Sports

SPORTS

Like it or not, we’re not quite ready…

When I was a kid, I was a sports fan of the moderate variety partly because it was background noise when I was growing up and almost every television one encountered on one’s daily travels was playing some sort of team or solo sport. I don’t recall being a huge fan of any particular team or teams, but I remember like/hating the Yankees because they seemed to win a lot whenever I saw a game on TV and most everyone I knew in the Bronx area not liking the Mets because they lost so much. Well, they did win big a few times, but I recall the old post-game show, Kiner’s Korner being renamed “Whiner’s Korner” by a school friend who did a spot-on impression of Ralph Kiner. One fine day in school, a teacher who was walking past us in a hallway as we headed to lunch overheard his impression, stopped dead in his tracks and asked him to do it again, laughing. He was a Mets fan, but he also found that impression pretty hilarious.

Other sports such as football, basketball, the occasional hockey match and many, many more were watched over time, we got a load of education on assorted sports around the world from ABC, and yes, I was a boxing fan for ages. A relative once met Muhammad Ali in an airport back in the early 70’s and got his autograph in a small slip of paper (which is still kept in a scrapbook here). Ali’s eventual decline from greatness was a sad thing to see as the 70’s turned into the 80’s, however. It’s one of the reasons I pretty much stopped watching the sport save for in the 2000’s when I assisted in a few game events for EA Sports where a few boxing video games were playable at a series of Golden Gloves matches here in NYC. Amusingly enough, sports games were a big thing here for a while, but as they got more visually impressive, I started to miss older games like Tecmo Bowl and a few titles up to the 32-bit era. As they became more monetized, now, I avoid most modern sports titles, although I’m a sucker for a good racing game, specifically a good rally game.

Anyway, with this pandemic and its forcing sports to more resemble older video games with elements like crowds that look like cardboard cutouts replacing fans or teams playing to nearly empty stadiums complete with piped-in cheers, I took a curious look at a few games and nope, they weren’t the same. Sure, the visceral thrill part was there, but the overall picture was a tad lacking in that one needed to overlook the sparse or fake audiences (or mixtures of both oversized crowd cutouts and real spectators) and the sad fact that maybe a player might take I’ll if even the tiniest precaution wasn’t taken. But, folks need their entertainment, their bread and circuses if you like. So, here we are. An online friend whose wife is a nurse said to me last year that she thought maybe watching hospital staff treating pandemic patients might make a good spectator sport. She noted that while it won’t be as thrilling as a hard body check or a miracle three-pointer, the whole life or death thing on a daily basis might be a thing one won’t get from those other team sports.

-GW

Voodoo, Child (Slight Return)

By either direct connection or extension, I know (knew?) quite a few recently deceased people, but I’d like to think some to too many of us do these days. That sort of balancing act is quite the bitch, by the way. One wanting to free up the mind space to be otherwise occupied by more lighter and vastly more entertaining fare gets into quite a tumble with actual reality when a message arrives that someone else has unexpectedly left the building.

Of course, the unmasked killer is still inside the house making collect worldwide phone calls and pretty much having its merry way with the rest of the planet’s tenants. As we’re discovering from assorted news outlets, during last year, response from the recently departed government had been awful, at best. Too many holes in rules state to state meant no national plan despite, as Roddy McDowell in a great Twilight Zone episode once noted, “People Are Alike All Over”.

Of course, it’s just past 4am and I hit publish too soon, but I’d guess you get the point here. Eh, I’m going to go back to bed now. I may re-edit this post later, but there’s a better chance I’ll post something else. We shall see.

Arrow April: Showers of Stuff (and a Few UK Sales of Note)

Five new titles from Arrow Video and Arrow Academy arrive this month for US viewers and yes indeed, the UK arm of the company is also running a fine sales on some older releases. Read on:

BEYOND THE DOOR [Blu-ray] (4/7)
SIXTEEN CANDLES [Blu-ray] (4/14)
WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE! [Blu-ray] (4/21)
THE WIND [Blu-ray] (4/28)

If you have a multi-region Blu-ray player, Arrow UK has some 531 items on sale through April 22, but that total also includes film soundtracks, books and other goodies. Hey, you’re going to be stuck indoors for a bit, right? You can’t just read packages of toilet paper and cans of beans and watch the news all day, so… go get some of this while you can.

-GW

Random Film of the Week: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

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Not inspired by actual events!

brainBy 1981, I’d seen The Brain That Wouldn’t Die on TV maybe a half dozen times and had started going to sci-fi conventions the previous year, my first being the old Creation Conventions here in NYC. I bring this up because it was at one in 1981 where I met a rather quirky gentleman named Jack Tiger (J.G. to his friends) and ended up working with him on a project that could have been popular at the time, but wasn’t able to get fully off the ground.

Now, I should be reviewing either one of his two low-budget films here or at the very least the film that gained me some temporary employment with the man,  Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, a film that had neither a Frankenstein and thanks to the censors here, nor much Bloody Terror in it. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen it in decades and really need to do so again, but in its original uncut Spanish version. Also, I’ve only ever seen one of Jack’s films by very happy accident a few years back on TCM when I came home very early in the morning from a lousy party I stayed too long at, and it was on TV unexpectedly.  So, Brain it is because it’s a fun flick and there’s also a small personal connection there you’ll read on and find out about. So, read on, please.

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Jan thought the Doc was kidding when he said she could lose about 100 pounds in a crash diet…

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A (Very Good) Thought (2)

A Bad Man

It’s just one of those days, is it not?

If at some point today you woke up in a cornfield without having been turned into a jack-in-the box, consider that a very good thing, sort of. There’s a way out, but it’s a bit of a hike, though. You do have a compass in your pocket and some good walking shoes, I hope?

 

Thanks, The Twilight Zone!)

