Category Archives: Movies

Must See TV Again


Dick Howser managed the KC Royals to their only World Series victory. It is not as well known, however, that he was friends with Burt Reynolds as a youth. They both went to Florida State. I think this was actually before Bobby Bowden was the football coach. That’s how long ago this was. Reynolds played football for the ‘Noles, but he went on to acting. One of his early movies was Deliverance. He was in that with Jon Voight.

Voight sired Angelina Jolie who is married to Brad Pitt. Pitt played Billy Beane in Moneyball. Chris Pratt played Scott Hatteberg. In a sabermetric twist, Pratt’s day job is playing Andy Dwyer on Parks and Rec. Parks and Rec is written by Michael Schur. He was also Ken Tremendous on the Fire Joe Morgan blog. Scott Hatteberg was a pickin’ machine. Morgan was on the Big Red Machine. But before that, he was an Astro. One of his teammates was diarist Jim Bouton. Bouton and Howser were teammates before that on the Yankees.

DC Pierson is a comedian and buddy of Donald Glover who plays Troy on Community. Pierson has appeared in episodes of Community. Not sure if he had a speaking role, but he was involved in the recent war between Troy and Abed. Chevy Chase is Pierce Hawthorne on that show. He was Clark Griswold in the Vacation movies. Jane Krakowski played Cousin Vicki in the first movie. Now she plays Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock. Jenna is friends with Liz Lemon who has had a few boyfriends on the show. Among them is Dennis Duffy.

Duffy is/was played by Dean Winters. Winters is “Mayhem” in Allstate commercials. Another person who appears in Allstate ads is Pierson. He gets into a fender-bender with some business guy. Hopefully, this post ins more entertaining than a car wreck.

PS – The main Allstate spokesman is Dennis Haysbert. He appeared in Heat along with Jon Voight. They weren’t in the same scenes. I suppose that type of connection works in the Kevin Bacon Game, but it is rather tenuous.

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We’re Back!


If you aren’t from New England, you might not be following the wrath of Winter Storm Alfred. After a week, I am finally back online. I cannot guarantee anything, but I hope to have something up at Leatherheads of the Gridiron for Veteran’s Day.

If you get a chance to see a movie soon, I highly reccommend Anonymous. I saw it with my wife last nite. It was a little hard to follow at first, but the payoff is worth it. If, that is, you are ready to suspend your disbelief about some of the plot inaccuracies.

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Country And Westerns


George Jones was a hard drinking country singer. Don Imus used to use an excerpt from “The King Is Gone (And So Are You)” as bumper music.

Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter
That looks like Elvis
I soaked the label off a Flintstone Jelly Bean jar
I cleared us off a place on that
One little table that you left us
And pulled me up a big ole piece of floor

I pulled the head off Elvis
Filled Fred up to his pelvis
Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone
And so are you

There is a tragicomic story about how one time his wife wanted him to stop drinking. I might’ve been Tammy Wynette. He had a few of ‘em. The nearest liquor store was eight miles away, so George couldn’t walk there. She hid all the keys to all of their vehicles. George’s stash had run out and he was getting dry. He had one last resort: a riding mower. Those things top out at maybe 5 MPH, but he rode it all the way to the liquor store. It was probably a three-hour trip; longer if he was already drunk.

Jones would often blow off shows. Literally; a manager introduced him to cocaine. So he had another vice. This would lead him to financial ruin and Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings would help him out. Jennings had battled his own demons. He’d been arrested for coke possession.

If you were a boy when I was a boy, you remember Jennings; unless your parents wouldn’t let you watch The Dukes of Hazzard. He was The Balladeer. Jennings was part of the outlaw country scene and did a duet album with outlaw godfather Willie Nelson. They had a hit with “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” Before he was country, he was a rocker. Played with Buddy Holly. Would have died in the plane crash that took the life of Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper. The Big Bopper was sick and asked Jennings if he could take Waylon’s seat on the plane. Jennings agreed. When Holly learned that Jennings wasn’t going to fly, he said in jest, “Well, I hope your ol’ bus freezes up” and Jennings responded, also in jest, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes”. This exchange of words would haunt Jennings for the rest of his life.

My dad was a Glen Miller and Frank Sinatra type of guy, but he liked Buddy Holly. Holly was a like the Kurt Cobain of his day. He had a short career with an Everest-high peak. And he’d go on to influence Bob Dylan and the British Invasion bands who were soon to follow. Holly was no longer with the Crickets at the time of the crash, but they were his most famous backing band. Buddy Holly and the Crickets first single was “That’ll Be The Day.” This was a catchphrase that Ethan Edwards used in The Searchers. John Wayne played Edwards in the John Ford film. The director and actor would team up a few years later for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. (I prefer spaghetti westerns, but I cannot deny the greatness of the Ford and Wayne combo.)

