Friday, July 14, 2017

Missing Music

When I got my new(er) car back in February, it had a SirusXM radio that had never been activated. Which means it was still eligible for the complementary three months service thing they do.

I'd had SiriusXM since I got Vlad (the Impala) in late 2007. It was actually XM Radio at the time, before the merger with Sirius Satellite Radio in late 2008. I'd gone through some cutbacks over the next few years, and was preparing to drop XM (it was Sirius XM by then), but one of the reps offered me a really cheap plan just to keep me on. Didn't offer much, none of the 60s on 6 type of channels, but it had Symphony Hall, Classic Rewind, Classic Vinyl, The Bridge, and Laugh USA, so it was enough to keep me entertained while driving. Overall, around 50 channels.

I don't see the plan I have online, so I'm assuming it was a retention plan, keeping me as a customer for $6/month (it just went up to $7/month in June) rather than losing me altogether.

Where was I? Oh. The radio in the new car. Right.

When I retired Vlad and put Abe into service, I contacted Sirius XM about switching service. Because of the plan I had, I couldn't do it online, and had to call them. I intended to simply switch service to the radio in the new car and leave everything as is. Well, that's when the CSR found out that Radio ID has never been used with the three month introductory plan. And, yes, it was still eligible. So, they put that on, and scheduled it to return to the previous plan ($6/month at the time) when it the three months were up.

Well, for three months, I had the big package. All the channels. And that's when I started wandering around the dial. Before that, I had programmed the channels I was used to on the presets. Then I went wandering. The Decades channels were there (you know, 60s on 6, 70s on 7, and so on), along with many others I had heard before. It was nice.

Of course, some channels were gone. 40s on 4 had been replaced by some nonsense on 4. Then, I stumbled across SirisXM 74, 40s Junction. So, 40s on 4 had actually been incorporated into a 40s-style station. I say that because they'd actually play songs from the 50s that were stylistically 40s music. For example, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White is a 50s song, but it sounds like something from the 40s. It was written in 1950, and was a major world-wide hit for Perez Prado in 1955. They didn't play that on 40s on 4, but did on 50s on 5, even though it sounded like something from 40s on 4. They do play it on 40s Junction.

The point is -- at least, now this is the point -- that I discovered how much I missed the 40s music. I never listened a lot to it, but would listen to some. I spent most of the next three months listening to 40s Junction.

The three months ended, and my subscription to the Sirius Basic plan kicked in again, right in the middle of some song. I toyed with the idea of upgrading my plan, but the cheapskate in me won out. Back to classic rock and classical music.

But, I do miss the 40s music.


[The YouTube]

I miss it a lot.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Watching the Un-MSTied versions, Update 1

I mentioned in June that I was watching the un-MSTied versions of the movies shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Actually, I had mentioned that in April, but that was in passing. In June, I began focusing on doing that. Still am.

Since the, I've only watched five of the movies I haven't previously seen in un-MSTied form:
  • The Deadly Bees
  • Invasion of the Neptune Men
  • The Mole People
  • Prince of Space
  • The She-Creature
Why only five? That's all I could find. I had to subscribe to Netflix DVDs to get those. Yes, I actually did that. And, it leaves me with 45 movies still to go:
  • Agent for H.A.R.M.
  • At the Earth's Core
  • Carnival Magic
  • Code Name: Diamond Head
  • Daddy-O
  • The Dead Talk Back
  • Devil Doll
  • Escape 2000 (Escape from the Bronx) (Bronx Warriors 2)
  • Final Justice
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon
  • The Green Slime
  • Hamlet, Prinz von Dänemark
  • Invaders from the Deep
  • Kitten with a Whip
  • Last of the Wild Horses
  • The Legend of Dinosaurs
  • Lost Continent
  • Master Ninja I
  • Master Ninja II
  • Pod People (The Pod People) (The New Extraterrestrials)
  • Quest of the Delta Knights
  • Red Zone Cuba (Night Train to Mundo Fine)
  • Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars
  • San Francisco International
  • Secret Agent Super Dragon
  • The Sinister Urge
  • The Slime People
  • Soultaker
  • The Space Children
  • Space Mutiny (Mutiny In Space)
  • SST - Death Flight
  • Superdome
  • The Starfighters
  • Teen-Age Crime Wave
  • Teen-Age Strangler (Terror in the Night)
  • The Thing That Couldn't Die
  • Time Chasers (Tangents)
  • The Touch of Satan
  • Untamed Youth
  • Village of the Giants
  • Warrior of the Lost World
  • Werewolf (Arizona Werewolf)
  • Wild Rebels
  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II
  • Women of the Prehistoric Planet (The Prehistoric Planet)
A few are available via Amazon by renting them. Over a dozen are listed on Netflix DVDs, but not in stock. So, I'm gonna ride Netflix DVD until that peters out. Will probably take a while, what with having to wait a couple of days inbetween each mailing. I've found other movies, unrelated to this project, that I'd like to see anyway, so I'm having Netflix send me those until the MST3K-related movies are back in stock.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Don Henley is now a tired old man

