Saturday, April 29, 2017

Ruby Tuesday’s ‘Fresh Flavors’ TV Commercial is Great American Solution for Peace

Concerned and worried about global unrest? Losing sleep at night because you’re worried we cannot achieve world peace? Worry no more. The United States has a huge benefit in our arsenal—the perfect weapon that is neither chemical, mineral, or propelled. It’s a sound wave.

A very simple sound wave that, if repeated continually, will bring opposition forces to their knees. There will be open weeping, gnashing of teeth, and an all-important letting go of the will to fight. It’s is, simply stated, one television commercial. The 15-second spot, “Fresh Flavors” from Ruby Tuesday Garden Bar and Grill will drive anyone directly over the edge. Watch and learn:

Call it serendipity, call it kismet, thanks to inspiration from Barney the dog’s regular daytime TV programming, this has to be the single-most powerful deterrent to peace of mind anywhere. Here’s how it plays. UP-TV is broadcast on the Suddenlink and other national cable systems across the country. It’s a great channel and you can count on marathons of (mostly) really great shows, e.g., “Gilmore Girls” (Barney's personal favorite, "Coffee, coffee, coffee"); “Growing up McGhee“ (Son#6: “Daddy, am I bad? Dad: “No son, you’re 5”—who does NOT love this family?); "Bringing Up Bates”; “America’s Funniest Videos”; and others.

Ad Age notes that “Fresh Flavors” is a new release this week on national TV.

It’s not clear from an online search exactly which agency is responsible for this 15-second audio weapon, but thanks to, we know, “The song was created for this commercial.” As if there were a question being floated out there with someone thinking they’d ever heard it before. It’s new. It’s obnoxious, and it’s the key to global peace. It was possible to locate one ad agency in North Carolina as having produced several prior Ruby Tuesday ads, but who’d want to stick them with this stinker as potentially one of theirs? Innocent until proven guilty, BooneOakley. Just saying.

You play this 15-second “gem” in a loop for hours (while our troops wear noise-canceling headphones), and I guarantee people will run screaming for cover. They will drop all weapons, release all hostages and beg for mercy.

Speaking of which, why UP-TV continues to run “7th Heaven” episodes as if nonstop episodes starring creepy Stephen Collins won’t run you off, then there’s the entire dysfunctional family. Oh, my stars. Quite the characters--Ruthie? Lucy? Simon? Oh please. The only actors with a redeeming role in the family are Barry Watson’s “Matt Camden” and the Stults brothers (George and Geoff) in their “Kevin and Ben Kinkirk” roles. The only thing you question about the Kinkirks is their decision skills in teaming up with a Camden. Yuck.

Speaking of brothers, Sam and David Camden were supposedly portrayed by all four of Brino quintuplets early on (Nikolas, Lorenzo, Zachary and Myrinda) but eventually casting was narrowed down to two of the little boys who spoiled multiple levels of information untimely because they didn't ever grasp what a "secret" was. Another reason to 86 the reruns of "7th Heaven." All these facts seem pointless but this is what happens when you try not to think about the insipid Ruby Tuesday "Fresh Flavors" commercial. You'll think of anything that takes your mind off the off-key woman pirouetting around the salad bar.

Back to bad TV. "7th Heaven." Continuing...every other character is unpleasant, demanding, petulant, self-centered, jealous, and overly involved in the lives of their siblings to the point of insanity. The actors are only portraying their roles, but it's truly challenging not to transfer your opinion of the character to the actor after 11 wearisome seasons of reruns. Jessica Biel got out just in time. Please, UP-TV, stop this air pollution, quickly. More Gilmore, less Camden/Collins.

Back to the good of UP-TV. Now, actor Barry Watson has a chance at a good show (and they’re giving him his own, well-deserved series, “Date My Dad,” starring Watson and Raquel Welch, debuting in four weeks). There are already many pans on the show before it has even aired, on the UP-TV page, which seem rather unfair, except the channel promotes it four times an hour and there's still 30 days to go before airdate. Yes, that's excessive, but that's what UP-TV does. Perhaps it's the too-close association of UP-TV and the Ruby Tuesday "Fresh Flavors" commercial that every 15 minutes, just like Ruby Tuesday’s ad buys are simultaneously running. Now, UP-TV in general does far more good than harm, but they are galaxies away from being the Hallmark Channel, to be sure. Haven't seen any Ruby Tuesday's commercials on that channel, but it's only a matter of time, sadly.

But, here's an idea. Repetition of bad TV shows (11 seasons of “7th Heaven” are 11 too many), and bad singing is the way to end world conflict. Repetition of even a good thing can drive most people to the brink anyway.

