#TBT: Old Scams Can Drive A Man To Drink

(thanks, Video Quotes From Seinfeld!) 

Ha. Someone actually tried to pull the ollllllllllllld as the freakin’ hills “I’ll send you a money order… oops, I overpaid, so can you refund the balance by Western Union?” scam for an item I was selling for a friend and that kind of pissed me off big time. Why? Because “Albert Mackenzie” wasted my damn time until I realized what was going on. If there’s anything I absolutely hate it’s scammers of any type because they’re useless in any normal moral situation and only exist to make people miserable when they part us fools from our money. I’d post his email address for all to see, but that would probably encourage the bastard and not scare him off one bit. Drop dead, Albert.

The koo-koo-koo-raaazy thing here is Western Union has a bad rap on this front, KNOWS it has a bad rap on that front and seems powerless (or just plain lazy) to do anything about it despite the scam existing for years with no sign of letting up. Hell, sites like ebay, craigslist and others plus a while bunch of police departments warn people to NOT use Western Union for anything involving sending money to strangers or even honest people who want money sent electronically, so I’m wondering why they even exist as a “reliable” company for any sort of wire transfer. Nostalgia only goes so far, folks.

Okay, at least they DO have a Fraud Quiz you can take while you’re reading that scammer’s email. And ooh, lookit! They have VIDEOS too:

Hmmm. Watching this and the other clips actually made me doubly NOT want to use Western Union ever again for anything financial, so I guess they did their job. Sort of.

It’s a damn good thing I’m not as stupid as someone thought I was. Still, what a friggin’ waste of a few days of back and forth BS from this cat. Sir, the jerk store was supposed to be out of YOU, but it seems you’re in stock and ready to ship. Boo. Anyway, if anyone wants me, I’ll be somewhere without jerks having an adult beverage. Probably home, as the bars around here are pretty damn lame. And probably coffee, as I have a lot of work to do and I’m out of booze. Eh, maybe I’ll just gently slam down some Uptime instead and get that review completed.

So Long, Jim- It Was A Nice Long Ride, Wasn’t It?

(thanks 11db11!)nbsp;

I can recall watching the pilot for The Rockford Files on NBC as a ten-year old kid and while not completely understanding everything that was going on, finding the show intriguing enough to come back week after week for almost the entire run of the series. Nothing lasts forever, and I was sad to see it vanish in 1980 (as far as original episodes went), but as with nearly any TV show that gains popularity and notoriety, reruns kept things going if I happened to be around to catch one. Of course, James Garner did much more memorable work in films before and since. Some of my favorite performances of his were in The Great Escape (1963), The Americanization of Emily (1964, the actor’s favorite role), Grand Prix (1966), Marlowe (1969) and Victor Victoria (1982). But, of course, since I was raised more on the tube, it’s Jim Rockford I’ll remember the best. I don’t have a favorite episode per se, but I absolutely recall rolling on the floor laughing at the episode where someone tries to bump off Rockford by sticking a canister of laughing gas in his car and hoping he’d have an accident:

(thanks 11db11!) 

This sequence makes me laugh harder today because it’s an homage of sorts to the scene in North By Northwest where a drunken Cary Grant (as Roger Thornhill) is put behind the wheel of a stolen Mercedes Benz and sent down a dark road towards certain doom off a cliff. Of course, he survives by taking the wheel and zig-zagging away from that cliff and down a highway until he brakes into the back of a patrol car. Jim got a wall tap to wake him out of his sunnier drive above. Anyway, another fallen star in another year too full of them. I’ll let TCM roll me out of this post with one of their tributes while I get ready for a slightly longer walk home tonight…

Funko Wants To Make Your SDCC Visit Memorable With Some Tasty HANNIBAL Giveaways!

funko logo 

Funko has a bunch of stuff to give away at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but I’d say this HANNIBAL Pop! vinyl figure, custom made and signed by series creator Brian Fuller has to be one of the cooler items I’ve seen. Take a peek below:

Hannibal TV logo

Funko Fuller Hannibal 

Now, the ONLY way to get this one is to be AT the show! The figure will be on display at the Funko booth from Previews Night through Sunday. Stop by the booth and fill out an entry card – the big drawing will be on Sunday! One lucky winner will be selected and then that person had best hope he makes it out of the show in one piece, as I hear fans of that show can be pretty crazy (in a manner of speaking, of course!). In addition, Bryan Fuller and Hannibal actress Caroline Dhavernas will be signing at the Funko booth #5343 on Friday at 1pm AND there’s the chance for ONE more REALLY lucky fan to win an advanced set of the Hannibal Pop! figures. How? Well, one clue would be following @NBCHannibal and @OriginalFunko during the convention. I don’t think you need to be in attendance for the latter giveaway, but I’d gather chances may increase if you are out thataway. If you’re going or entering, as always… Good Luck!

