Sunday, March 30, 2008

Talkin' Baseball, Part 2

Welcome back for more baseball fun, this time in animated form.

Starting off the lineup, here is Bugs Bunny with his hilarious hardball film, "Baseball Bugs."



Next at bat, a tutorial for the game, demonstrated by none other than Disney's Goofy, in "How to Play Baseball."



In the on-deck circle is the famous Casey of "Casey at the Bat."



Finally, in the clean-up spot, are Casey's nine daughters, just enough for their own team.



I hope your home team wins on opening day (unless your team is the Washington Nationals, in which case I hope my Phightin' Phils are victorious). See you again on Tuesday, when I'll offer up some April Fools' Day practical jokes (but not on you, dear readers, I love ya too much).

Thanks!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Talkin' Baseball, Part 1

You can definitely tell it's Spring. The air smells sweeter, the grass is getting greener, the birds are coming out to sing...and the pinstripes are coming out to play.

Starting this weekend, it's baseball season, boys and girls!

Turn on the overhead lights, fire up the hot dogs and crack open a cold beer. Let's welcome baseball season 2008 with some classic clips.

First off, the namesake of this post, Terry Cashman's "Talkin' Baseball" (the most famous of many versions. I couldn't find the Phillies version, unfortunately).



Next, another baseball theme song, John Fogerty's "Centerfield."



One of the all-time amazing moments of the game, "The Shot Heard 'Round The World," which won the 1952 National League Championship for the New York Giants. "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the Pennant!"



Another famous, or infamous moment, in baseball history--Bill Buckner's error that enabled the Mets to win the 1986 World Series.



And of course, no celebration of America's Favorite Pastime would be complete without Abbot & Costello's "Who's On First."



Come back on Sunday for Talkin' Baseball Part 2, when I'll be bring you some animated baseball fun. Thanks!

P.S. Recommend an mp3 player for me! See my last post.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

MP3 Player Help

Here at the Me and You blog, I strongly encourage interactivity. I stress the Me and You part of the title. Your feedback is very important to me, especially now, as I'd like your help with something.

I need a new mp3 player, really bad. My current one, the Zen Micro by Creative, is over two years old, the headphone jack is wobbly and needs a lot of manipulation to send the audio signal through both left and right channels correctly, and the removable battery has been playing a lot of tricks on me lately.

I had a chance to take advantage of the extended warranty on my current player, and could very likely have gotten a new one free of charge, but when I checked on the warranty's status back in September, it had expired--by three weeks. Doh!

Since then, I've been trying to suffer through the jack difficulties. But now that the battery barely works anymore, I have to suck it up and shell out the cash for a new player. Fortunately, I've amassed a few Best Buy gift certificates to help ease the financial pain. If Creative made my current model, I'd simply get an identical one, but they discontinued this model some time ago.

Here is where you come in. Most of you out there are very likely far more adept at technological stuff than I am. I'd like mp3 player recommendations from you. I do, however, have some criteria:

1) The player must have an FM tuner. My handle is phillyradiogeek, after all.

2) I'd like no less than 4 GB, but no more than 8 GB (my current one has 5 GB, a strange amount compared to most players on the market today).

3) I do NOT need one that plays video, as I'm only interested in music playback, although video playback seems to be standard anymore.

4) Preferably, I'd like one that has a removable battery rather than an integrated one, which automatically eliminates iPod (I insist on an iPod alternative anyway). Integrated batteries also seem to be the norm as well though.

5) If possible, I'd like one that plays wav files, although that is not mandatory (I just have a lot of wavs I like).

I've already started researching some players on CNet.com. So far the most likely candidates are the Creative Zen V Plus (I like my previous product from them, so I have some built-in trust there) and the IRiver Clix (although it's quite a bit pricier than I hoped to spend). But I'd like to put the question out to you, my loyal readers. If you know of a good player that at least comes close to my preferences, please leave a comment. I can't promise you I'll buy the one you choose, but I would love some educated counsel before settling on my next player. I really appreciate your help with this. Thanks!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Brian!