On the bright side of bad TV and truly bad TV commercials, we can literally scare the meanness out of every world enemy we have by making them hear, consider, reflect or muse about "7th Heaven" and "Ruby Tuesday's." Once again, a recognized leading powerhouse, the United States, continues to lead the world in music and TV “infotainment” that will drive even the most happy person, and her or his dog, slightly over the edge. And it’s free! Satellite uplinks guide the way, so let ‘er rip! Infidels, dictators and traitors beware…Ruby Tuesday’s “Fresh Flavors” is comin’ for ya. You are so going to wish you hadn’t been born. Hide and watch, a lot. That will teach them not to cross or block or hack us. "We are the champions my friends" (with massive apologies to Queen).

Please, for the sake of world peace, export this commercial off of our TV sets and into countries who are trying to bomb us. It has everything our enemies don’t like—singing, dancing, and stupid. We can emerge victorious and not have lost anything but a little time. Uncle Sam needs this spot and we sure as heck don’t need it at all. Please don’t thank me. Just trying to be a good citizen and do my part to support my country.

If you need to find me, one place you won’t spot me is a Ruby Tuesday’s. We don’t have one here anyway and when I’m in a town that has one, I’m going to remember that sorry commercial and go anywhere else but there.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Remembering William Fowler (Bubba) Moore, Jr., 12 Years Later

It's almost impossible to believe that it's been 12 years since the Brazos Valley lost our friend and community volunteer, Bubba Moore. Bubba was a one-of-a-kind towering man--heart of gold, spirit of indefatigable joy and all-around good guy. Through his weekly publications "The Press" and "TV Facts," Bubba made sure everyone knew what was happening in Bryan-College Station and surrounding counties.

During the time that Bubba was battling Hep C and refusing to give in, there was a group of folks who would participate as writers, photographers, reporters, and fact-finders for Bubba and his publisher partner and great friend, Mike Newton. In a recent review of files of yesteryear, I've discovered some long-forgotten gems.

As these publications are no longer in business or available, I offer these scans of the magazines to you for your reading pleasure. This is the first of many hidden treasures I'm delighted to share. Please feel free to tag yourself in the photographs, comment, or share with friends.

In light of Project Unity's "All You Need is Love" upcoming fundraiser on May 6, at The Stella Hotel in Bryan, and since the Friends of Bubba Moore are one of the major sponsors, I'm even more delighted to share these pages in thanks to them, as a major sponsor of this signature event that supports Project Unity's work in our community (preventing child abuse, educating couples on how to be better parents, and their latest HOPES initiative grant that Jeannie McGuire, Ella McGruder and their amazing team are administering...thinking of Bubba today and how happy he would be with his name attached to this truly important financial support.

Below is a lovely tribute to Bubba written by Lynn McDaniel of Eclectic Productions here, a creative advertiser and writer.

It's also fun to see the advertisers, the original TV listings of what was on the air and a reminder when things "seemed" simpler, even when they were anything but. As you'll see in the photographs, so many people loved Bubba and they came out to support him, forming the Friends of Bubba.

Now, you can't miss Brian Lippman in the photos below--the man in town who's played bass with virtually every band ever from here, plus he's the go-to guy for national acts when their bass players get snowed into airports (that's happened before).

In the photo below you'll spot Beth and Buddy Price and Don, Cathy, and Mark Conlee. Who else do you recognize in these photos?

This nice Spiritual Journey (below)is actually not by Nelson Mandela; rather, it is by Marianne Williamson, from her book "Return to Love," a frequent error when people think of this lovely message. Remember that it's by Marianne and read it out loud and believe it for the beautiful message it is.

And, now here's another tribute (anonymous) to Bubba in "TV Facts." You may have to zoom in to read it, but, that's small typefont.

You know you'll recognize Toni Martinez and her precious mom as well as two precious TWINZ to boot. Sharon and Mike Reece, and Gina and Bobby Williamson in these pictures too. That's par for the course--wherever good things are happening, you'll always find these people in the middle of it. Below pictured you'll see Elizabeth Scott, future co-owner of "TV Facts" with Robin Silva, who at the time had no idea she'd be doing that. Twelve long years flew by in the blink of an eye. Precious memories, every one of them.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

For The BoDeans, 'Thirteen' is a Lucky Number Filled with Reminders of Home

The only thing unbelievable about the new CD, “Thirteen,” by The BoDeans is that their band has been known as a solid music force for 30 years. Where did the time go since “Fadeaway,” “Only Love,” and “Dreams”? They entered the rock (or alternative rock) world primarily on the talents of Kurt Neumann and that’s been enough to create, build and sustain a faithful following today.

