Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man




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11/24/2006


I am Federal Agent Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life…

Filed under: General, Television — Charlie Summers @ 11:42 pm

In my misspent youth, I was quite the whiz with video games. “My” game was Missile Command (kids, ask your parents, they’ll remember it), but I was pretty slick with the home ColecoVision, too. So video games are a piece of cake. Or so I thought.

Back on my birthday anniversary, my wife gave me the Playstation2 game, 24: The Game. We finally got around to buying a used Playstation2, so I’ve been playing the game.

Good lord, I’m old.

Like I said, I was good with these things back in the seventies and eighties, but things have changed a good bit. In the first place the controller has something like six hundred and fifty buttons on it, all assigned at least three different functions…and who’s idea was it to put on two joysticks, for pete’s sake? These things were not made for a fifty-year-old, trust me.

24: The Game is a season of the TV series wrapped up in a game; it takes place between seasons two and three (the break that ticked off 24 fans everywhere, since they ignored the season two cliffhanger), and is meant to explain many of the plot jumps between those “days” in Jack Bauer’s life.

So in playing the game, the player is Federal Agent Jack Bauer. In my case, at least as long as Jack can stay alive.

Seriously. I have managed to get Jack killed so many different ways I’m expecting a phone call from Kiefer Sutherland any minute telling me to knock it the hell off already. And in my case, Jack’s driving skills are…er…well, let’s just say you don’t want to be a pedestrian in the virtual Los Angeles. Even when I’m supposed to run into something, I have trouble; when I’m not, for some reason, I have no trouble at all running into people, trees, or buildings. How does a sixteen-year-old managed to split the two halves of his brain, using one joystick for steering and the other for acceleration/breaking? This is quite literally the gaming world’s version of patting your head and rubbing your tummy.

On the other hand, some of the puzzle-solving in the game is embarrassingly-simple for someone of an advanced age, yet appears to be difficult for the kid-set. (One of the suggestions I saw on the Net for one of the simpler puzzles was, “get a pencil and write down…” Made me chuckle.) But getting to the puzzles requires completing the other missions, designed for the reflexes of a far younger gameplayer.

All that said, I have to admit I’m having the time of my life with this thing. At the push of a button, I can have that well-known character shout, “Federal Agent! Take Cover!” And for the fanboy inside the old man, that’s more satisfying than you can imagine.

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11/22/2006


Well, I’m stepping into it this time…

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 3:08 pm

As my regular readers know, I started this blog for various reasons, one of them because I can’t post opinion pieces to the Internet OTR Digest anymore. Before I became “list mom,” I was an active poster, but once I put on the “magic hat” of the maintainer, I found it necessary to stop, since anything I opine on the Digest becomes misinterpreted by some as the “official” position of the publication instead of just one fella’s opinion. Here on this blog, I don’t have that constraint, though, and can say whatever I think without fear someone will think it has anything to do with my role as chief bottle washer of the Digest. My opinion here can be taken as that - my take on things, not some “official truth.”

With that in mind, let me stick my foot into something unpleasant while expecting to be savagely critiqued (just keep it clean, kids). Recently, Ken Greenwald posted his opinion on the Digest that modern “re-creations” (we’ll get into the semantics there in a minute) were…less than inspiring. Stuart Lubin immediately challenged him on that opinion, posting in effect that Mr. Greenwald must have been smoking something…ok, he didn’t say that, but his tone was similar to the tone one might use with a learning-impaired child, more pitying than angry that Mr. Greenwald could be so terribly and obviously wrong.

Problem is, I agree completely with Mr. Greenwald. Let me gently refute some of Mr. Lubin’s assertions to explain why I agree…
(more…)

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11/21/2006


I am furious…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:21 am

Last night, through a sequence of comedic errors on my part, I managed to accidentally hear The Kalb Report on XMPR (the public radio channel of XM Satellite Radio). I’m angry because it took mistakes to stumble upon the show…what the heck is wrong with XMPR’s management that they can’t publicize their programming?

