1960s

Pop Culture Affidavit Episode 58: Movie Songs!

Episode 58 Website CoverIt’s time for YET ANOTHER PLAYLIST EPISODE! Inspired by Andrew Leyland’s movie scores episode of “The Palace of Glittering Delights,” I’ve compiled a playlist of songs from movie soundtracks that are both classic and obscure but are in many ways spectacular. I’ve got Simon & Garfunkel, The Bee Gees, Queen, Irene Cara, and (of course) Kenny Loggins. So many movie memories! So many songs left off the list!

iTunes: Two True Freaks Presents Pop Culture Affidavit

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Two True Freaks Presents: Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

 

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Bottom of the Inning: Taking Baseball Personally (Baseball, Part Two)

Baseball 10thIn my last post, I mentioned that watching all of Baseball made me feel like I was in an introductory, or “101” class on the game.  As well-researched and well-crafted as Ken Burns’s documentary was, there were times where I felt like I was getting the history textbook version of the baseball story:  hit the high points, go selectively in-depth, and completely skip over quite a bit.

While that’s a valid criticism, leaving it at that would be giving the work short shrift, especially since it’s a full day’s worth of a documentary.  Furthermore, I spent much of that first part of my look at Baseball on summary and critique and didn’t give much of my personal “story” as it is, or at least my personal reactions while I was watching it.  Which is kind of the whole purpose of this blog, right?

So that’s what I’m going to do.  Inning by inning.

First Inning (“Our Game” 1850s-1900):  This isn’t Baseball, this is seventh grade social studies with Mr. Kerkhof.  We’re talking about the Antebellum period and …  man, the 1800s are boring.  But this?  This isn’t so much because it’s an origin story, the kind I’m fixated on whenever we begin looking at an important event.  What were the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War and how did it progress from there?  Who actually founded the Roman Empire?  When did the  Middle Ages officially begin?  Who played that first game of baseball and what was it like in what seems like the Dark Ages to me–before Ruth, Gehrig, Mays, Mantle, and every other name I know?

Second Inning (“Something Like a War” 1900-1910):  I’m ten years old and my parents have given me a “Baseball’s All-Time Greats” baseball card set, the one I spotted in the Sears catalogue.  There’s Ty Cobb, and there’s Honus Wagner, who has the most expensive baseball card in existence, something I learned on a feature I saw on 20/20 the previous year.  I begin looking at the all-time stats for the old players and am amazed and even though many of their records have been broken, they still are in the top five for many of their most notable categories.  The card set is worth original retail price (and even today it’s not worth much), but what it lacks in monetary value it more than makes up for in facts.

Third Inning (“The Faith of Fifty Million People” 1910-1920):  To me, it’s not the Black Sox scandal; it’s Eight Men Out and Field of Dreams.  It’s “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” and the last scene of that softball episode of Married … With Children that parodies the last scene of Eight Men Out.  It’s also the idea that even something as pure as a game I play on Saturday mornings in Little League can be corrupted by outside influences (yunno, beyond the opposing team’s coach being friends with the umpire).

Fourth Inning (“A National Heirloom” 1920-1930):  I’m in the fifth grade and we’re asked to take a biography out of the library for our latest book report/conference with the teacher.  I grab one about Babe Ruth.  He competes with Gehrig.  He is supposedly “stranger than fiction,” which is what one of the chapter titles says.  Despite my being an excellent reader, I have trouble getting through the entire book.  I don’t know if it’s because the book’s badly written or because I don’t find the subject matter as interesting as I thought I would.  In fact, I can’t remember if I ever finished that book.  I do know that when I had my conference with Mr. Schafer about it, I did fine.

Fifth Inning (“Shadow Ball” 1930-1940):  I have no personal context for this.  In fact, if there is any episode that I found myself glued to, it’s this one.  Growing up, my knowledge of the struggle of African-Americans was limited to slavery, Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, and Martin Luther King Jr.  I was not exactly a scholar.  I knew the Negro Leagues existed but I don’t think that what little I read about them in books clued me in to what extent.  If anything, I’m grateful for what I gained from this episode.

Sixth Inning (“The National Pastime” 1940-1950):  It’s 2012 and I’m in a used bookstore on the Downtown Mall.  I’m looking for a copy of As You Like It but am also perusing the small graphic novel section.  On my way to the counter, I pass sports and Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer.  It sits on my shelf until the start of the 2013 season rolls around.  While Kahn’s biographical retelling of his time becoming a sportswriter is interesting, it’s his visits with former Dodger greats and the retelling of Jackie Robinson’s history that pulls me in.  For years, I knew three things about Robinson:  he played for the Dodgers, he broke the color barrier, and he stole home once in the World Series.  This tells me so much more.

Seventh Inning (“The Capital of Baseball” 1950-1960): I’m twelve years old and my family is throwing one of those big barbecues where everyone–from my mom’s side and dad’s side–is there.  My Uncle Brian, a die-hard Yankees fan, spends a good hour talking to Grandpa Panarese about baseball in the 1950’s.  They talk about the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers.  I don’t interject; I just listen.  It’s one of the best memories I have of these two men and one of the most informative conversations upon which I ever eavesdrop.

Eighth Inning (“A Whole New Ballgame” 1960-1970):  To me, this is where baseball begins; specifically, in 1962, when the New York Mets go 40-120 and set an all-time single-season loss record that still stands.  I cut my baseball history teeth on An Amazin’ Era in 1986 and to me, “baseball history” has always involved Seaver, Koosman, Swoboda, Clendenon, Agee, Grote, Garrett, and McGraw.  Yes, there are more important figures in baseball history and more important events.  But it’s the lovable losers’ transformation into the Miracle Mets that I always remember.