 

Who would have thought a lot of people just wanted some cheap peach brandy and a good Perry Como record… and that the late Rod Serling had a built-in barometer?

-GW

Update: Vague, With Purpose

Er, Happy New Year, belatedly. Well, 2019 isn’t over for a while and it’s still early enough where I can get away with using that greeting a few days late, right? Good. I kind of didn’t realize it was THURSDAY until I turned the news on earlier and the guy reading the teleprompter said it was. I actually laughed because I though he was about two days off. Oops.

(Thanks, AndreaDudette!)

Anyway, the condition my condition is in is kinda not stellar, but I’m abiding. I’ll say no more about that, but yeah, it’s something that’s been lurking about and of late seems to be keeping me from being a bit more… shall we say, optimal. Eh, I’m going to dip into the pile of drafts and notes I have here and post some stuff to keep me less consumed by one or two things and more distracted by other (and more enjoyable) stuff. Hmmm. I think that’s vague enough for today. Off to stare at some pending articles and go finish a couple. I’m not much of a resolution guy these days, but I may as well make a few and surprise a few folks, no?

Back in a bit.

Review: Western Digital 2TB Gaming Drive

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Okay, I paid good money for some fanfare music, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Eh, just read the article and have your wallet handy.

One of the more easily solved gamer issues is also something that still seems to stymie some gamers who should already know that a mere 1 terabyte of dedicated storage (which is actually less than 1TB thanks to mandatory system clutter) is far too small once one starts purchasing more content. Demos, DLC, system themes, video footage, screenshots and more all require precious space and yes, that 1TB is very rapidly filled (usually sooner than one thinks). Sure, you can delete content left and right when a new game drops, but this becomes problematic for a few reasons.

Western Digital’s Gaming Drive (available in 2TB ($79.99) and 4TB ($119.99) versions) is a solid, solidly built, supremely easy to use affordable solution to this problem and yes, makes for an excellent purchase for yourself and/or any PS4 gamer on your list.

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Review: MyCharge PowerGame (Nintendo Switch)

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Yep. it does exactly what it needs to do and does a really excellent job in the process.

 

As a recent Switch owner, a few things bug me about the system, one of them being the battery life is somewhat anemic if one tends to play for extended periods of time in undocked mode. I had been poking around looking for affordable solutions and based on some review scanning, there were a few interesting candidates but almost all had some flaws from dangling wires to not enough power for my tastes. Granted, my Switch has generally stayed docked or has only traveled to a few rooms inside the apartment. However, some recent invites from friends to pop by with my Switch to either see it in action or just to play with fellow Switch owners had my eye peeled for something that I could also show off as a solid charger that wouldn’t break the bank and be worthy of a hearty recommend. Well, “Say hello to my little friend (BOOM!)”

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Out of the box and ready for some mating.

 

The MyCharge PowerGame ($49.99) is an absolute must for Switch owners who want a decent price point, portability and most of all, a battery pack that’s packing plenty of power where it counts. Simple to set up and sporting its own kickstand, it’s an accessory that has pretty much no caveats.The 7000mAh battery inside that PowerGame comes holding a charge, so once attached (which took all of ten seconds, but parents will want to show younger kids or attach the battery for them), you’re ready to play. That said, I plugged the included USB-C charger cable unto the nearest USB out (your Switch dock will work nicely) just to top it up for some heavy testing. I really liked the kickstand on the unit because it’s placed in a better spot than the one on the Switch. The only minor (very minor) issue is if you need to add, remove or swap out the micro SD card, you’ll need to remove the PowerGame or do that card change thing before it’s attached.

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Mild Update, Painterly and PC Version

(deftly swiped from threestooges.com)

Argh. Well, let’s see now. The painter who was supposed to arrive early this morning didn’t pop up until this afternoon and proceeded to only paint three out of four walls. In the bathroom. Which is the size of a bathroom. While I was processing that nonsense, the refurnished laptop I’d ordered showed up and yes, that’s what this post is being typed on. I actually SHOULD be downtown at a media event checking out some cool tech, but I actually need to blaze through some work that’s due tomorrow that I want to get done before the day is over. I have to completely rewrite one article thanks to the crappier PC I was using temporarily restarted and wiped the work I’d done. Well, at least I can finally get to my Steam and gog.com accounts thanks to this nice laptop being able to play just about anything I toss at it. Alrighty then. Off to put on a pot of coffee and get back to work.

-GW

Switching Things Up a Bit…

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In case you didn’t realize, Amazon does do Sunday delivery.  I got an email yesterday morning saying my Switch has shipped and in less than 24 hours, I hear the doorbell ring and almost ran into a door running to see who it was so early in the morning. Yep, it arrived and BONUS, so did the wired PS4 controller I ordered (in a separate package), which was SUPER important because the right stick on my Dual Shock 4 had finally given up the ghost as of much earlier this morning. Why a wired controller, some of you may ask? Well, you may need to wait for a review for that story, but it’s a good one (and so far, the new controller works like a charm after the firmware update).

Meanwhile, in new Switch owner world news, I haven’t set up the console yet for three reasons.

1. I have some articles to complete for a few people and I know they’ll never get done if I crack that box open.

2. I need to find somewhere to put the new baby and plug it in, so I guess that means the modded original Xbox gets stuck somewhere out of sight temporarily)

3. I could set up the console and create a profile (I gather my current one for the Wii U won’t do?), let it update and get it over with, but that will loop back to number 1 and that’s something that I don’t want to happen.

Well, let me shut up and get back to work here. I’m thrilled on one hand, but anxious on the other. Hell, I’m anxious about a lot of things (like quite a lot of folks these days), but I kind of like the more happy anxiety over the more crummy stuff that pollutes the online and real world atmosphere these days.

-GW