Seriously, this is getting to be almost criminal…the channel management may be crippled by the idiotic website XM provides to them (can you imagine how all the channels could benefit from having a fluid, dynamic website not dedicated to nothing more than the use of Flash over substance?), but there’s absolutely no excuse not to promote special programming like this during the Edwards Show, Here and Now, and other popular programming in the week or two prior. This is like the line from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when Arthur is told where the planning documents are hidden - “Ever thought of going into advertising?”

It’s almost as if the channel management is determined to drive away listeners…

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11/17/2006


The Hall of Fantasy - The Masks of Ashor

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 11:23 am

Halloween may be past, but I’m not spooked out yet; Bill Scherer has made available episodes from this classic spookfest, which we are thrilled (and a little frightened) to post!

And now…The Hall of Fantasy! Welcome to The Hall of Fantasy; welcome to the series of radio dramas dedicated to the supernatural…the unusual…and the unknown. Come with me, my friends…we shall descend to the world of the unknown and forbidden…down to the depths where the veil of time is lifted and the supernatural reigns as King! Come with me, and listen to the tale of…The Masks of Ashor!

icon for podpress  Hall of Fantasy - The Masks of Ashor [24:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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11/15/2006


It’s finally happened…

Filed under: General, Television — Charlie Summers @ 11:04 pm

My wife and I sat down to watch CSI: NY this evening (I know, but there wasn’t anything else interesting on at the time), and by twenty-minutes after the hour, we knew who the murder was (the most prominant guest star, of course), and even the “twist” the writers were going to use (based on a news story from last year we both knew about). Yep, we knew who the killer was, who the killed was, and all before the bottom of the hour.

We spent the rest of the time doing some work, while keeping an ear out for the inevitable which occured at the end of the show. Of course, we had called the whole thing straight down the line.

Either I’m getting smarter (unlikely), or television (at least its writers) are getting dumber.

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11/14/2006


KFC’s logo first to be seen from space

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:56 pm

From Michael Castellon: KFC’s logo first to be seen from space

KFC has the honor to be the first brand to be visible from outer-space, according to company officials. Me, I’m just hoping the aliens don’t destroy the planet when they discover there is no intelligent life here, at least in the marketing profession.

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11/13/2006


RIAA: we love fair use. No, really!

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:35 am

From Ars Technica: RIAA: we love fair use. No, really!

From the article: “Despite his quoting from section 107 of the Copyright Act, it’s apparent that Sherman’s vision - and that of the recording industry - differs from the historical understanding of fair use. The consumer’s best interests - being able to lawfully consume the content they purchased in the time, place, and manner of their choosing - go unacknowledged in the RIAA’s vision of fair use. Instead, the record labels and movie studios would have us pay multiple times for the same content.”

I almost shot my coffee through my nose when I read this article.

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11/12/2006


The Hall of Fantasy - The Dance of the Devil Dolls

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:59 am

Halloween may be past, but I’m not spooked out yet; Bill Scherer has made available episodes from this classic spookfest, which we are thrilled (and a little frightened) to post!

And now…The Hall of Fantasy! Welcome to The Hall of Fantasy; welcome to the series of radio dramas dedicated to the supernatural…the unusual…and the unknown. Come with me, my friends…we shall descend to the world of the unknown and forbidden…down to the depths where the veil of time is lifted and the supernatural reigns as King! Come with me, and listen to the tale of…The Dance of the Devil Dolls!

icon for podpress  Hall of Fantasy - The Dance of the Devil Dolls [24:24m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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11/11/2006


Life Of Riley - 48/11/05, Comic Books

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:31 pm

Charles Salt has provided this show to the readers of the OTR Digest; it is the correct version of an episode that is routinely misnamed:

Someone has now turned up The Life Of Riley 48/11/05 ‘Comic Books’ episode so I have it if anyone wants me to e-mail it to them. It’s worth checking your Riley set as the Comic Books episode is often mislabelled and is really 47/06/28 Riley and Gillis Spend A Week At The Lake’.

