Showing posts with label ABC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ABC. Show all posts

Friday, June 03, 2016

Trump's Amerika . . . prophesied by ABC?

A fascistic American president goes rogue, decides to nuke Pakistan.

Just because. And does.

Sounds like great TV. (It was.) Sounds like a nightmare reality. (It could be.)

Now watch as prime-time TV of a few years ago meets a superpower that's going absolutely mad right now -- just in time to turn a roomful of television writers, circa 2012, into postmodern Nostradamuses, circa 2016.  

From Wikipedia:
When the crew of the U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, the USS Colorado (SSBN-753), pick up a U.S. Navy SEAL team off Pakistan's coast, the Colorado receives an order to launch nuclear ballistic missiles at Pakistan.
Colorado's Commanding Officer, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher), asks for confirmation of the firing order because the orders were received through a legacy Cold War secondary communication channel, only to be used in the event that Washington, D.C. has already been destroyed. After confirming Washington's continued existence and refusing to fire the missiles until the command is sent through the proper system, Chaplin is relieved of command by the Deputy Secretary of Defense William Curry, and the Colorado's second in command, Lieutenant Commander Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman), is given command instead. When Kendal also questions the orders and asks for confirmation, the vessel is fired upon by the Virginia-class submarine USS Illinois (SSN-786). Two nuclear missile strikes are subsequently made on Pakistan by other U.S. forces.
Realizing they've been declared enemies of their own country, the Colorado seeks refuge on the island of Sainte Marina (a fictional French island located in the Indian Ocean) and commandeer a NATO communications and missile warning facility. When a pair of B-1 bombers is sent to attack the submarine and island, Chaplin launches a Trident nuclear missile towards Washington, D.C. to impress upon the national leadership that he's serious. The B-1s turn away at the last minute, but Chaplin (who has altered the missile's final target coordinates) allows the missile to visibly overfly Washington, D.C. and explode 200 miles beyond in the open Atlantic, the explosion clearly visible from both Washington and New York City. Via a television feed to the media, he then declares a 200-mile exclusion zone around Sainte Marina.
Now, the crew must find a way to prove their innocence and find out who in the U.S. government has set them up, so they can finally return home.
OURS IS an age of signs and wonders. Mostly signs, and prophecy can turn up in unlikely places. Like prime-time network TV.

Last Resort, which ran for just one season, was one of my favorite TV shows -- never missed it, and every episode kept you on the edge of your seat. And every episode, I kept thinking "This could happen. We are so close to this really happening."

Now that crypto-fascist, loose-cannon Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president, we are close enough to TV-show-as-prophetic-voice that I am getting nervous.

No, that's a lie.

I am scared s***less. Donald Trump is a racist, unhinged, authoritarian thug -- one who has repeatedly espoused violence at home and abroad, advocates torture and other war crimes, and who says he just might go nuclear in the Middle East and maybe even Europe -- and that's just fine by about half of America. The United States as a constitutional, democratic republic is dying before our eyes, and it is not shaping up to be a peaceful end.

We have enough nuclear warheads and bombs to end life on Earth several times over . . . and a petulant, unstable know-nothing has an even shot at winning the "nuclear briefcase." 

IF YOU want to do some election-year political research, buy the 13 episodes of Last Resort. They may well be one of the most prescient previews of a Trump administration that you'll find.

Make sure you have extra underwear.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

You may be a radio geek if . . .

. . . your ringtone is the late-'60s/early-'70s sounder for ABC radio's American Contemporary Network. If you are of a certain age, you'll remember it. 

Yeah, I'm a radio geek, all right.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The tragically hip

The staff of Jimmy Kimmel Live risks getting sucked into the black hole at the core of hipper-than-thouism for the sake of making you laugh really hard at nothing -- which is exactly what lies at the core of idiot hipsters so totally cooler than you that they're, like, soooooooo into bands that, like, don't even exist. 

But the Chelsea Clintons, the Obesity Epidemic and Get the F*** Out of My Pool really ought to. That'd be a hell of a show.

Watch the whole thing; you don't want to miss the guy dressed like Sitting Bull. Or would that be, more precisely, Sitting Bulls***? Whatever, maaaaan.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mormons, Quakers . . . they're all the same, right?

Go to 4:49 in the video for Whoopi's epic fail

There always have been idiots on television.

Thing is, they used to be limited -- on network television, at least -- to areas where their lack of intellectual prowess didn't really matter that much. Now, however, the mere fact that you're famous for something automatically means you must be qualified to talk politics, or science, or about any damn thing where the "little people" obviously need straightening out.