Happy Easter to one and all! I hope your day was special. It certainly was for me. Not only is today Easter, today is my beautiful baby boy's 2nd birthday. Happy Birthday Brian! Your whole family loves you very much.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jesus of Nazareth, The Crucifixion

Happy Vernal Equinox everyone! I hope you all get a chance to get out into the new spring sunshine. I believe it's officially becoming spring as I type this. Hope your day is going well whatever your weather pattern.

Here is the last of this year's Easter posts, and it deals with the very origin of the celebration itself; no bunnies or colored eggs here. This is a dramatization of Jesus's crucifixion from Franco Zeffirelli's hours-long television miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (imagine if there were real footage). If you celebrate the spiritual aspect of the holiday seriously, you should enjoy it.



I hope everyone has a Happy Easter, regardless of religion (or lack thereof). I'll see you again on that day, and for the third time within the last two months, it will be a post of personal significance for me. See you then!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Easter Bunny Stories

I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day, whether you're Irish or not. If you're looking for some Irishness here, take a look at my previous post. Otherwise, I'm returning to Easter programming with a focus on the Easter Bunny.

UPDATE AS OF 4/6/2011: Unfortunately, the first two clips are no longer available, and I'm unable to find repalcements on YouTube. Please try the usual retail outlets for availability.

The first two of today's offerings were created by the delightful Rankin/Bass studios. Although most famous for their Christmas fare, they did dabble in Easter stories here and there, first in the 1971 TV special Here Comes Peter Cottontail (starring Casey Kasem as the titular rabbit and Vincent Price as the villianous Irontail), then again in two more offerings.

The first is a cel-animation special called The First Easter Rabbit, narrated by Burl Ives (basically reprising his Sam the Snowman role from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but as a rabbit instead of a snowman) and released in 1976. I have to say, I have no recollection of this show, but here is the opening sequence:



The very next year, R/B presented The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town, which Warner Brothers Video just reissued in a deluxe DVD edition last month. The story is almost a plotline-by-plotline remake of the classic Santa Claus is Coming to Town, except for a change of character/species here and there. This clip isn't all that egg-citing (pardon the rotten pun); in fact, it's nothing more than a teaser by WB for the reissue of the special, but perhaps it will intice you to check out the DVD.



Lastly, going back a couple of decades before these Rankin/Bass specials, here we have a charming black-and-white presentation of Peter Cottontail, by the same studios that made the Frosty the Snowman cartoon featured in my Christmas posts. For some reason, there is no mention of Easter in this version.



See you again on Thursday for the last of my Easter posts, which will be a reminder of the reason for the season. Thanks!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Top o' the mornin' to ya! I'm taking a break from Easter programming to offer up a couple of Irish treats for you--being of Irish descent myself, I would be amiss not to recognize St. Patrick's Day. As I've stated previously, check out the Pop Culture Holiday Blog for a larger selection of St. Paddy's stuff.

In fact, this first clip is already there. I saved this for my blog quite awhile ago, but the PCHB beat me to it (they're quick over there). What the heck, I'll carry it anyway. It's the delightfully dry Droopy Dog (that's a lot of Ds) being mistaken for a leprechaun in the appropriately titled "Droopy Leprechaun."



From the silly to the sobering, here's a reminder that life in Ireland has been far from the fantasy of leprechauns and pots of gold. This is the trailer for the excellent film In The Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as an Irishmen wrongly imprisoned, along with his father, for an IRA-related bombing, based on a true story.



Finally, here is Diana Krall teaming up with the Chieftains for an amazing version of "Danny Boy." The video is made by a non-professional YouTuber and consists of the just the song and still photos of Krall, but the song itself is the real reason to tune in. For the title of Ireland's greatest band, I'll take the Chieftains over U2 any day.



I'll check in again on Monday (or perhaps Sunday, if time allows) for more Easter fun; until then, Erin Go Bragh!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Animated Easter Goodness

Time again for another Easter post. This time, I have two great cartoon shorts from the studios that defined the genre, although their styles couldn't be more different.

First, a delightful Walt Disney classic, "Funny Little Bunnies." Disney cartoons, especially those of this ilk, were the epitome of warmth, sweetness, and charm.



