These days TV is a bit much. Lots of choices, channels and yes chatter but there are some highlights…..

For a price you can see every game from your favorite team.

You can watch many more movies, even the current releases and don’t have to pay 80.00 bucks for popcorn.

The DVR replaced the remote as the best invention of the new millennium, but there are some things no matter how good modern technology is that we will never get back.

Case in point……

alice pic

Yeah call it the Alice effect.  Ann B Davis died at the age of 88 —yet  another reminder of how our TV childhood died a little more as well. We all felt like we knew Alice. When she was on our TV not much else was— which made her more a part of our family.

Think about it—-we feel when Alice, Gilligan, George Jefferson and even Archie Bunker  passed on because they were in our homes more often—trust me you’ll feel the same way when Potsie and the Ralph Malph leave us one day.

Its a far cry from today’s TV family which seems dysfunctional.

Its just not the same anymore. What do the kids these days consider TV family? Who will they mourn in 30 years?

The lead “Dancer of the Stars“, your latest “Survivor” or the biggest winner on the Biggest Loser?

Not exactly Laverne or Shirley?

Modern TV gives us a lot but doesn’t deliver many Alice’s anymore—heaven forbid when my hero Henry Winkler (The Fonz) passes on…

Those changing TV times—the first rant in this week’s Naborhood –as always thanks for stopping by.

S–P-E-L-L-I-N-G ON TV: While we are on the subject of TV, can we please put an end to this…..

jacob spelling bee kid

Many don’t feel sorry for 15 year old Jacob Williamson who came off cocky fumbling the word kabaragoya effectively making him the Steve Bartman of the Scripps Spelling Bee.

C’mon–he’s just a goofy kid…….

Whether you think spelling is a sport or not and I don’t —its another example of why preteens and teens competitions should be kept off of national TV. Public access is one thing, ESPN is quite another.  This includes Little League Baseball too—talk about not ready for prime time players.

Let the kiddos be kiddos.

They should enjoy being kids and that includes competition. I know we are in the dog days of summer but its senseless to exploit competitors who are dealing with enough peer pressure—I’m not sure besides their parents, who is watching this stuff anyway?

My daughter Ally advanced to the finals of her school’s Spelling Bee and was upset when she was eliminated—I had a front row seat for her disappointment —I’m glad it wasn’t seen on National TV?!

FAULT IN OUR STARS: Speaking of my daughters, I’ve always liked to read but their interest in books over the past few years has really motivated me to read more. Once in a while, I like to read the same books so we can compare notes. I tried to keep pace with the Harry Potter series but couldn’t keep up..

I did enjoy the latest book my older daughter Morgan brought home “The Fault in Our Stars”—the fourth novel by the talented John Green. Its a fictional story but inspired by Green’s stint as a chaplain in a children’s hospital.

fault in our stars pic

The title is inspired by a famous line from Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar (act 1, scene 2). The nobleman Cassius says to Brutus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Fitting for a book which will make you laugh but more often—will make many of your cry.

The book centers around 16 year old cancer patient Hazel Lancaster who is forced by her parents to attend a youth cancer support group and meets her love interest, 17 year old fellow cancer patient Augustus “Gus” Waters who is an ex basketball player and amputee. Their story is different than any other book I’ve read.

Its one of the best books I’ve read recently. Now me and my daughter are excited to compare notes for the movie which promises to be one of the biggest hits this summer.

ZIMMER’S LEGACY: Speaking of the movies–that was the last time I had a chance to talk with Don Zimmer. I took my Dad to see an advanced screening of the  film “42” –Zimmer and his wife sat in front of us. Afterwards, it was great to get his perspective on the film which he labeled the “mild” version of the real deal—-he would certainly know.

I have heard lots of tribute’s of a man who has been described in many ways but my favorite characterization —Zimmer truly was the Forrest Gump of Baseball—the man spent 66 years in the game and seemed to be present for all of the game’s biggest moments.

zimmer pic

He met Babe Ruth, won World Series titles with  Jackie Robinson, was an original New York Met, was the third base coach when Carlton Fisk  waved his arms while hitting his legendary homer to beat the Reds in the Series.

