Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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July 2004
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FBI uses Patriot Act to file charges against Stargate SG-1 fan…

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:10 pm

The Canadians put it best: “The use of the US Patriot Act in the U.S.A. just gets crazier and crazier.” Seems that Adam McGaughey, who’s a long-time fan of the popular MGM sci-fi series, had his apartment raided by the FBI back in May 2002 after MGM and MPAA officials allegedly pressed the FBI to pursuing criminal charges. The FBI used the US Patriot Act to obtain financial records from the websites Internet Service Provider (ISP) during the investigation.

See: and
for off-shore articles on a story that doesn’t seem to be carried at all in U.S. national media.

And be afraid…be very afraid. If a film studio thinks you’re “infringing” (like by saying “MGM sucks” or something), the FBI may be breathing down your necks, using the full strength of the U.S. Patriot Act as their weapon. (Also see my comments earlier in the week on DVR’s Endangered.)

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Jackson Beck Sampler…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:44 am

Just a quick note; there’s a sampler of Jackson Beck’s work available at the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention website. Includes clips from Superman, Tom Corbett, and more.

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Boy, is Noah Adams ever out of place…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 12:01 pm

I was flipping Internet radio channels this afternoon, and heard a familiar and too-rarely-heard voice…that of Noah Adams, another of the experienced, excellent, and canned NPR anchors “promoted” to Senior Correspondant (and hopefully, the next to be hired away from the floundering NPR to somewhere else where his talents can be appreciated instead of dismissed). He was hosting NPR’s Day to Day,, the short-attention-span “newsmagazine” NPR runs in association with Slate to appeal to people who can’t keep one thought in their heads.

Man, was his deliberate, thoughtful delivery ever out-of-place on this show, which so far as I can tell prides itself in more vacuous stories per minute than any other program on the air.

(Maybe Bob Edwards can talk XM into giving Noah his own show, too? Na, too much to hope for.)

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RIP: Jackson Beck

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, News — Charlie Summers @ 11:53 am

With the passing of Sam Edwards, I’ve been remiss in noting the passing of another of the “old guard” of Old-Time Radio, Jackson Beck.

Although you may not recognize the face, particularly from this photo of Jackson as The Cisco Kid, the voice is unmistakable. Whether performing the voice of Bluto in the Popeye cartoons, announcing the opening of series like Superman or Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, or even the commercial voiceover work for companies like Little Caesar’s Pizza, that gravelly voice with more authority than just about any other reaches out and grabs you by the scruff of the neck, demanding your attention.

Jack was a fixture at Friends of Old-Time Radio Conventions for as long as I remember, missing only the last few years due to failing health. He was an unrepentant smoker, which must have driven Jay Hickerson apoplectic, but he once told me when I joked that it was amazing he kept his voice with all those cigarettes, “It sounds like that because of ‘em.”

Being able to hear him announce episodes of Supermanand Tom Corbett live is an experience I will always treasure…but I have to tell you, we forget that he was one heck of an actor, too. Dialects, character parts, Jack was a talent that reached far beyond the sonorous announcer duties we usually ascribe him. During rehersals, he had a quick wit and little patience for foolishness or bad jokes…but a good one could raise a laugh that sounded as if it came from the depths of the earth itself.

I’m honored I knew him, slight though the connection was. His voice, now silenced, will never be replaced.

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More on the Edwards/XM Connection

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 6:29 am

From the Washington Post: Radio host Bob Edwards, who drew millions of listeners to National Public Radio for three decades but was demoted earlier this year, is taking his signature voice to a competing radio universe, according to Edwards and executives of Washington-based XM Satellite Radio.

So only a few months from now we’ll have that familiar voice back in our homes, offices, and cars. An XM receiver is around a hundred bucks, with a $10/month fee for programming. Use the money you would normally send to your public radio station, and pick one up.

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Group Warns DVRs Endangered

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:46 am

From Wired: Television fans who like to choose when and where they watch their favorite programs are in for a rude awakening next year when new copy controls encoded in digital television streams will limit such freedoms.,1412,64309,00.html/wn_ascii

You know, everyone should read Lawrence Lessig’s book, Free Culture, to understand what the “entertainment” industry is taking away from us…

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Hot-Dawg! Bob Edwards to leave NPR!