On the other hand, you had Warner Brothers. Not warm, not sweet, and a charm that was more like that of a snake oil salesman--and that's what was so great about them! It's been said that Disney cartoons make you smile, but Warners Bros. cartoons make you laugh, and I couldn't agree more. This hilarious example, "Easter Yeggs," was often quoted by my high school classmates around this time of year: "I wanna Easter egg, I wanna Easter egg, I wanna Easter egg!"

UPDATE AS OF 4/6/2011: I'm afraid the cartoon is no longer available YouTube or similar sites. Collections of all the great Warner Bros. cartoons are available on DVD from many retailers.



I'll see you again this Friday the 14th, a date I hope will bring good luck, as we'll take a break from Easter to kick off St. Patrick's Day weekend. See you then!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Classic Easter Commercials

Today starts the beginning of my Easter posts. Of course, St. Patrick's Day is first (by a mere 7 says), but I haven't had much luck finding good material. I highly recommend the Pop Culture Holiday Blog, which can be found in my links section; there is some great St. Paddy's Day programming there. I will have one post devoted to the wearin' of the green right before next weekend, but for now, on to Easter!

First up are some classic TV commercials touting two of everyone's favorite Easter candies: Cadbury Creme Eggs and M&Ms. My wife loves the creme eggs, and I love their commercials. What grabs one's attention better than a clucking bunny?



M&Ms are great any time of year, and Easter is no exception. Just ask these very grateful kids. And look, a clucking child! "Thanks Easter Bunny. Buck buck!"



You may have noticed that all posts now have labels to help you find your favotire topics. I hope to have more improvements soon. Let me know what you'd like to read, hear, or see.

Another improvement: I'll try to give a heads-up when my next post will be. I'll be back here on or around this Tuesday, March 11th. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Most Important Person


To anyone who's been reading my blog for a while now, it's obvious that I love classic (read: old) TV and cartoons. The Internet has allowed me to reconnect with a lot of great stuff I loved as a kid, and still love today. One series, however, had alluded me for a long time--until last year.

Part of the reason was that I couldn't remember the name of the program. All I could remember were the three main characters: a big green thing named Fumble (whatever he's supposed to be), a hairy green guy who descends from the sky on a rope, and a small pink bird with a red beak that has a slight attitude problem. Sounds weird, doesn't it? But exist it did, and finally, thanks to both my determination, and the fact that footage of the show finally appeared on the 'net, I finally know the name of the show.

It's called The Most Important Person, and it first aired as a series of segments on CBS's Captain Kangaroo show in 1972. These three-minute, partly animated, partly live-action vignettes were produced by a group called Sutherland Learning Associates. Later in the decade, these segments were syndicated to UHF stations to be shown as interstititial programming between half-hour children's shows. Their educational nature helped stations meet FCC-required standards. It is in this capacity that I remember them. They appeared here in Philadelphia on the late and lamented Channel 48, WKBS-TV (I could, and may, do a post just on that one station).

This station was part of the Kaiser Broadcasting Group, which later became part of Field Communications. These cartoons were carried throughout the station group, the biggest market being Chicago on WFLD-TV (Chicago readers, back me up here).

I looked for these cartoons forever, and had absolutely no luck until last year when, through sheer serendipity, something came up on YouTube (God bless it!). I used words such as Fumble, bird, Channel 48, anything that might lead to an answer, and now I've found them. In fact, just within the last month, I found a few more have been uploaded to the 'Tube courtesy of the same user who loaded my beloved McDonald's commercials.

So here, I proudly present, oodles of segments of The Most Important Person. Funny--even now that I know the correct title, it still doesn't sound familiar.















Sunday, March 2, 2008

Whisperers of Lore--Dack's Way by D.R. Polsz



Yesterday I attended the launch party for a friend publishing his first novel. It's called Whisperers of Lore--Dack's Way by D.R. Polsz. It's a fantasy novel about the division of an island into two warring factions and the attempts of the main character, Dack, to unite the two peoples. Through his adventures, he discovers details about both his past and who he is as a person. For more details about the book, and to purchase your own copy, visit his Web site, drpolsz.com.

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