Monday, August 29, 2005

If A Blog Falls . . .

Well, I finally have confirmation that someone actually has read this blog because I received my first comments today. Thank you for all of your sincere offers to help my with my printing needs, search engine positioning and real estate opportunities. I look forward to your continued avid readership of this blog.

At some point over the past few years I have turned into an old fart. I had no desire to tune into the MTV VMAs last night, not even for the inevitable train wreck moment that will undoubtedly signal the end of someone's once-promising career. If I did watch the show would have been solely to celebrate the triumph of Green Day (considered old farts themselves to some of you youngsters out there). I have not, however, become so ossified that I would shell out big bucks to see (insert big FM DJ voice here) "The Stones". I remember in college I turned down the opportunity to see the group when they were touring in support of "Tattoo You" because I thought they were past their prime. That was almost 25 years ago! From what I recall my buddies (there were no "peeps" in 1981) told me the most memorable part of the show was when all 60,000 fans at Franklin Field in Philadelphia booed Prince off the stage. Of course, shortly after opening for "The Stones" Prince released 1999, and in the process began his own inexorable slide into the "classic rock" playlists of the 21st century.

Speaking of the 21st century, I feel gypped that I don't yet have a flying car. Shouldn't we all be driving flying cars and walking exclusively on moving sidewalks by now? Geez, we don't even have freaking monorails anywhere but Disneyland! The best we've been able to do so far this century is plasma TV. It just doesn't seem like we've hit our stride yet. Oh well, we still have a little time.

TTFN!

Mr. Ray

Sunday, August 28, 2005

More of the "10 Books That Made Me What I Am, For Better Or Worse"

My last post got me thinking about what the other nine books would be for my list. Generally they are books I read between the ages of 10 and 20, most of which I haven't read since I was a kid. Here are Nos. 2-5 (listed in order of remembrance):

2. Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia - If I read it today I would probably be embarrassed that it formed so much of my outlook on rock music, but in my pre-teen years it opened up a world of music beyond the Top 40, and led to my continued desire to read about music and take a chance every once and awhile on an band or an artist that might be a little off the beaten path (although unfortunately many of those paths are becoming increasingly well-worn).

3. Robert Metz, Reflections In A bloodshot Eye - A critical history of CBS circa 1975, it was the first book I read that provided insight in the entertainment business as well as a concise history of radio and television, which continues to fascinate me to this day.

4. Unknown 1973 NFL Preview Magazine - I don't remember the title or the editor, but this magazine, printed on glorious black & white newsprint, included a complete summary of the 1972 season, on a a team-by team basis, recaps of the playoffs and the Super Bowl (including the "Immaculate Reception" and the Dolphins' 17-0 run culminating in a 14-7 win in Super Bowl VII over the Redskins), as well as a preview of each team for 1973 (the Norm Snead Era for my New York Giants didn't quite pan out as predicted). To an 11-year-old this was the printed equivalent of watching an endless loop of the old "This Week In Pro Football" TV show.

5. Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle In Time - Quite simply, this was my Harry Potter.

More book titles to come later.

One last thing for today. As part of the of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 championship team, the L.A. Dodgers' TV broadcast on FSN this afternoon started with two cameras in black & white and then gradually improved to the current technology. I caught the first few innings of the broadcast and while it was not as well done (or historically accurate) as a similar broadcast the Fox network did for their national game a few years ago, what made this really special was that Vin Scully was behind the mike, just as he was in 1955. Scully is one of the last of the great mid-century baseball broadcasters still active, and he is uniquely positioned to provide his audience with a first-hand account of what the television broadcast was actually like 50 years ago. Truly amazing! Some university should fund a researcher to sit Scully in front of a video camera and just have him give an oral history of his remembrances as soon as possible. I'd be happy to volunteer for the gig.

TTFN!

Mister Ray

Friday, August 26, 2005

A New Beginning?

Without much thought or planning (and without the aid of any performance enhancers), tonight I am making my first post to my new blog. Why am I blogging now, at age 43? On a Saturday morning in August 2005? As I mention in my profile, I need an outlet. Somehow I ended up in a very stressful job in a once-glamorous business where over the past 15 years my working day has evolved from about 10 hours a day (with a 1 hour lunch break) to about 14-15 hours a day, with lunch always at my desk. Why do I keep at it, why don't I quit? Two reasons, really. The first is that I really have no other marketable skills except for taking a similarly stressful job in the same dying industry for probably significantly less money at a competitor. The other is that I'm under contract for another 16 months, and I am taking some perverse pleasure in seeing if I can actually serve out the remainder of the contract without keeling over first.

Hopefully as I become more comfortable with my blog I'll be able to share more about myself, which I plan to do by writing about things that interest me. What might those things be? Well, let me start off by telling you how I got here to this site today.

As a kid I spent too much time watching TV. I should have spent more time riding my bike, playing ball, or creating the MS-DOS operating system, but instead a good chunk of time every afternoon was spent in front the tube. Like most kids, cartoons were a big part of my broadcast day. I was fortunate in that in my prime childhood years local TV stations still showed a fair amount of theatrical cartoons from the 1930s-50s, as well as the 50s-60s TV product that retained sufficient charm and entertainment value to offset the increasingly mediocre contemporary 1970s cartoons that dominated the three networks on Saturday mornings. Anyway, as I grew older my interest in animated cartoons never waned, and one fateful day while in college I stumbled across a copy of Of Mice And Magic by Leonard Maltin, which is one of the "10 Books That Made Me What I Am, For Better Or Worse" (we'll probably hit the other 9 over time, once I figure out what numbers 2-10 were). Anyway, recently I picked up the book for the first time in about a decade, which rekindled my somewhat dormant enthusiasm for animation. Inspired anew by the Maltin book, for the first time I began to investigate many of the excellent animation websites, particularly http://cartoonbrew.com and the many related sites which link from there. One of those links on the Cartoon Brew site was to a fascinating collection of drawings by the animator Irv Spence (here is the link to that site: http://filboidsudge.blogspot.com/). Well, I noticed on the top of the page on the Filboid Sudge site an invitation to "get your own blog". Well the next thing you know I clicked on the link, and here I am!

This is just an example of the fascinating stuff you'll be getting from old Mr. Ray on Midlife Slices for the foreseeable future (or at least until I decide to change my outlet from blogging to something more daring like self-administered body art). In the immortal words of Tigger (Paul Winchell, R.I.P.), "T.T.F.N. - Ta Ta For Now!".

Mister Ray