Lately I have found myself falling back in love with All In The Family. The jokes are still funny, the characters still compelling, and it’s the only show from the 70’s that can still be called ‘edgy’ by today’s standards. I wanted to do a piece about the show, but rather than delve into a history of the show’s production or spin a bullet-list of trivia (which I’ve already done for The Golden Girls), I decided I’d focus on the song.
You know, that song. The one where Jean Stapleton – whom I have recently decided is the funniest woman ever to appear on TV – hits that high note that can make your sofa cushions cringe. The song that Family Guy homage-ifies with their opening number.
TV Theme songs may seem like a fluffy topic, but they are certainly worthy of a couple hours-worth of finger-punching my keyboard. The lyric-laden theme song is a dying art form, yet these tunes are woven with the fabric of my slothful youth. Some became hits or were hits already – I’m not going to dig into the roots of John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” or Al Jarreau’s “Moonlighting” here. But each of these songs was written and performed by somebody, and those somebodies had a story.
“Those Were The Days” was penned by the team of Lee Adams and Charles Strouse, the guys responsible for the Broadway hit, Bye Bye Birdie. There were a few versions of the performance recorded throughout the series’ run, and astute listeners can pick out Stapleton’s second-verse screech becoming more comically punched as the song evolved. Read more…
Some lucky soul (or souls) claimed the Lotto Max on Friday night, the Canada-wide lottery that often stretches its jackpot to $50 million. This was one of those big-money draws, and I was denied the prize once again, for the silly inconsequential reason that I didn’t buy a ticket.
Who among us hasn’t imagined how our life would change with the sudden injection of eight pre-decimal figures in our bank account? Every year, Forbes magazine drops its list of the wealthiest humans on the globe, and because I know my name will never grace those pages, it’s with only the mildest of interest that I check to see if the big winner is Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, or some Saudi Arabian prince, floating on a sea of oil.
I don’t wish any of these people ill-will, but they really don’t have a tremendous effect on my life so I just can’t get excited about their appearance on the list. But Forbes also prints another list. These wealthy money-hoarders may not be technically “real”, but some of them are a lot more interesting than the ones who top that other list. These are the Forbes Fictional 15.
As you may have guessed, the Forbes Fictional 15 is a list of the wealthiest fifteen fictional characters, as compiled from numerous sources, including books, movies, cartoons, comics, TV shows, and using the authors’ best guesses as to their respective fiscal value. Forbes started printing this list in 2002, and though they’ve skipped a few years along the way, the list has become a curious cultural touchstone. Folklore and mythological characters are exempt, as are real people that we simply wish were only fictional. Read more…
Here’s my issue with the game Clue. You’re supposed to figure out who killed Mr. Boddy, in which room, and with which weapon. If you’ve found the corpse, shouldn’t the weapon be fairly obvious? I understand there’s only a slight distinction between a candlestick wound and a wrench wound, but I’d like to think even I could immediately differentiate between a bullet wound and strangle-marks. Also, if there’s blood in the Conservatory, that’s probably where it went down.
Those little nit-picks aside, Clue is a great board game. Monopoly is smart but too lengthy; Battleship is only really fun if you add your own sound effects (electronic Battleship is cheating), and the only good part about Trouble is the little plastic bubble that contains the dice. Clue is part strategy, part bluffing, and part standing in the Dining Room doorway to block the other player from entering because seriously, screw that guy.
What kind of architect designs a mansion around a big yellow hallway?
A great success means a great deal of spin-offery, and Clue is no exception. The volume of off-shoots from the Clue franchise could fill a zip code full of warehouses.
The game was developed by British musician / government drone Anthony Pratt as a way to kill time while hiding in the mandatory dark of WW2 blackouts. He made decent money on sales in England, but gave up on the overseas Parker Brothers rights for a one-time buyout of 5000 pounds. Doesn’t sound like much, but in 1950, it was a substantial windfall. If he’d known just how much he’d lose in residuals, he might well have done himself in. With a revolver. In the kitchen. Read more…