Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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6/30/2005


JamP3 Files…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 1:09 pm

(Note that when I get some time, I will severely edit this entry to be a bit more explanitory about what the JamP3 file is, how it works, etc. For now, though, I wanted to get these small files posted and available for anyone who needs ‘em. If you download the file, please add a comment to let me know you found this of use.)

A whole bunch of people are having problems with the ancient JamP3 MP3 player, and they frequently revolve around the tiny STA013.BIN file being missing from the internal memory “drive.” If you don’t have this file, simply click the link, download it, and copy to the internal memory (it isn’t needed on the external memory card, but must be on the internal memory “drive”). If you have a Macintosh, download Macintosh Control Panel SEA file, run it to decompress the Control Panel, drop that into your OS9 System Folder, and restart. Next time you connect your internal memory drive, if the file is missing it will be automagically added. Cool.

Added 23 September 2005: I’ve added for the Macintosh the two files in the OS 9 Extensions folder as JamP3_USB_Driver_Shim.sea - hopefully there isn’t anything else I missed, but if there is, let me know and I’ll dig it out. –cfs3

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6/22/2005


Been on a short vacation…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:28 pm

We had the opportunity to spend a little over a week in Myrtle Beach, SC (they tell me it’s the golf capital of the world, but since I don’t golf, that part is kinda wasted on me), so here we are, basking in the warm sun, cool ocean breezes, and relaxation that comes of being anywhere that isn’t one’s office.

My daughter, bless her soul, taught me the definition of “unbridled joy” the other night; when we drove down, I told her that no matter how late we arrived, once the car was unpacked she would be able to stick her piggies into the Atlantic. So at almost nine o’clock at night, with an almost-full moon overhead, she ran into the surf and foam, over and over again, squealing in absolute delight with the largest and most contented smile I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing how something so mundane can suddenly become the most fascinating thing in the world when seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old…the ocean became…truly magical.

Of course, I’m still fighting this annoying illness, so I’m not able to enjoy things quite as much as I usually do. Fortunately, my parents came down for a few days to share the sun, so Katie isn’t lacking for attention even though I’m spending way too much time “out of it.”

Below, for those interested, I am enclosing some photos taken here…simply follow the “More” link below if you’re interested in seeing them.
(more…)

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6/15/2005


TV Review: Supernatural

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 10:51 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.

Supernatural; WB, Tuesday Nights 9:00 pm

This one gave me a nightmare. No kidding; the night we watched this pilot, I woke up in the middle of the night screaming.

The pilot opens with a happy family ripped apart by tragedy - the father sees his wife helplessly sprawled across the ceiling, erputing into flame burning the home while he barely gets out of the house alive with his two sons. We enter the present, where one of those sons, Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki, Gilmore Girls) has done his best to escape his family’s bizarre history and is preparing for an interview which could give him a full scholarship to Stanford law school, when his older brother Dean (Jensen Ackles, Smallville, Dark Angel) arrives unexpectantly for a nocturnal visit. Dean tells Sam their father is missing after a, “hunting trip,” which means much more to Sam than it does to Sam’s unsuspecting girlfriend Jess. Ever since the tragedy, their father has “hunted” for the evil spirit who caused the death of his wife and the destruction of his happiness…the boys growing up knowing how to destroy deamons from hell while getting by with credit card scams.

The brothers discover their father had been researching a, “woman in white,” one of the “routine” manifestations of the neatherworld…over the years, men routinely die along the same strip of California highway. The boys investigate the deaths as well as the spirit, who strikes directly attempting to take Sam’s soul. But Sam isn’t some frightened mortal, and as he intuitively solves the mystery of the “woman in white,” he saves his own life while abruptly ending her earthly search.

Sam returns to Stanford in plenty of time for his interview…the ending of this pilot came as a surprise to me (although my wife was expecting it), with the one terrifying event that could drive Sam into joining his brother in the ‘67 Chevy Impala searching for their missing father and hunting for the one supernatural force clearly out to destroy the entire family and their happiness.

I have to tell you, if you’re squeemish you really want to skip this one. Although the special effects are at times jaw-dropping, they are not the primary suspense…in this show, what you don’t see is much more frightening than what you do. And remember that this pilot was enough to give me a nightmare when deciding whether or not you want to watch this episode.