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 6:52 pm

From The Seattle Post-Intelligencier: Bob Edwards, who recently was removed as host of National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” after nearly a quarter-century, is leaving the network to start a new morning show for distribution on satellite radio.

Hot-diggities! Now I can take the money I would have sent to support NPR stations and use it to purchase an XM radio and subscription! And actually be able to hear once again in the mornings, “I’m Bob Edwards!”

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Sam is gone.

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 3:31 pm

Sam Edwards, actor in countless Old-Time Radio programs and friend to many of us over the years who met and talked with him at OTR conventions, passed away this morning (Wednesday) around 9:20 MDT according to his son, Bill. His final performance was at the recent REPS Showcase 2004 in Seattle, WA. (Photos to come over the next days and weeks.)

Rest in peace, Sam.

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Sam Edwards

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 6:50 pm

I received the sad news earlier today from Joy Jackson, who heard from son Bill Edwards, that Sam Edwards is mortally ill, and not expected to survive the night. Sam is no stranger to Old-Time Radio, having performed thousands of roles over his career, but he’s no stranger to OTR conventions, either, having appeared at many conventions on both coasts.

In this photo (copyright 2004, L.O.F. Communications), Bill is playing for Sam as Sam, “sings for his supper” at Kaspar’s during the REPS Showcase 2004. Although I never did get the chance to sit down and talk to him at length, I cannot tell you how happy I am that I was able to see him one more time.

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OfficeMax Rebates: A Unique Horror Tale

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 1:02 pm

Ok, so as everyone who’s ever participated in any OfficeMax rebate campaign already knows, these folks do not want to actually pay the rebate they offer. But I think I found a new wrinkle on this old scam…

Back at the beginning of April, in one of their last big rebate promotions (they used to have them every week, but they’ve clamped down hard on them over the last few months - probably because the Feds and states are actually forcing them to pay), I bought a bunch of stuff ($156+, actually) that had rebates. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that I still haven’t received five of the submitted valid rebates and am battling them one-at-a-time with them over this, but the problem I’ve had with one of ‘em may come as a pretty big shock to even the most hardened veteran of the “Rebate Wars.”

Two of the purchased items were a 100-pack of CD-Rs and a 50-pack of DVD-Rs, both with rebate (listed on the website as “AND/OR,” so I know they are both valid). Submitted the rebates in plenty of time, and…yeah, you guessed it, they denied one of ‘em because of “multiple submissions.” I argued this “ruling,” and finally got some folks there to admit their computer system was fubar’d and approve the rebate. Of course, I haven’t yet received the rebate on the 50-pack, but I did get the check for the $12 on the CD-Rs.

Apparently, someone there realized they had actually paid one of their valid rebates and decided this was too far outside of their Standard Operating Procedures, so they stopped payment on the $12.00 check.

Nope, I ain’t making this up, kids. Annie and I got back from vacation to find the returned check, and a $10.00 bank charge on top of the $12.00 debit.

Can you say “ticked off?” I knew you could.

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Thirty-Five Years Ago…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 10:27 pm

…I was a kid, one who desperately followed the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs from the Redstone to the Saturn V. I snuck someone’s single-speed bicycle (I wasn’t allowed to have one of my own) and rode it across town and up the Queen Street Hill so I could get to a Gulf station and pick up some paper punch-out-and-fold LEMs. I mourned the crew of Apollo I when most of my friends couldn’t care less.

My family was vacationing at a campground in Lancaster County, and it rained for a few days (”those damned moon shots, that’s what messing up the weather!”), and there was a thirteen-year-old desperately begging to find a television, so my father decided to drive home and come back later to pick up the gear. We drove the hour or so with me hanging on every word coming out of the radio, silently willing the men so many miles away to hang on and wait until I got home.

They did. I watched, along with the rest of the world, as man touched another world. I marveled at the accomplishment of one man standing on the shoulders of thousands of others, and being lifted by the souls of three more. That evening, everything was possible. Even the race riots, which brought my city to the front page next to the flight of Apollo 11, stopped that night, the fires dying down, as the black-and-white video of two men hopping on truly foreign soil burned itself into our collective memory.