Ninth Inning (“Home” 1970-1993):  It’s fascinating to see Bob Costas tell the story of being in the Red Sox locker room during the Buckner play and watching the champagne get wheeled out as quickly as possible.  It’s also fascinating to see testimony from Red Sox fans who were wounded by the play.  After all, I rooted for “the enemy” in 1986.  My nine-year-old dreams came true when Jesse Orosco threw the last pitch to Marty Barrett (I have a poster on the wall of my classroom), so it never occurred to me that someone might be upset by that night’s events.  Beyond that, there are so many recognizable faces here and I wish he was taking more time on them; I wish he was reminiscing with me the way he was reminiscing with my parents through the seventh inning.

When it ends with a talk about how baseball endures I realize that this isn’t a documentary; it’s a eulogy.  The season was cancelled due to a strike the month before the first episode aired and it doesn’t seem like we’ll get the game back.  Furthermore, it’s hard to pick a side because everyone seems greedy; everyone seems like a villain.  And here, at the funeral, we’re all trying to remember why we came.

Tenth Inning (1994-2010):  I was there.  I remember that.  I watched that.

I will never tire of watching Barry Bonds fail to throw out Sid Bream.  I always loved how much fun Ken Griffey Jr. seemed to be having–and always wished I had that swing.  I was cheering for McGwire the whole time and have to admit I was disappointed when the PED charges came to light.  I never cheered for Bonds unless he struck out looking.  I want to buy Steve Bartman a beer and talk baseball with the guy–not that game, just baseball.  No, the 2004 ALCS is not overrated and yes, I’ll watch the Yankees choke like that any time, day or night.  My heart was in my throat when Endy Chavez made that catch, only to have the Cardinals rip it out and crush it a few innings later.  You’re really using that Springsteen song, Ken?  Don’t you realize it’s about looking back and realizing how middle-aged you are?

“But then time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.”

You know what?  That’s exactly what this is, isn’t it?  Good job, sir.

In Country: Marvel Comics’ “The ‘Nam” — Episode 10

Nam 10Episode 10 of “In Country” covers issue 10 of The ‘Nam, where Ed Marks copes with the death of Mike Albergo from the previous issue while on patrol in the city. Plus, we get a little more insight into the character of Ramnarain in “Guerilla Action” by Doug Murray, Michael Golden, and John Beatty. As always, in addition to the summary and review of the issue I’ll be talking about the story’s historical context as well as taking a look at the letters, ‘Nam Notes, and ads.

You can download the episode via iTunes or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 10 direct link

Also, here is a link to 11th Cav ‘Nam, the site I used for some of the research in this episode:  11thcavnam.com

Pop Culture Affidavit Episode 20 — Eddie Lives!

Episode 20 CoverThe latest episode is a little late but I promise you it’s well worth it.  This time around I take a look at one of my absolute favorite rock and roll stories, Eddie and the Cruisers.  I delve into P.F. Kluge’s original novel; talk about the 1983 feature film starring Michael Paré as Eddie Wilson, along with Tom Berenger and Ellen Barkin; and I even cover the sequel, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!  So come along for a rock and roll ghost story for the ages!

You can listen here:

iTunes:  Pop Culture Affidavit

Direct Download 

Pop Culture Affidavit podcast page

Here is the trailer for Eddie and the Cruisers:

Here is the trailer for Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!: 

And just because it’s so cool, here’s the full Eddie and the Cruisers poster:

Eddie and the Cruisers Poster

In Country: Marvel Comics’ “The ‘Nam” — Episode 9

Nam 9

A major event in the lives of the 23rd and Ed Marks’s experience in “The ‘Nam” occurs in this episode, as I take a look at issue #9, “Pride Goeth …,” which is brought to us by Doug Murray, Michael Golden, and John Beatty. As always, in addition to the summary and review of the issue I’ll be talking about the story’s historical context as well as taking a look at the letters, ‘Nam Notes, and ads.

You can download the episode via iTunes or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 9 direct link

In Country: Marvel Comics “The ‘Nam” Episode 8

Nam 8Let’s head into the tunnels with “In the Underground” from The ‘Nam #8, an issue that also reprints one of Doug Murray and Michael Golden’s “5th of the First” stories from Savage Tales. It’s two stories about tunnel rats for the price of one! As always, in addition to the summary and review of the issue I’ll be talking about the story’s historical context as well as taking a look at the letters, ‘Nam Notes, and ads.

You can download the episode via iTunes or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 8 direct link

In Country: Marvel Comics’ “The ‘Nam” Episode 7

Nam 7This time around we take a break from the month-by-month in real time look at the Vietnam War for a history lesson. Wayne Vansant, who would eventually become the book’s regular penciller, joins Doug Murray and Michael Golden for a look at the origins of the Vietnam War in “Good Old Days.” As always, in addition to the summary and review of the issue I’ll be talking about the story’s historical context as well as taking a look at the letters, ‘Nam Notes, and ads.

You can download the episode via iTunes or listen directly at the Two True Freaks website

In Country iTunes feed

In Country Episode 7 direct link

Here is the CBS News story that I mention in the lettercolumn portion of the show …

And here is the trailer for Thrashin’!