This cultural development, then, just had to lead to this moment on The View, where noted intellectual (snort, sputter)  Whoopi Goldberg tries to play gotcha with Ann Romney, wife of the Republican presidential nominee, about Mitt's lack of military service but apparently gets Mormons confused with Quakers or Jehovah's Witnesses or something.

Because all those religious freaks are all alike, no doubt. 

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: As first lady, if you get the job, it’s going to entail a lot of things, and one of those things is going to be talking to the mothers whose children are coming home in bags, you know, from wars. Now, I know -- I believe that your religion doesn’t allow you to go fight.

No, that's not correct. We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in armed services.

WELL, at least Whoopi didn't ask Mrs. Romney why Mitt didn't have a beard and why they had electricity and cars and stuff.

I guess that's not nothin'.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Drink milk. It's groovy, man.

When you're throwing a Shindig, there's nothing more refreshing than a nice, cold glass of milk. And if you're not hep to that jive . . . er, forget that, wrong decade . . . and if you don't think "the vitality drink" is sooooooo totally far out, man, just ask Bobby Sherman.

Really, man. If you're not hip to that, maybe you're just too square to be a Shindog, man.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Simply '70s: Because I'm a geek

Because I'm a geek, here's a look inside a radio station.

In Detroit.

In 1970.

Because I'm a geek, I miss stuff like radio in Detroit in 1970. And because I'm old, I remember radio in 1970 pretty well.

ALSO because I'm a geek, I liked it when television news featured, uh . . . news.

And because I'm a geek, I liked it when you could distinguish, back in 1970, the network news from the network soaps.

AND BECAUSE I'm a really big geek, I like to watch stuff like this on

Some people see a guy getting all worked up over an old cassette recorder, and their weirdo alarm goes off. Geek that I am, I'm thinking "Why does this guy have all the fun and not me?"

It's not an old, never-unboxed radio-cassette deck. It's a time capsule from 1970 -- and you get to play with it because it was built much better than anything you'll find in 2011.

Now, if it could pull in radio stations from 1970, you really might have something there.

Says the geek.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Simply '70s: Cult of the spectacular crash

This spectacular wreck at the 1975 Indianapolis 500 explains a) why people watch auto racing, and b) why Charlie Sheen got a million Twitter followers in one day.

Any questions?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Simply '70s: (Sp)AM America

Before ABC had Good Morning America to wake up its segment of the television audience, it had a little something called AM America.

And on this April 25 back in 1975, Saigon had been surrounded by the North Vietnamese army . . . and Stephanie Edwards wasn't faring too much better amid a Monty Python offensive in the ABC studios in New York.

The boys were plugging their new film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail as, no doubt, the American breakfast-time audience consumed "ham and jam and Spam a lot."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Simply '70s: The place to be

I lived in Baton Rouge in 1970. And Baton Rouge being Baton Rouge, we would not get a full-time ABC affiliate until the next October.

Therefore, I was robbed of at least one full season -- and probably more -- of classic Friday-night television goodness.
But I'm not bitter.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Sic semper (Argentine) tyrannis

The spring of 1982: Britannia rules the waves . . . and, once more, the Falkland Islands.

In Argentina, things weren't going so well. Thus always to tyrants, Gen. Galtieri.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Beta or VHS?

How quaint, these electronic marvels of 1984 and our obsession with --
What do you call them . . . VCR machines?

In case you were wondering how it all turned out, Steve Lincoln's entire life was destroyed by a rogue electrical surge, home taping won, Jack Valenti is dead and Baba Wawa is wewwy wewwy old now and gabbing on The View.

MEANTIME, most of the mom-and-pop video stores no longer exist, and neither does Betamax. And if you want to buy some of these super-cool VCRs and videotapes . . . check out some weekend estate sales.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Your Daily '80s: 1986 looks back on 1969

In the fall of 1986, a new prime-time news program hit the
ABC airwaves -- Our World.

It was a news magazine devoted to the news of days past, with Linda Ellerbee and Ray Gandolf as hosts. I minored in history, so I was a sucker for this show.

Sadly, not so many others were.

Anyway, direct from the fall of '86,
Our World looks at the summer of '69.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Good night, David

John Chancellor and NBC Nightly News say goodnight -- and goodbye -- to David Brinkley as he departs for, eventually, ABC.

Just before leaving regular TV duties for good in 1996, Brinkley would -- unaware that the camera was still on during Election Night coverage -- speak great truth about the Clinton Administration after a colleague asked him what he thought of the president's re-election:

"The next four years will be filled with pretty words, and pretty music, and a lot of goddamn nonsense!"