Over the next few years, I watched the imaginationless bureaucrats decide that our future really did have limits. I watched the possibilities of the 1960s turn into the destruction of the 1970s, and the soulless greed of the 1980s. Not since that night thirty-five years ago has everything been possible…not since that night has the human spirit been completely free.

For those who weren’t alive then, those who didn’t experience the limitless future of that magic night…I almost envy you. You don’t know the dissapointment of believing everything is possible, and then being shown it isn’t.

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Will Someone Tell Martha Stuart to Shut Up?

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:44 pm

I mean, c’mon…every time this woman opens her mouth she digs herself in deeper. Comparing herself to Nelson Mandela, for pity’s sake…and slipping up saying she hadn’t cheated, “the little people.”

Please, someone, tell this woman to shut up before everyone hates her guts.

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Am I the only one who thinks…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 10:11 pm

…the CGI Spider-Man moves like Gumby? I mean, good lord, could it look any more phony?

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NPR Seems Determined to Make Life Miserable…

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:56 am

Ok, first they can Bob Edwards and replace him with the truly annoying Barbie-And-Ken-Happy-Talk pair making it impossible for me to stomach the weekday morning show, and now, on the only day I can enjoy listening to NPR’s morning program, they sub Susan Stamburg in for the vacationing Scott Simon.

I only listened for over an hour, so I clearly missed the two minutes devoted to hard news, but I did hear much of Ms. Stamberg laughing her way through the program, and something about her pet that I was much happier not knowing. Dear lord, I don’t understand this network…they dump the great anchors, and hang on to the ones who are far out of touch.

C’mon, people…Linda Wertheimer is woefully underused. Have her sub for Scott when he goes on vacation, so you don’t screw up the only day I can stand listening to you in the mornings.

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Review: Jack and Bobby

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 3:37 pm

Ah, out with the old, in with the new. The television season is dead, long live the next television season. And to prepare for it, Iím going to review new shows as the pilots become available.

Jack and Bobby; WB, Sunday Nights 9:00 pm

Here’s a show with an interesting premise; there are two brothers, one of whom becomes a well-loved United States President in the future, the other of whom dies sometime before the brother’s assension to power. A documentary about “The Great Believer” acts as a springboard for flashbacks to contemporary time, as the brothers grow up.

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My Favorite Vacation Picture…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 10:54 am

There’s a story behind this photograph.

While enjoying North Myrtle Beach (Kingston Plantation, for those familiar with the area) and frolicking in the ocean surf, my wife, who had the camera to snap priceless photos of the redhead being knocked senseless by the waves, told me she thought she saw a fin. I wasn’t paying any attention (watching the afore-mentioned Katester roll butt-over-teakettle) and assumed she was refering to a bit off-shore, where it’s routine to see a few dolphin swim. She grabbed my arm and said, “No, right there,” pointing a few feet away.

I looked over and saw a leathery, backswept fin quite close to shore, being rolled by the waves, uncharacteristically out of control. “Take a picture!” I shouted as I backpeddled to a safer distance. She’s not used to the camera, so she started aligning the viewer, preparing the camera, and jumping through all sort of other hoops while the second backfin broke the water. “Gimme!” I demanded, grabbing the thing, pointing it in the general direction of the sea animal and pushing the shutter button. (NB: When something interesting is happening, and you have a digital camera, just frigin’ POINT AND SHOOT, often and fast. The worst that happens is that you have to throw the pics into the trash; it isn’t like you’ll be wasting money on processing or anything. Dont think, don’t aim, just point the camera in the general direction of the action and press the shutter button.)

Anyway, out of the pics I furiously snapped, this was the only one to show the fins breaking the water. The critter was able to break the hold the waves had upon it, and presumably swam back to the deeper water it was more comfortable searching for food in.

But it is my favorite vacation photograph for this year…

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More photos coming as soon as I can get to ‘em…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 10:57 pm

No, really. I swear I have a bunch of pics from the REPS Showcase ready to upload. I’ve been a little busy this week - immediately after the convention, I met my family for a short vacation. I’ll be working to catch up on business stuff over the next few days, and will get the pics posted over that time frame, too.

Might even post a pic or three of the Katester being buffeted by the waves at the beach. ;)

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