality, you would have been swimming some time around 1953 and lifeguard Ted Cassidy had not yet landed the role that would define him forever. The article about Lurch's previous career was my favorite link in Perry Simon's Talk Topics column on this week. If the Internet is to be believed, Cassidy worked at a Dallas radio station in 1963, ad-libbed his famous "you rang" line and his cremains were buried in his own backyard.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, January 25, 2007

from beautiful downtown

The time has gotten away from me tonight. I've been reading several entries on a Burbank-based blog written by Lisa Burks. I used to bug poor Lisa for guest bookings when I was a radio producer and she was a network television publicist. Like me, Lisa moved to Burbank in 1992 and fell in love with the place. She sometimes writes about her grave hunting hobby, which I've only done a little of myself. Somehow Lisa found my blog and added it to her blogroll, which then showed up in my Technorati links. I've added Lisa to my blogroll too.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, January 21, 2007

in the afterlife

According to a recent news story, more people die in January than any other month. I used to think there was a rush on deaths during the last week of December even though I should have reason to know better. Today happens to be the anniversary of my father's death. I can't visit his grave today but I can look at some photos my daughter took on Memorial Day. Wikipedia has a list of famous people who also died on this date. I'm imagining Dad at some sort of celestial cocktail party with Jack Lord, Peggy Lee and the guy who played Alfalfa.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button