Hannibal Adventure

Ro, No You Didn’t NBC… But I’ll Try To Keep An Open Mind…

So… this is actually happening and let’s just say my skin is crawling (and NOT from fear). Granted, the cast seems solid and veteran TV director Angiezka Holland is an excellent choice (her work on AMC’s The Killing, HBO’s The Wire and other shows shows she’s a master at her craft), but the original film is so (and still) perfect at what it does that even the best intended reworking will fall short by comparison. I may catch this when it runs, but why the hell is it playing on Mother’s Day? Yeah, I get the inherent humor here, but ha-ha, I know some people won’t like the idea of this being a way to end an otherwise fine holiday. Eh, my mom will probably watch it just because she was around to see the Polanski classic and I think she liked it a lot.

(Yeah, it LOOKS creepy… but sadly, by network standards ONLY) 

The mini-series format and network not cable airing bugs me as well, but given that network TV has been approaching mild levels of cable-like content for a while now, I’m sure that this will deliver where it counts. That said, I definitely don’t like some saying this isn’t a remake because of the Parisian setting and whatever else has been changed from the book and original film. Zoe Saldana’s got a similarly skinny frame and has a variation on the haircut Mia Farrow had, it’s still the same plot (despite a few changes here and there) and if they show the baby in this one, it’ll destroy the ending of the film because it ruins the mystery completely of what the spawn of the devil would look like. That and you can’t top the dream sequence from Polanski’s classic one bit.

As noted in the title, I’ll try to keep an open mind, but there are a few strikes against this one already for me. Hopefully, the cast and director can save this one enough that even the more ardent fans will want to check it out. I’d imagine though, if it DOES do well, we’ll either see NBC trot it out yearly (eek) or get a sequel fast-tracked for next year (double eek). That idea didn’t do well for the original film at ALL, by the way…

VGA 101: Fighting Games I’d Rather Be Playing Other Than Killer Instinct…

Xbox OneHmm. So, a friend who snapped up his Xbox One at midnight called me over today to play some games and Killer Instinct was one of them. I was not impressed. Granted, I’ve never liked KI all that much for a few reasons, but I respect anyone who can put up with its quirks on the SNES and even more of its quirks as a launch title for Microsoft’s $500 ego-center deluxe. Paying for characters piecemeal in a fighter may be the hot new thing, but while I was combo-ing away like a chump and winning a few rounds against my pal (he still kicked my butt around the room after about 20 minutes of us both fiddling with those yuck-worthy triggers on that new controller which work BEAUTIFULLY in Forza 5 but not for a fighting game), I kept thinking of the somewhat lousy pay to unlock “deal” going on here.

fighters_1 (Custom)After about two hours of next-gen thrills, I hoofed it home thinking of something to write about and ended up walking in the door, yanking a few fighting games (or fighting game hybrids) I’d rather have played down from the PlayStation section of the library, snapped a few pictures and here you go. As many characters as you can stand all on discs and not stacked with fees or “coming soon” features. Granted, you cool kids who don’t mind the enforced evolution of mandatory DLC and playing games that aren’t exactly finished because you’ll be buying in for as long as you can stand it (or longer as you get lured into the pay schemes here and on the way) will be all over this one like bees on a bear trying to steal their honey. Me, I’m a plug an play guy for life and it seems some of these new consoles and me won’t get along like best buddies anytime soon. But if this sort of thing floats your particular boat, knock yourself right on out and pay (and then pay again)…

fighters_2 (Custom)

Jimmy Fallon vs. Xbox One: The “Who”, “What” or “Where” Show Returns…

Yes, it’s usually pretty crazy on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, but just what the heck was this confusing mess of a live demo? Yeah, the Xbox One has SO many things packed into that black box that it was hard to tell what was going on. I did note that Kinect wasn’t used for the menu navigation (as it seems to have issues with more than a few people in a room according to some early press), Forza 5 got a few seconds of play (not by Jimmy) that showed off some lovely visuals before things switched to the camera scanning Jimmy earlier (and making an awful likeness) and there was some playing of that new Kinect Sports game with Will Forte. Ugh. Meanwhile, that Microsoft rep was no Ron Popeil at all, trying to cram too much talk into a handful of minutes.