On April 21, the band’s long-awaited 13th studio album was released, just in time for yesterday’s National Record Store Day. Never mind it’s a CD, not a vinyl 33, play along for a minute and imagine that the first music you ever hear by The BoDeans is “Thirteen” (F&A Records). Despite the simplicity of the title and the understated power of the band’s fans who fill concert venues, buy or download the music and claim some songs as “part of the soundtrack of their lives,” you're sure to appreciate this latest offering from the pen of Neumann, who calls Wisconsin home. Understated doesn't begin to describe the album art. It comes in a simple grayscale cover with the number “13” in the shadows and the band’s name in maroon.

Typical BoDeans—no frills, no hype, just straight-ahead music with honest lyrics, practical rhythms and melodies that sound so naturally solid that you’ll swear you’ve heard these songs before, even when you haven’t. It’s easy to grow into their groove, particularly on “EvryBdy Wants” (sic) and “I Get Low,” because they’re easily my favorites of the album. I won’t confess to the number of times I hit “repeat” on the car as I was driving home from getting the CD.

After hundreds of thousands of touring miles, hours logged traveling in uncomfortable buses down scenic and desolate roads alike, “Thirteen” is the BoDeans’ best work to date. When Kurt Neumann wrote the songs, he ultimately crafted a biographical portrait, personally, and about the band.”

Speaking of the band, it's composed of Kurt Neumann, Sam Hawksley, Kenny Aronoff, David Sierra, Stefano Intelisano, Bukka Allen, Eric Holden, Zak Sparks, David Duffy, and Eamon McLoughlin, as the latest lineup, courtesy of their Facebook page. Leaving your hometown, whether Wisconsin city or urban mega-metroplex, means you’re taking big risks. Seeking fame also means gambling everything you’ve built in the past to go for your dreams. Ultimately when you achieve major accolades, industry respect, and you’ve garnered the right to work with all the “big names” in music, you’ve arrived.

From the heartfelt sincerity of “My Hometown,” “Here Somehow,” “Feels Like Home,” and “Headed Home,” you’re convinced you know what is on Neumann’s mind. Another standout track is “Sway,” an instrumental that just commands focus and listening over and over. “Lucky Man” is basically how Neumann feels, no doubt, as he reviews the band’s path over the past three decades.

Check out "My Hometown" on YouTube:

The music of The BoDeans is found incorporated into many media homes, and you may well recognize some of the songs on “Thirteen” if you’re a fan of the Netflix show, “The Ranch.” The band made an appearance on the original scripted show that stars favorites Sam Elliott, Danny Masterson, Debra Winger, and Ashton Kutcher, who is constantly on the cutting edge of all things social media.

Neumann has said of “My Hometown””: “This song is about home–small towns–and coming back to them, the place where you were raised, and the place and the people that made you who you are today.”

The BoDeans kick off their 2017 Spring tour in Maryland and travel south, north, and back to the Midwest in the space of four weeks. Catch them in concert here:

4/30 Annapolis, MD Rams Head on Stage

5/2 Atlanta, GA City Winery

5/3 Charlotte, NC Neighborhood Theatre

5/4 Richmond, VA The Tin Pan

5/5 Alexandria, VA Birchmere

5/6 Stroudsburg, PA Sherman Theater

5/7 New Hope, PA New Hope Winery

5/11 New York, NY City Winery

5/26 Chicago, IL City Winery

5/27 Waupaca, WI Indian Crossing Casino

To connect with The BoDeans on social media, check out and

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Reflections on “Sizzling Cold Case” (The Legend of Lori London) — A Barnaby Jones Novel (by Buddy Ebsen with Darlene Quinn)

The original plan for the book “Sizzling Cold Case,” by Buddy Ebsen with Darlene Quinn, was originally intended to be a teleplay, but author Buddy Ebsen also realized it could be a standalone book as well. He’d filled many yellow legal pads with his handwritten prose (his favored way of writing) with exactly that dual intent, before he became ill and died on July 6, 2003 at age 95. His widow, Dorothy Ebsen, was determined to share his final book with all who loved him, as her collective gift to her husband’s fans. Enter family friend and author Darlene Quinn, who was clearly the right person to take Buddy’s manuscript and complete it.

This information was learned from listening to a recent interview shared on Kiki Ebsen’s web site, “Buddy Ebsen Birthday Chat,”—a lovely discussion between Kiki, Dorothy Ebsen and Darlene Quinn. They reminisced over some great memories, and shared some insight on the book. First published in hardback, and later in paperback and for Kindle, there’s an entirely new format that caught my eye, or ear, rather—audiobook.

Chalk it up to a nice quality of William E. Fortier’s voice as narrator, but while listening, it was so easy to visualize the old television show “Barnaby Jones” episodes I used to watch that I thought I was right back in the 1970s waiting for the familiar theme by Jerry Goldsmith to come on and open the CBS weekly program.