Burt Bacharach wrote an eponymous tune inspired by the movie. A young man from Rockville, Connecticut named Gene Pitney recorded it. My mom was a couple of years younger than Pitney and they were in chorus together. He signed her yearbook. Pitney was also a sound engineer and songwriter. Like Buddy Holly, he was a master of the overdub, which was in its infancy at the time. He wrote “Hello Mary Lou” for Ricky Nelson. He befriended the early Rolling Stones. He even dabbled in country music and collaborated with… George Jones.

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Gashouse Hillbillies


I did a piece on Joe DiMaggio and Stephen Jay Gould for the Hardball Times annual (which should be out soon.) To give their readers a taste of my stuff I also sent them Gashouse Hillbillies for their website. It ran today.

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Orange WHIP


In The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood Blues sang the old Spencer Davis Group hit “Gimme Some Lovin’” On the original, teenage Steve Winwood sang and played the Hammond B-3. Winwood would go on to Traffic and later Blind Faith. Blind Faith was a supergroup that included Winwood, Ric Grech from Family, and Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton from Cream. The bandmates were indeed in the “Presence of the Lord” for Clapton was still God at the time. This was before his music became wimpy.

Blind Faith had the half life of plutonium and only recorded one album. Slowhand was more interested in playing with Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, anyways. But constant infighting between Delaney and Bonnie fouled that band up. Out of the ashes came Derek and the Dominoes. Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, and Jim Gordon all played with Clapton in Delaney, Bonnie & Friends and they joined him again on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. To complete the quintet, they called on Duane Allman.

Allman was the Sandy Koufax of guitar. He formed The Allman Brothers Band with his brother Gregg. Before that, he was a respected session musician. He played with all sorts of R&B cats down at Muscle Shoals. He played with Wilson Pickett and Percy Sledge. Aretha Franklin covered The Band’s “The Weight” and Duane played guitar on that. Kids today don’t remember the Queen of Soul, do they? Aretha was in The Blues Brothers. She played Matt “Guitar” Murphy’s wife and sang “Think.”

I suppose I could have went with Blues Brothers 2000. Steve Winwood appears in that with Eric Clapton as part of the Louisiana Gator Boys. So does Franklin, still playing Mrs. Murphy. But I’ve never seen that flick.

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Why Wasn’t This Guy Nicknamed Goose?


This guy I’m talking about is Greg Goossen. The Society for American Baseball Research is having their annual shindig in Atlanta this week. They have an email list called SABR-L. On that list there’s been a recent discussion about Gossen.

Goossen was a ballplayer back in the ’60s. He was on one of the early Mets squads. Once, he was coming back to the hotel after curfew and a bit schnockered. He ran into Casey Stengel, who was managing the Mets at the time. “Drunk again, Goossen,” said the septugenarian skipper. Goossen replied, “Yeah, me too, Casey.” But he’s more famous as part of a Stengel quote. It goes something like “There’s Ed Kranepool, who is 20. In 10 years he has a chance to be a star. And there’s Greg Goossen; in ten years he has a chance to be 30.”

45 years later, Goossen is still alive. He was a California guy and went Hollyweird after he hung up his spikes. Got a job as a stand-in for Gene Hackman in movies and ended up getting some bit parts as a result of this. One of these was the 1990 copedy Loose Cannons. S. Epatha Merkerson had a role in that pic. She’s best known as Lt. Van Buren from “Law and Order.” But she also did some film roles. She appeared in Terminator 2 with Ahhnuld.

Schwarzenegger came to fame in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron. But before that he made an uncredited appearance in Robert Altman’s adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. Synechdochically enough, he played some muscle in that flick. It was a quirky film; Elliot Gould’s Marlowe was like a fish out of water stuck in the Watergate era. I liked it and like to think that Mickey Mantle and Bowie Kuhn got a kick out of it, too. You see, toward’s the end, Marlowe blows away his friend Terry Lennox by firing his roscoe at point blank range.

Lennox was played by Jim Bouton. Bouton was Goossen’s teammate on the 1969 Seattle Pilots.

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Red Sox And Movies Mobius Strip


I have a new piece over at Seamheads. I think I know what to call these literary exercises now. They are loops with a twist; sort of like Mobius strips. IMO, that’s the best term for these.

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