Enjoy!

icon for podpress  Life of Riley - November 5, 1948 [30:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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11/9/2006


So I made this manometer…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:35 pm

Under the heading of, “I have to tell you this story so I can tell you that one…”

As some of you know, I suffer from a medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea (there are other kinds, but for now I’ll shorten this to just apnea); it’s a throat condition where during sleep the throat collapses, blocking the flow of air. An apnea sufferer’s brain, feeling rightly that the body is trying to kill it, will awaken enough to take conscious control over that pesky breathing thing, to make sure it gets some oxygen. This happens over and over, all night long, to where an apnea patient doesn’t get much (if any) REM sleep. This means, after eight hours, the poor slob feels like they haven’t gotten any sleep at all…which they haven’t. Multiply this by days…weeks…well, let’s just say apnea patients are probably the least pleasant people on the face of the earth.

Ok, so the “cure” to this is to use a machine to pressurize the airway down the throat; the pressure creates an air “splint,” keeping the throat from collapsing, keeping the brain from thinking it’s being throttled, and thereby keeping the patient in dreamland. (I know the medical profession treats this as a sleep disorder, but it ain’t; it’s a throat disorder. It’s frustrating for us to have to deal with lectures on insomnia, when we have no trouble at all sleeping, it’s that whole breathing thing we can’t do properly.)

Back to that CPAP (stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and we’ll ignore that my CPAP machine does not provide “Continuous Pressure,” by design) machine. Anyone who tells you they enjoy having some machine blow up their airway like a balloon is lying to you, but those of us with any sense suffer with the ill-fitting masks, the big tube running off our face into the machine, the “rain-out” of condensation on winter evenings, and all the other despised nonsense, because we kinda like being awake and alert at 2:00 in the afternoon. I mean, someone with a broken leg doesn’t like their cast, but they wear it so they can avoid having their foot on backwards, right?
(more…)

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11/8/2006


The Hall of Fantasy - He Who Follows Me

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 8:03 pm

Halloween may be past, but I’m not spooked out yet; Bill Scherer has made available episodes from this classic spookfest, which we are thrilled (and a little frightened) to post!

And now…The Hall of Fantasy! Welcome to The Hall of Fantasy; welcome to the series of radio dramas dedicated to the supernatural…the unusual…and the unknown. Come with me, my friends…we shall descend to the world of the unknown and forbidden…down to the depths where the veil of time is lifted and the supernatural reigns as King! Come with me, and listen to the tale of…He Who Follows Me!

icon for podpress  Hall of Fantasy - He Who Follows Me [25:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Finally, the campaign is over!

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 3:40 pm

I tend to avoid partisan politics here (no sense in getting into unnecessary arguments), but here’s something to note with which I believe people of all political persuasions can rejoice:

NO MORE UNSOLICITED TELEPHONE CALLS FROM POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS!

(Ok, for at least another year or so.)

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11/5/2006


Ok, let’s try this again…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 3:40 pm

So I decide to get back on the horse, then I immediately fall off. So let’s try this again…

Lessee…we have photos to post from Halloween, we’re going to continue the Halloween season (it ain’t over ’till I say so!) with some Hall of Fantasy shows provided by Bill Scherer, who also provided an interview with Fred Allen I need to make available. There’s also some comments/complaints about some companies I’ve dealt with recently, and even some news stories that you might have missed I think you should know about.

All of this will start as soon as I get the 2006 Cincinnati Nostalgia Convention video safely stored. Yes, I’m that far behind, why? (This doesn’t bode well for getting 2006 FOTR Convention photos up any time soon, eh?)

Aside: There’s actually a reason I’ve been delaying posting photos from last spring’s Cincy convention. Before I post the photos, I have to get into how truly terrible the hotel was this year, and I’ve been avoiding that. I know it has to be done, and done soon if I ever want to get the FOTR stuff done, but it’s still almost painful to let you know the pitiful shape of the hotel’s housekeeping…

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