Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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January 2010
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Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:34 am

I spend a whole lot of time on this blog whining about things that disappoint me…and it seems as one grows older, one is less tolerant of disappointment. But not everything in my life is a bother…some things make me actually smile, or pleasantly surprise me, and I don’t blog about those things nearly often enough. In the spirit of the most wonderful holiday season which I simply cannot let go, I’ve collected a few of them here, after the jump.

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I am seriously angry at HP…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:24 am

I tend to use computers well past their useful lives…I add on hardware to keep them working and accomplishing the tasks I need, so I don’t purchase computers very often.

So imagine how appalled I am to discover that since I purchased my last computer, both the manufacturers and Microsoft have found seemingly hundreds of annoying ways to try to stick their hands in my pocket. (And don’t get cocky, Macintosh users…iLife+iTunes is even more obnoxious.)

I purchased a refurbished quad-core HP computer after Christmas for a really good price, with plans to use it as my video processing computer…it shipped with (ugh) Vista, but even refurbished qualified for a free upgrade to Windows7, so until I got the upgrade discs I didn’t do much with it (and as an aside, I kinda like Windows7, as embarrassing as that might be to admit). Now that I’ve upgraded the machine, I’m trying to get it straightened out so I can use it, but I keep running into stumbling blocks. Or, more accurately, programs determined to connect me to something I neither want nor need, all designed to take my money.

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I’ll be a guest on Radio Once More Friday night

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio, News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 1:08 am

In an apparent attempt to get their Live365 radio station canceled, the hosts of Radio Once More, Ken Stockinger and Neal Ellis, have invited Your Obedient Servant and the Worst Voice in Internet Audio to guest on their program this Friday evening, January 22nd, at 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time, 6:00pm in the west (and in Baltimore it’ll be 9:42).

Please join us at that time, when we will attempt to answer the question, “What the heck is he doing here?” Check out for complete details and to listen in.

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Are the Days of Leno, Letterman and O’Brien as Polite Hosts Over?

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 12:59 am

From the New York Times’ TV Watch: Are the Days of Leno, Letterman and O’Brien as Polite Hosts Over?

Interesting article, this…from it: “The Leno-O’Brien fracas is both shocking — an explosion of incivility that burns through late-night bonhomie — and also reassuring. It turns out that the cliché that comics are angry, bitter people deep down is true.”

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I Now Have a Personal Theme Song!

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:01 pm

The blog takes a break from the pressing news of the Jay/Conan/NBC kerfuffle to proudly announce your humble webmaster is somewhat insufferable right now. There is a story to be told, though, before we get to the good stuff.

As my regular readers know, I am a big fan of The Bob Edwards Show. So much so that I created a fan-based site before the show had one of it’s own. The show recently had a very talented artist, Jill Sobule, on the show to talk about the clever way she self-financed her most recent CD.

Now understand, I really pay attention to the show, its staff, and its website. And I noticed they decided to run a contest where Ms. Sobule was providing five lucky people a theme song of their very own…so of course, I entered, since let’s be real, even an old guy like me needs a theme song. I mean, imagine…he enters the kitchen in the morning, theme song playing in the background, while he makes his morning cappuccino to thunderous applause…

After I entered, I kinda forgot about it. Until I got a note from one of the producers that I was one of the lucky winners! (I have a suspicion that, considering my usual luck, there were only five entries, but hey, I’ll take whatever good fortune I can get.) He asked me to write a paragraph about myself, which considering my natural modesty was almost impossible, but I struggled through and finally completed it. (It won’t surprise anyone who knows me that the paragraph was written considerably tongue-in-cheek, although at the same time every word of it was absolutely true - I don’t know if Jill or the producer believe all of it, but I can provide references to back up every strange event and interest.)

Thanks to a screw-up in my spam filters, this theme languished in a filter file until I rescued it this evening. My wife and daughter are trying to decide what to do with me now, since I now refuse to enter a room until my theme is played.

All (or at least most) kidding aside, please listen to the theme at the bottom of this post - and yeah, plan on hearing this, or at least pieces of this, frequently here on the blog. And after you do, head on over to Jill’s website and listen to some of her songs - she makes a rotating selection of her work freely available to enjoy. I think you’ll agree with me that she’s well worth the listen, and if you do purchasing a CD would be a great way to help me thank her for this silly yet deeply personal theme song. I am grateful, and a little humbled, by this. Doesn’t hurt that it makes me laugh every time I hear it, either.