Those are what you call timeless words, able to be applied broadly to presidencies, no matter of which political stripe.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Your Daily '80s: A bitter PiL

John Lydon of Public Image, Ltd., possessed many skills in 1980. Lip syncing was not among them.

Come to think of it, remembering the lyrics most of the time wasn't part of his skill set, either.

And Dick Clark thought things would go according to plan when the former Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols and his new band, PiL, came for a May 1980 visit . . .
why, exactly? Like, dude, this ain't no Fabian or Frankie Avalon you're dealing with here.

WELL, Dick, it doesn't have much of a beat, and you can't do The Hustle to it, so I'll give it a . . . 275 out of 100.

The Man totally had it stuck to him that day.

IN JUNE of 1980, on the other hand, the great Tom Snyder of the Tomorrow show wasn't taking any of that s***.

If Lydon was gonna throw curve balls -- or a googlies, if you want to be cricket about it -- Snyder was gonna grab his bat and take his cuts.
And not necessarily at the ball.

I've featured the
Tomorrow interview before, but it's well worth another look.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Missing Johnny

Tonight -- well, I guess last night now -- I was watching the first disc of a two-DVD set, the Best of the Johnny Cash Show.

And I found myself desperately missing Johnny Cash. I found myself desperately missing an age when The Johnny Cash Show was possible on network television -- this, remember, in an age when you only had NBC, CBS and ABC (and, if you were fortunate, NET . . . the forerunner to PBS).

THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW wasn't about country music, though Cash was a country giant . . . and featured plenty of his contemporaries. The real star of the show was music itself -- all kinds of it, categories and neat little formatic boxes be damned.

OK, SEEING Eric Clapton, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash all on stage at the same time may have made me cry a little.

Bridges. Between past and present. Between whole genres of music. That was the essence of Cash. Here's another bridge . . . a big one, an important one:

MY GOD. Making history . . . by paying tribute to musical history.

Now, let's close it out with this gem. This is the
ABC Television Network, the time is . . . June 7, 1969.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

TV a go go


It's right here . . . just in from 1964, when television was a lot more creative and a whole lot funner.

BESIDES, you couldn't beat Johnny Rivers, in glorious black and white, at the height of his "a-go-go" powers.

Friday, April 09, 2010

When they get pissy in the salon

A high-school classmate made my day Thursday by passing this along on Facebook, and I just couldn't resist sharing it with you.

This highbrow shoot 'em up on The Dick Cavett Show back in the day is a bittersweet reminder of a time before America's EEG flatlined, and that of network television along with it.

ENJOY as a pissing match gets served up in the electronic salon along with the tray of canopés as Cavett and writers Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer and Janet Flanner go at it. In a most erudite manner, of course.

Make sure you watch the clip all the way through. Just do it.

In the end, the moral of this 1971 television gem probably is this:
Don't mess with the boy from Lincoln, Neb. And I don't mean Vidal or Mailer.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What hath SCOTUS wrought?

There is such a thing as too-free speech. Especially when it comes to big business and politics.

With the U.S. Supreme Court allowing corporate America to throw its money behind candidates directly -- as in running campaign advertising -- elections won't become just another opportunity for electing the best Congress money can buy. Nooooooo, elections will become major branding opportunities, too.

We only have to go back to 1948 to see what that looks like. Then, when ABC radio personality Don McNeill was "running" for president, Swift saw it as just another opportunity for (ahem) bringing home the bacon.

We never learn, do we?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't mess with Cokie

You can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can't always take the Louisiana out of the girl.

And, you know, that ain't always a bad thing.

I suppose I need to follow This Week more carefully, because I totally missed this gem of a moment from early October, when veteran ABC and National Public Radio correspondent Cokie Roberts gave a short, blunt and quite reasonable answer to the question "How do you solve a problem like Polanski?"

REALLY, there's a certain rough elegance to prescription written by the daughter of two Louisiana members of Congress -- just take Roman Polanski out and shoot him. While we can argue about state violence and the death penalty -- which I'd just as soon abolish -- it takes a moral midget (of which we have plenty) to equivocate about the gravity of what the acclaimed director did.

He took a 13-year-old girl, plied her with drugs and champagne, then had his way with her. The law calls that rape. Most also would call it pedophilia. And what he has coming would pretty much involve taking him out and shooting him.

And though I would like the state to operate on a plain slightly above "He needed killin'" . . . well, sometimes, it just has to be said.