I’m not done—Zimmer was Boston’s manager when Bucky Dent hit his infamous Fenway homer, was a Yankee coach during George Brett’s pine tar game—-then went on to mentor the likes of Derek Jeter and Evan Longoria in his twlight years.

He was fiesty (ask Pedro Martinez and old school (one time he didn’t like a goofy feature I asked him about and snapped at me) But most of the time he was gracious and the best ambassador the game ever had.

Oh and if that wasn’t enough—his likeness on the Rays’ Zimbear goes down as arguably the best giveaway of all time. Sure beats a bobblehead and much more authentic–don’t ya think?

zimbear pic

Its amazing his whole life, Zimmer never received a paycheck from anything other than the game of baseball—if you ask me that should land him a spot in the Hall of Fame—they allow sportswriters in—why not baseball’s “Don”

FANTASY ROCK BANDS FOR $25: Many of us love our fantasy sports drafts but have you ever played in a Rock N Roll Draft? Credit sportswriter Matt Norlander who on Twitter started an interesting discussion—-if you had 25 dollars to assemble your all time favorite rock band—who would you spend money on??

Creative stuff from Norlander who as you see broke your fantasy rockers down into five categories: Frontman, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Bassist and of course your all important drummer.
These guys are matched up  like Duke and Marquette in March. Surely lots of debate when it comes to your top seeds. Queen’s Freddie Mercury is your top rated frontman commanding 10 dollars—a big chunk of your 25 and 7 more than Bono and 9 more than Jim Morrison—tough crowd huh?
Hard to argue with Jimi Hendrix getting top billing—10 dollars for your top lead guitarist. He edges an impressive trio of  Stevie Ray Vaughn,Prince and David Gilmour.
The bassist guitar category had some household names at the bottom of the list where some guy named McCartney only commanded 2 dollars while Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones can be had for a buck?
Then you have the drummers where Rush’s Neil Peart is your 10 dollar cap buster followed by John Bonham at 9 bucks.
Let me know how you would spend your 25 dollars? If it was up to me—-a smooth move would be to have the Beatles all to yourself. Lennon and Ringo are off the board and seem to be “free” agents –so you could grab Paul and George and have the whole group for 3 bucks??
No–I’ll play within the rules. My dream Rock Band for 25 dollars?—how about this Fab Five…
better mercury pic
Frontman—- Queen’s Freddie Mercury  (10) –eats up lots of my cap space but worth it.
Lead Guitarist—Eddie Van Halen  (5)—a bargain!
Bassist—Rush’s Geddy Lee (7)–a little pricy he’s my guy.
Rhythm Guitarist– Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard (1)—had to cut costs but not a bad option huh?
Drummer–Police’s Stewart Copeland (2)—my only option to make it to 25 but a good one
Norlander created a great concept—-unlike fantasy football—I think my fantasy rockers are guaranteed to deliver on many more days than Sunday….
NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: Back to baseball–a game where numbers are king. Dimaggio‘s legendary 56 game hitting streak is beyond peer or is it??
Breaking news from the Windy City this week has legendary broadcaster/drinker Harry Caray revealing in a 1972 diary of his documents he kept for “tax purposes” that he a drank an immortal 288 straight days. Some in bars, some in hotels and you know some in the broadcast booths.
Caray’s 1972 diary glitters with such names as Wilt Chamberlain, Don Drysdale, Jack Dempsey and Jack Benny, according to Chicago Sun Times reporter Neil Steinberg, who had a chance to leaf through the small, dark green “Day Book” he says was loaned to him by Grant DePorter, CEO of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group in Chicago.

On Jan. 1, the diary has him visiting four bars, running up tabs totaling almost $40. If that seems low, Steinberg notes that in 1972 a six-pack of beer cost $1.29.

This is the kind of history that needs to be in Cooperstown folks. Are you kidding me—drinking diaries from Harry Caray—does it get any better than that? We miss Caray in baseball where the sport doesn’t have any more characters on the airwaves—besides Bob Uecker and occasionally Ken Harrelson.
Yeah I miss Skip Caray too–stay tuned on his drinking diaries…..
EXTRA POINT: As I type this, my Rays have the worst record in baseball and have lost nine straight—–I’m not waving the white flag yet but how about mixing things up by dealing David Price for a few bats???
Mike Nabors


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