But I promise you, if you do, even if you do have a nightmare, you’ll still be looking forward to the next episode…

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6/14/2005


How to Completely Screw Up a Useful Website…

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 3:33 pm

If you’re interested in how to royally screw up a website, taking one from something that is extrordinarily useful and easily navigatable to something hidious, almost impossible to use, and generally useless, look no farther than our friends at CNET. They have taken the extrordinary TVTome.com website, one of the sites used here on a weekly, if not a daily basis, and converted it into a flash-laden set of advertisements called TV.com, while making it impossible to actually find any information you might be looking for. Who was on last week’s Tonight Show? Simply find the Tonight Show pages, dig around for the episode guide (easy…the link is hidden, so look carefully!) which defaults to Season ONE instead of the latest season as TVTome used to, then navigate to Season 13…now which page is it on - since the old TVTome had each season on a single page, it used to be easy, but now that there are multiple pages for each season (we need to do that to force you to see more and more advertisements, I guess).

Good news is, there is a plug-in for Firefox that eliminates the annoying and bothersome Flash advertisements that constantly assult the eyeballs. I give this thing a few weeks, until the disgust for this “redesign” has enough people furious enough to start another fan-based website (which TVTome was, until purchased by the CNET conglomerate). If anyone hears of a good URL for TV episode guides (yes, I know about epguides.com, which is unfortunately stuck in bed with the scum at TV.com), please feel free to post URLs here in comments.

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6/12/2005


Sunday Lunch with … Carl Kasell

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:31 am

From the Chicago Sun Times: Sunday Lunch with … Carl Kasell
Sunday Lunch with … Carl Kasell

This short, shallow interview with Carl Kasell, Morning Edition’s newsman since the beginning of the show, contains a few interesting pull-quotes:

“I think people miss [Edwards],” Kasell says. “I miss him. He’s a good friend. I miss having him on the air.”

Kasell’s morning routine used to include a daily visit to Edwards’ office, he says, but, now, he rarely sees Inskeep, whose office is in another part of the building, or Montagne, who broadcasts from the West Coast.

The two are doing “a fine job,” Kasell says and doesn’t elaborate.

He also refers to the NPR managers as, “the suits.” (I assume these are the same people I refer to as, “the pinstripes.”) I only wish someone with more…skill…would have interviewed this longtime newsman, the only thing about the show I miss, not listening to Morning Edition.

Maybe when he retires, XM can hire him?

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6/11/2005


Apologies…been slowed down a bit

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:15 pm

I need to apologize for not getting as much done as I had hoped; seems I’m back-sliding on that sudden and unexplained recovery a bit, so I’m slower than I should be on getting a whole list of things accomplished. (*sigh*) You know, I don’t know which is worse…having an unexplained illness that keeps me from getting my work done, or having such a d*mned silly unexplained illness. (I mean, geez, there are so many things in life that are so much worse than this, it’s almost embarassing to suffer from this.)

Hope always springs eternal, of course, so knock-on-wood I’ll get myself caught up soonest, but in the meantime please forgive me if there’s something I promised to get done for you…I’m getting there, honest.

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6/10/2005


‘MacGyver’ Actor Dana Elcar Dies at 77

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 10:57 am

From the Associated Press via Yahoo: Actor Dana Elcar, whose role as Peter Thornton on ABC’s adventure series “MacGyver” depicted his real-life struggle with glaucoma and blindness, has died. He was 77.
‘MacGyver’ Actor Dana Elcar Dies at 77

The last performance I remember was a role on “Law and Order.”

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6/4/2005


Question Authorities: Why it’s smart to disobey officials in emergencies

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:44 am

From Wired: Question Authorities: Why it’s smart to disobey officials in emergencies
Question Authorities

This is a fascinating article, that shows how those who ignored authority during the attack on the Twin Towers in New York survived, while those who listend to those authorities died. Gary Wolf makes a strong case that those in the middle of an emergency generally have one leckuva lot more information and common sense than those miles ayaw dealing with an onset of telepohone calls. He suggests that real “Homeland Security” comes from multichannel networks of advice, information, and mutual aid, not from a bunch of burecrats in Washington.

As an anarchist from awayback, I have to admit this article simply reinforces what I already believed…

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6/3/2005


You are on…the Global Frequency

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 7:19 pm

Another failed WB pilot has been loosed from the grip of failure and is making the rounds across the Internet…and in this case, kids, I have to tell you, the WB is completely out of its mind for rejecting this one.

I’m not a modern comic book reader (preferring my collection of 60’s-era Superman and Batman comics; anyone else fondly remember the 80-Page Giant for a quarter?), so I wasn’t familiar with the “graphic novels” on which Global Frequency is based. The complete low-down on the comic mythology is available at http://www.globalfrequency.org/ for those interested, but the basic rundown is that Miranda Zero (Michelle Forbes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Homicide: Life on the Street) has created a world-wide organization designed to save the world from itself. Anyone you know can be on the Global Frequency; anyone who is the best at whatever it is they do, anyway. When Sean Flynn (Josh Hopkins, Ally McBeal, Cold Case - the character’s name is listed elsewhere on the Net inaccurately as Sean Ronin) stumbles over half a corpse in an alley holding a ringing telephone, his life is altered forever…and so is ours.