Remember the Don Henley song, "The End of the Innocence?"


Don Henley The End of Innocence by HollieMario

The lyrics at 1:59 refers to President Reagan as "the tired old man that we elected king." Now, while the song was co-written by Don Henley and Bruce Hornsby, and both sang it in concerts, the song and video were released by Henley, so he owns this, as far as I'm concerned.

Now, let's do some math.

From Ronald Reagan's birth to his inauguration was 25,551 days.

From Don Henley's birth to today is 25,551 days.

Don Henley, as of today, July 5, 2017, is now the same age Reagan was when he took office.

I wonder if he considers himself a tired old man. Maybe he should have just stuck to mentioning political references instead of trying to get personal. Because getting personal will always bite you in the ass.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Watching the Un-MSTied versions

I mentioned a while back that I was watching the movies that Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffed. The original versions. Without the riffing.

Why am I doing this? Heck, I don't know. Lots of things I do for no good reason. It's what I do.

Anyway, I've actually seen most of the movies. I've got 25 more to go.

Let's do some numbers real quick. There are 213 episodes of MST3K, counting the revival series on Netflix, and the local season on KTMA TV-23 in Minneapolis way back in 1988-89. There's also the movie from the "pilot" episode, which was really just a demo reel, not an actual pilot episode. That brings us up to 214 episodes.

Now, keep in mind that nine of the movies from the KTMA season were later re-done in Season 3 on Comedy Central. That means there are 205 movies to watch. Well, I've watched 155 of them. That means there are exactly 50 more to go. Here they are, in episode order, with alternate titles, or sometimes, original titles, listed along with them.
  • The Green Slime
  • Invaders from the Deep
  • Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars
  • SST - Death Flight
  • Superdome
  • The Legend of Dinosaurs
  • The Slime People
  • Untamed Youth
  • Women of the Prehistoric Planet (The Prehistoric Planet)
  • Wild Rebels
  • Lost Continent
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon
  • Pod People (The Pod People) (The New Extraterrestrials)
  • Daddy-O
  • Master Ninja I
  • Master Ninja II
  • Warrior of the Lost World
  • Secret Agent Super Dragon
  • Teen-Age Strangler (Terror in the Night)
  • Teen-Age Crime Wave
  • Village of the Giants
  • The Dead Talk Back
  • Code Name: Diamond Head
  • Last of the Wild Horses
  • The Starfighters
  • The Sinister Urge
  • San Francisco International
  • Kitten with a Whip
  • Red Zone Cuba (Night Train to Mundo Fine)
  • Escape 2000 (Escape from the Bronx) (Bronx Warriors 2)
  • The Mole People
  • The Thing That Couldn't Die
  • The She-Creature
  • Agent for H.A.R.M.
  • Prince of Space
  • Devil Doll
  • Invasion of the Neptune Men
  • Space Mutiny (Mutiny In Space)
  • Time Chasers (Tangents)
  • Werewolf (Arizona Werewolf)
  • The Deadly Bees
  • The Space Children
  • The Touch of Satan
  • Quest of the Delta Knights
  • Soultaker
  • Final Justice
  • Hamlet, Prinz von Dänemark
  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II
  • Carnival Magic
  • At the Earth's Core
All of the other movies, the other 155 movies, I've watched. Some I watched before there was an MST3K. I enjoyed some of them. Some, I absolutely hated. Which movies fall into which category is something I'll get into when I'm done watching them all.

Of course, that assumes I'll be able to watch them all. But, I know me. I'll figure out a way. In fact, 17 of these 50 are, or have been, recently available on DVD. The other 33 might be difficult. However, many of those have shown up online, though sometimes just briefly. There are only about four that I've not seen as available online or on DVD, even if briefly. I suspect I'll be able to see them all before the year is out.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kudos to Comcast

Up front, let me tell you that I absolutely hate those sorry grawlixes at NBC news. NBC can just cease to exist as far as I'm concerned.