Look, if you’re trying to sell an all-in-one living room dominator/media center/juicer to the non gaming public and it indeed does WAY too much for a mere under five minute demo… you need a longer sales pitch. I don’t think that sloppy mess last night was selling any consoles to anyone who wasn’t already buying one because other than Jimmy drooling about the new controller too long, it really didn’t show off much other than pretty visuals and a lot of “wait, what was that?” before it ended. Eh, whatever – we’ll see what happens when the system rolls out later today. Or: yet another midnight launch I won’t be going to cover because it’s all hype and the REAL proof is a few months down the road plus when the post launch titles start dropping into stores…

Jimmy and Ice-T Put The PS4 On The Hot Spot…

Alright, it’s a given: CUTE ROBOTS SELL CONSOLES. And SUPER-cute virtual robots you can play with and/or kick around the room? When the audience goes “D’aaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!” more than five times a minute? Yeah, there’s Christmas in a box for Sony right there.

Okay, despite my occasional cranky side acting up from time to time, I’ll have to admit that Jimmy Fallon always gets me excited about gaming despite me having a longer history with them than he has. Granted, it’s his great enthusiasm for the medium and NOT his play style (that tends to lean towards the “Boy, do I suck at these games but I’m having FUN!” although he did beat Ice-T at that Pong variant) that’s hard to fake. And yep, game companies love him, Conan and anyone else they can get a console and controller to. Of course, none of them love ME, but that’s more my fault than theirs at the end of the day. Oh well, we’re workin’ on it… we’re workin’ on it. I’m thinking of writing a fake e-book (not really) called “How To Get The Respect You Deserve Without Being A Total Ass or Total Suck-Up” but we’ll say no more about that unless we want to be called a total ass. Or a total suck-up. Not too good at either of those, but I can swing both ways once I take some lessons. Is the Learning Annex still open here in NYC?

I Dream of Tee-Vee #1: Mothers, Russia Was The Bomb!

(thanks, 2nicks!) 

Yes, I have dreams about old TV shows every now and then and sometimes it’s a mash up of a bunch of old shows or dreams with music from some old shows. This particular dream I don’t recall much of other than it had the theme to the old NBC show “The Mothers-In-Law”, but it had some of the cast from “Ivan the Terrible”, a CBS show from 1976 that only ran five episodes and from my brief internet search, has NO footage or credits to be found. I actually watched every episode of that show as a kid and I was surprised when it was no longer on the air, but I guess a show about a bunch of Russians in a cramped Moscow apartment wasn’t exactly something America wanted to see back in that Bicentennial year. Whatever, I say – the opening credits were pretty funny from what I recall.

EDIT: Aha! I just checked and yes indeed, while the show was indeed very funny, your tax dollars at work back then (The State Department) colluding with the Russian government made sure it was taken away in a black car or something close. From IMDB:

Although the show got good ratings, the U.S. State Department, under pressure from the Soviet Government, gave instructions that it should not be renewed.

OK, maybe WE thought it was funny as hell (and I bet they were chuckling at the State Department until that red phone rang), but Russia sure hated the idea of us laughing too much (or at all) at their expense. As for The Mothers-In-Law? Hey, dig that funky title sequence and in those end credits, that bongo break will have you pounding the table like you mean it, I bet…

Dracula on NBC: Great or Awful, There’s Still a Lot of Sucking Bound to Happen…

Hmmmm… The words “Dracula on NBC” should already scare some of you away from this one like it’s covered in maggots with a crazed Renfield chasing after it with a very rusted butter knife, but here we go, another attempt at getting the vampire on the telly. Vampires in general have suffered the indignities of modern romanticizing for quite some time and it’s been a downhill slide for the true fanged few since the preteens got their stupidly stripped down versions on them that rake in profits for their re-creators by the billions. I won’t name any names here, but for many true fans of the myth it’s been a hell of the purest form seeing print, film and other new media vampires eat away at the legend to the point where it’s now “cool” and yet played out because every time you spin your head, some would be Stoker-lite is shifting a new piece of overblown fan-fiction from their hard drive out into the world as a professional work in some form of media and yes, the kids love them some fancy fang to face action on a regular basis. Blech… Continue reading

Humor: Oh, I Have Bad Dreams Every Now and Then…

(thanks, awesomelybadcrap!) 

Well, “bad” being relative. OK, it had Twiki from that awful as hell Buck Rogers in the 25th Century show from the 80’s (and by “awful”, I mean I watched it every freakin’ week hoping to hell it would get better). I stuck around for the effects and hated the acting, cheap costumes and most of all that cross between R2-D2 and Tattoo from Fantasy Island, Twiki. Despite (or because) of the late Mel Blanc voicing the robot as if he was a Borscht Belt Looney Tunes character, that tacky as hell gold paint job and the fact that for some reason, he got a love interest (what, there was an affirmative action program for little people on TV shows back then?). Anyway, I guess it wasn’t that bad a dream as I didn’t drop dead in my sleep…

That only happens if I dream of Jason of Star Command:

(thanks, AgentX35!)