Aleph (Aimee Garcia, All About The Andersons), the Central Dispatcher for Global Frequency, and Miranda explain to Sean the organization, and the current mission he has stumbled upon (hey, the audience needs to know somehow, even if it is a little far-fetched that a secretive organization like this one would divulge this kind of information to any schlub who answers one of its telephones) - David Riggs, whose corpse is only half-there, has been tracking strange bursts of radiation in the San Francisco area over the past few months. They are increasing in intensity, and computers project they will become large enough to tear up entire city blocks within the next 55 minutes. Sean is sent Dr. Katrina Finch (Jenni Baird, All Saints, Crash Palace both Australian TV series) to find the source, and they are off to save the world from what will be a devastating explosion…

I have to tell you, this pilot kept my attention the entire episode with an almost 24-like intensity. The special effects were fine, and the plot reasonable, but the ability of the Global Frequency to recruit information from any of thousands of specialists makes this fascinating to watch. The climax of this story is morally ambivalent; as Miranda tells Sean, “This is what we do…we make the choices, and we accept the consequences. We walk with blood on our hands so other people don’t have to.” While being somewhat unsettling, it was also fulfilling, as Sean is offered a permanent position with the Global Frequency with the promise of many more adventures to come.

Unfortunately, like the Steven Bochco sci-fi pilot, NYPD 2069, which Josh Hopkins also headed, there won’t be any more episodes of Global Frequency to judge whether the look, feel, and interest of this pilot would have been sustained. But do me a favor…if any of you reading this know any execs at the WB, please ask them what the hell they were thinking passing on this pilot.

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6/2/2005


The Robinsons: Lost In Space

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 7:50 am

Last year, the WB went back again to the well of 1960’s television by commissioning programs based on both Dark Shadows and Lost in Space. Neither show was picked up (instead, we got fare like Jack and Bobby), but the unfinished pilot episode to The Robinsons: Lost In Space has surfaced at underground (and soon some not-so-underground) places on the Internet. I watched the pilot episode a few nights ago, and I have to say I’m somewhat conflicted.

See, I was never a great fan of the original Lost in Space, being something of a science fiction snob at the time; I mean, c’mon, talking carrots are not on the menu of anyone who reads Robert Heinlein or Issac Asimov. At the same time, the idea of a spaceship lost among the cosmos does present some interesting possibilities, if handled correctly. The question is whether or not this particular incarnation handled the premise correctly, and it’s here I’m conflicted…it shows some promise, while leaning on the whole bug-eyed monster thing for its driving conflict.

John Robinson (Brad Johnson, Melrose Place) retires from the service and the invasion wars (against a mysterious enemy not clearly described), and decides with his wife Maureen (Jayne Brook, Chicago Hope, John Doe) after the required angst to become a farmer on a colony planet and take his entire family with him. And yeah, this counts as problem number one for me, since I can’t imagine this guy mellowing out on some colony planet. But we need to get the family into space somehow…
(more…)

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6/1/2005


I’m doing better, thanks.

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:52 pm

A quick, “Thank You” to those of you emailing concern over the state of my health. I’ve been…annoyingly ill for a little over two months, but as you should tell from the increased output here on the blog, I’m feeling much better over the last week or so. I was never in any kind of “danger,” and am truly sorry some people got the idea I was deathly ill…I wasn’t. There’s been no “cure,” since no one can seem to find anything organic wrong with me to start with, but I am getting noticibly better on a daily basis, and am already up to pretty much full output again.

Of course, having missed out on the bulk of the month of May, I am woefully behind on a whole bunch of things. I’ll get caught up though, so long as I continue to feel as much better as I do right now. I’m “night-and-day” from a month ago at this time!

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Harry Shearer on The Bob Edwards Show…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 9:15 am

If you’re an XM Satellite Radio subscriber (and if you aren’t, you should be), check out today’s The Bob Edwards Show - although most of the interview deals with Shearer’s television and film career, there is a section at the beginning where he talks almost reverentially about The Jack Benny Program, and the cast members. He noted he thinks often about the professionalism of that program when dealing with the Sturm und Drang of modern sitcoms. (For Edwards fans, there’s also a familiar music sting to take us into the first break…)

Remember, the online stream is now included in the monthly price, and the Edwards Show is “looped” all day on the online Channel 133; also repeats on the satellite service at 9:00pm Eastern, 6:00pm Pacific, and alternates among the rest of the week’s shows during the weekend on the online service, so you should have no problem hearing the program.

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