Having said that, I do want to say some nice things about their parent company, Comcast.

Several days back, my mother's home phone went out. She has Comcast's XFINITY Triple Play, with cable TV, Internet service, and home phone provided by them. It's what she wants, it's what she's got.

Only, her home phone went out, and the local office -- people that have always been good to her and seem to want to take care of their customers -- told her that it would be a week and a half before someone could go by and service her account.

I jumped on social media (The Twitter and The Facebook) and let my displeasure be known about their making an 81-year-old widow woman do without a home phone for 10 days. Well, turns out that Comcast reads The Twitter and The Facebook. They reached out and asked for more information. After some communication back and forth, they left word that someone would be by on Sunday. That was last Sunday. And, someone did come by.

Comcast service tech Patrick made the visit on a Sunday afternoon, and, before he left, her home phone was working. He inspected all the lines under the house, in the attic, and outside. He found an issue -- actually, something that was still working but would become an issue in the future -- and got that fixed. She and I were happy with his service.

But that's not all. Let me relate about a family friend from the church, an 81-year-old woman who lives alone. She had DirecTV service that hasn't worked since summer, plus AT&T home phone, Internet (6 Mbps DSL), and cell phone (flip phone) service. They weren't giving her any discounts, despite having four services from AT&T (remember, they own DirecTV). She was paying out a lot of money.

No more.

Today, Comcast made their scheduled service installation visit, and hooked up her cable TV, Internet (75 Mbps), and home phone (ported her number). Service tech Eddie came by within the service window, and set to work to make her a happy customer.

He didn't work fast, but he didn't piddle around, either. He went through the steps, verified everything was working at each step, worked to clear up some hiccups along the way -- yes, I was there and watching -- and, when he left, she had everything she was wanting. And, she'll pay less for more. She's happy.

As much as people dump on Comcast -- and I'm sure much of it is deserved -- I think it's proper to say when something goes right. Maybe those people that trash Comcast have legitimate complaints. I'm certain they do. But, what they don't have is Patrick and Eddie serving them. People like Patrick and Eddie make Comcast look good.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

MST3K: Completing the library?

I wrote before about having a full library of all the video releases of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Shout Factory has continued to release volumes since I originally wrote that.

Volumes XXXVI, XXXVII, and XXXVIII have been released, as well as re-releases of Volumes 2, 3, 4, and 5. And, yes, I have them.

Volume XXXIX would normally be released this summer, based on the schedule Shout Factory has maintained since they took over the releases in late 2008. And they normally announce the next volume when a volume hits the stores.

This time, they didn't.

What they did do was announce that the complete Cinematic Titanic collection would be released in August. That's around the time of the normal MST3K summer volume release (traditionally, late July).

So, why no annoucement? Why Cinematic Titanic instead of a new collection of MST3K? I dunno. But I've never let that stop me.

In case you aren't aware, Cinematic Titanic was Joel Hodgson's project that, like Mystery Science Theater 3000, had a crew riffing on movies. Like RiffTrax -- from Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, who were Mike, Tom and Professor Bobo, and Crow and Brain Guy on MST3K -- they pretty much were themselves in the riffing. Like MST3K, they used silhouettes over the movie.

Cinematic Titanic ran from 2007 to 2013 with DVDs and live shows. Since it's from MST3K creator Joel Hodgson and featured MST3K stars Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester/Crow), Frank Conniff (TV's Frank), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester), and J. Elvis Weinstein (Dr. Erhardt/Tom Servo), it's quite closely related to MST3K. And, it seems that Shout Factory is using the complete CT catalog to fill in for the summer release. At least, that's how I see it.

Anyway, we're not sure if we've reached the end of MST3K releases, or if we're simply close to the end.

As of this writing, there are only 13 national classic episodes that have never been released in any form (that is, Rhino VHS, Rhino DVD, or Shout DVD):
  • Rocketship X-M
  • Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster
  • It Conquered the World
  • Fire Maidens of Outer Space
  • Attack of the The Eye Creatures
  • Girls Town
  • The Amazing Transparent Man
  • Terror from the Year 5000
  • I Was a Teenage Werewolf
  • The Deadly Bees
  • The Space Children
  • Quest of the Delta Knights
  • Diabolik
There's one other, The Amazing Colossal Man that has never been on DVD, but was released on VHS.