And before I let you get to the song, a special thanks to Senior Producer Chad Campbell. He doesn’t realize how in awe of him I am…I mean, the guy has people like Jill and Carl Kasell on his speed dial, for heaven’s sake. How cool is that?

icon for podpress  Charlie's Theme, by Jill Sobule [0:53m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Don’t Cry for Me, Downtown Burbank

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 6:24 pm

From The New York Times’ ArtsBeat: Don’t Cry for Me, Downtown Burbank

From this highly-recommended comment piece: “…amid all the public vilification of Jay Leno and the NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker, no one seems to want to trace this slap fight back to where it began: the 2004 deal in which Mr. Leno agreed to step aside as “Tonight Show” host in five years.”

Indeed, Leno acted (as I mentioned in a previous post) as a lame duck for five years, and still maintained the number-one position in late night, something O’Brien couldn’t maintain. Blaming Leno for this disaster is foolhardy…blame the morons at NBC instead.

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NBC - The Biggest Loser

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 8:01 pm

From The New York Times: Op-Ed Columnist - The Biggest Loser

From this opinion piece by Maureen Dowd: “In a town where nobody makes less than they’re worth, and most people pull in an obscene amount more, there has been a single topic of discussion: How does Jeff Zucker keep rising and rising while the fortunes of NBC keep falling and falling?”

Morons, I tell you. Morons.

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Some comments on The Tonight Show kerfuffle…

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 7:06 pm

Like the rest of America, I am staring transfixed at the most recent NBC blow-up, a real-life drama vastly better than any “reality” program or scripted drama could possibly be and something closer to a train-wreck than a programming decision. And all of this is caused by a combination of simple factors…apparently every NBC executive is a complete and utter moron who thought the network could have it all.

It’s important to remember the seeds for this started five years ago, when Conan O’Brien’s contract was up for renewal. It was decided by the network to keep him from jumping to another network (FOX, ABC) by promising him the crown jewel of The Tonight Show that early, and kicking down-the-road what to do about the now-lame-duck Jay Leno, who accepted the firing (yeah, although he had one helluva long severance period) with barely-contained grace. Leno pushed the Sisyphean bolder to the top of the late-night hill, and it was clear to everyone he was being slapped in the chin as a thank-you.

Last year, when the end was clearly near, NBC had to deal with that can they kicked, and decided to bump Leno to prime time to keep him from bolting to another network (ABC, FOX) while the untested and untried O’Brien faced his toughest battle, one he has yet in seven months to win. Unlike a whole lot of people, I did not hate the idea of a prime-time Leno show; the pseudo-reality garbage cluttering up the airwaves runs a whole lot more than five hours a week, so blaming Leno for the lack of scripted television is idiotic. I admit after watching the first few programs, realizing it was nothing more than The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno in prime time was a little disappointing, since I figured something leaning more toward the variety shows of the past would work better, but I am also smart enough never to bet against Leno, whose work ethic and solid focus has consistently triumphed over those supposedly smarter, hipper, and funner than he. (Sorry, Dave, but you were supposed to win that battle handily and never really could. O’Brien must have been a refreshing change…someone who presumed to be hipper than you, yet someone you could handily knock off first place.)

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Reserve NOW for the 2010 FOTR Convention

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 2:41 pm

I realize this is a little early to be thinking about next October 21-24 Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention, but if you’ve considered attending (and you really should), now would be a great time to make hotel reservations.

Louise at the Ramada Plaza (formerly the Holiday Inn) tipped Jay Hickerson off to a great deal…don’t know whether it’s a typo, they are treating the seperate wings of the hotel (old and new) as different or what, but…

Head to the Ramada web-based reservation system and do a hotel search for Newark, NJ. You will find two listings for the Ramada Plaza…one that lists at $79.00/night, and another for the same building that lists for $49.00/night. Obviously, pick that latter one, which is the best price on this hotel I think I’ve ever seen! No pre-pay is required, and reservations can be canceled up to 6:00pm the first night.

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