As you hear the theme, you see the puzzle piece-type squares coming together to read “Barnaby Jones, A QM Production,” and the opening photo of Buddy dressed in a blue suit and tie that compliments his eyes. Remember, he’s reading a report at his desk? I listened to the announcer, Henry F. (Hank) Simms, saying “Barnaby Jones, starring Buddy Ebsen” followed by “Also starring, Lee Meriwether” followed by his saying “with Guest Stars”…and then at the very end, you could see the final “A QM Production” slate again.

From the very opening chapter (there are 66 of them) in the book, you’re pulled back into Barnaby’s reminiscence of how his son, Hal, had been murdered, and now a thread from the past introduced a connection to understanding what really happened in what would be Hal’s last case that he was working on before his death. The reopening of the Lori London case began immediately.

Hearing the scene describing a location familiar to everyone who lives in or has toured Los Angeles…the iconic Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. It is there where Barnaby surveils someone putting a single rose on the star of the late actress Lori London, whose life story is central to the theme of the book and whose passing was previously considered a suicide, when Barnaby’s late son, Hal, didn’t believe that for a minute. Barnaby takes up where Hal left off, even though it had been a few years since he’d been active.

Also, watching this event from a different purview is a newly christened detective, Craig Scott, and then the story takes off. A red Ferrari driven by a gentleman who placed a red rose on the sidewalk, stood silently for a moment, and as fast as that car drives away, you’re whisked away on quite the adventure. Cold cases are always the most interesting of mysteries for any reader to unravel, because you must learn the predicate of the case, then you think through along with the detective about current events and wonder how to deconstruct the case to ultimately find a correct logical solution to the crime that was mis-solved and remained unsolved all this time.

The dialogue is fresh and really, it’s just as though you’d stepped into Barnaby’s world just a few years later. Barnaby Jones was so much more than a milk-drinking crime-solver who knew what Geritol was and how to use it. Originally, he was the lead partner and father in a father-son detective agency, Jones & Jones. Further, Barnaby was different than virtually every other Quinn Martin series detective in that he was a forensic scientist and criminologist. You used to see him in his home laboratory with test tubes, Bunsen burners, beakers and all the trappings of forensics pre-Abby Sciuto’s lab in “NCIS.”

So, aside from a propensity to wear a carnation or drink a glass of milk, two charming contrived visuals from Edward Hume (who also created “Cannon,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” and “Toma”), he’s the very same man. The first episode of Barnaby Jones, “Requiem for a Son,” “found a retired Barnaby leaving retirement to find his son’s killer.”

Therefore, in Buddy’s mind, when circumstances of his late son’s final case, which Hal knew not to be a suicide, were resurrected and refreshed, one more time (Buddy decided) that Barnaby would leave retirement and solve the incorrectly resolved case. Thus, the plot is perfectly plausible in 2017 as it was in 2002 when Buddy began working on it.

Once again, he envisioned Hal Jones’ wife Betty, Lee Meriwether, had been the agency’s right hand for before and since her husband’s death would be part of the story, although in more cursory fashion. The reminder of beautiful Lee Meriwether was a lovely memory to consider; even Jedediah (played on TV by Mark Shera) makes an appearance in the novel, though Fortier gives him a less strong character voice possibly to express youthfulness.

So, why should you acquire this book (reprints are available in paperback on some 37 years after the TV show ended? Because you won’t be disappointed. So many times when we revisit beloved childhood favorites (for Baby Boomers) or contemporary friends (among the Greatest Generation), we end up wishing we hadn’t gone there. Remakes of movies such as “Bewitched” or breathing new life into “Full House” is an example of returns to the originals gone wrong.

On the other hand, the “new” Barnaby Jones novel, is an extremely successful journey back home, to the days when TV detectives caught the bad guys without “CSI,” “Law & Order,” and the invention of the word “procedurals” to describe 60-minute (or 48-minute) storyboards where you already knew who-dun-it and had to watch the good guys catch the bad guys. This time, you get to walk alongside Barnaby and use your own deductive reasoning to consider who might be the bad actor in the case. When Barnaby resolves the case, you might (or might not) know who did it. The joy is in the journey of looking for clues on your path. Thanks to Darlene Quinn, we all have a fun book to enjoy, one which helps us relive the grand old days of detectives we know and loved.

You can find more info on Ms. Quinn's other books on her web site. Barnaby Jones was, and remains, a thinking person’s detective, armed with an equal dose of charm, sage pondering, and reflective questioning before settling on an answer, and a perpetrator. It’s great television of yesteryear and fulfilling reading/listening present day. Get the book, in whatever format you want it. Case closed.