None of these are public domain, so rights have to be negotiated. Only two are likely for release: The Amazing Transparent Man and Quest of the Delta Knights (Source: Travis Hosey).

Shout Factory may never get rights to some of these. I'd personally be fine with them releasing any they could, with inclusion of previously-release solo items padding out to fill a four-pack. For example, Shorts Volume 3 was only on Rhino VHS and as a bonus disc on early issues of The Essentials (Rhino). That would be great to have for fans that didn't get those early or limited editions.

Some of the solo-only episodes would be great, too:
  • Beginning of the End
  • Red Zone Cuba
  • The Wild Wild World of Batwoman
  • Manos: The Hands of Fate
There are also some that were released on Rhino that have never been released on Shout Factory.
  • Eegah
  • I Accuse My Parents
  • The Crawling Hand
  • The Hellcats
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Technically, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was never a solo release, but part of the aforementioned two-episode The Essentials DVD release along with Manos: The Hands of Fate and, for limited pre-orders, Shorts Volume 3.

I wouldn't mind Volume XXXIX consisting of packaging some of the solo-only releases. For example, a Super Essentials with Manos: The Hands of Fate, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Shorts Volume 3, and maybe the full versions of Poopie and Poopie II (their bloopers reels) as the fourth disc. The uncut versions of the two films would make great Bonus Disc materials. They'd even make good replacements for the interviews and features that have been staples of the releases.

Volume XL could be one (or two) of the unreleased items for which Shout Factory has or can get rights, padded with Tom Servo's All Time Favorite Host Segments volumes 1-5, The MST Scrapbook, and The Last Dance - Raw (though that would be great to pair with Diabolik, should it ever see the light of day.

Perhaps they could even work out a deal with RiffTrax for some of their public domain movies they riffed to be released.

Now, I firmly believe that if Shout Factory were to release anything other than four previously unreleased episodes, they'd get complaints. Heck, they've received complaints about some of the four-packs of unreleased materials. Some people live to bitch, moan, and complain.

Anyway, I'm not sure if we're on the home stretch, of if we've actually crossed the finish line.

Oh, and I've not even mentioned the KTMA episodes. Word is they exist. I've seen them, or tapes of broadcasts from episode 4 on. They're rough. They're not the quick-paced riffing we're used to, because it was all ad-libbed. Still, there are some gems there. But that's a topic for a whole 'nuther day.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday Night Fish Fry

What's the oldest rock n roll song you know? When did it come out?

If your answer after 1949, you may want to think again.

Until recently, I wasn't familiar with Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry." But now I am. How I ran across it is ... well, there's a story.

A long time ago, on the SiriusXM radio in the car, I had several of the Decades channels on the presets. 40s on 4, 50s on 5, 60s on 6, 70s on 7, and 80s on 8. I stopped after the 80s because I know what music from the 90s and later sounds like. But the thing that might surprise some is the 40s on 4.

Some of the songs from the 40s are songs that I would listen to as far back as high school. Not many back during my high school days, but some. And as time has gone on, I find more and more from the 40s are songs I'd listen to. I have a few songs from the 40s on my iPhone for occasional listening. Which means my listening might consist of a sampling of Beatles, Pink Floyd, Merle Haggard, The Who, Aerosmith, Glenn Miller, Bob Seger, Joe Walsh, and Nat King Cole.

I was a little disappointed when SiriusXM did a reworking of the channels some time back and 40s on 4 disappeared. Channel 75 Pops disappeared at the same time. I was not a happy camper.

Anyway, the other day, I noticed that right below Channel 74 Met Opera Radio was Channel 73 40s Junction. So, I added that back to my presets, just ahead of 50s on 5.

Now that we're all caught up, I have noticed that when I switch channels because I'd rather hear something else, that when I stop on 40s Junction, I'm not so quick to change to something else. So, I'll drive for some time listening to that.

Well, the other day, right after Glenn Miller (or Benny Goodman, or Artie Shaw, you get the idea) something called "Saturday Night Fish Fry" started playing. I looked over to see if I was still on 40s Junction, or if I had hit the Next button on the steering wheel and moved to 50s on 5.

Nope. Hadn't moved. Was still on 40s Junction, listening to what sounded like a rock n roll song.


[The YouTube]

Now, I have heard some 50s songs -- songs from as late as 1955, the traditional start of the "rock n roll era" -- on 40s Junction. But, I made a note to look this song up. 1949.

That's rock n roll before there was rock n roll.

If you know of an earlier rock n roll song, let me know.