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Ready Player One is an 80’s Nostalgia Spectacle

If you’re considering taking in a film this weekend, you may wanna opt for Ready Player One. Giuseppe, the Eagle Morning Zoo movie critic, gave the film rave reviews and says it’s a must see for anyone who grew up in the 80’s or has an appreciation for the pop culture of the era.

You can hear his review below.  Here are some local showtimes. See you at the movies!

Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott gets literal 

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard is killing time before their tour begins next month with Journey. Taking the lyrics of their hit Pour Some Sugar on Me quite literal. Something magical happens when inanimate are doused with a dash of sugar. 

The double bill rocks through Cincinnati on May 30th at the US Bank Arena, then later this summer in Columbus at the Schottenstein Center on August 22nd.

Get more concert details here.

Real Money debuts this weekend

Eddie Money has spent years on the road playing gigs and years bouncing around the music charts. TV seems to the be natural progression in his decades long career as a rocker. 

Real Money, a new reality show featuring Eddie and his family debuts this Sunday night on AXS TV at 9:30PM.

In episode one Eddie compares his family the Partridge Family, which is somewhat fitting. Several of his children now perform with him in his touring band. And, as we will see on the show, they also share some of his old crazy party habits and dysfunction (his words, not mine). Thankfully, mom is there to manage most of it. Or at least attempt to do so. 

You can check out a sneak peek of series premiere below. So, baby hold on...it’s bound to be riveting. 

Xenia 74: 9 Minutes in April

Forty-four years ago today the lives of thousands were changed and the fabric of a community was uprooted by one of the most devastating tornadoes to ever hit the southwestern Ohio. The storm struck at the heart of Greene County, Ohio and in its path was the community of Xenia. 

Thirty three people were killed when the twister swept through at 4:40 in the afternoon. More than 1,300 were injured and thousands more climbed from their shelters in shock and bewilderment.

The storm struck with little warning. If not for WHIO-TV/Channel 7 weatherman Gil Whitney taking the initiative to warn people of the storm, many more lives would likely have been lost that day. From that day forward, Whitney was revered in the community for his live-saving actions. 

On this day, forty-four years ago, I was laying beneath a mattress in the downstairs bathroom of my parents’ home in Beavercreek. Radar wasn’t as precise as it is today and we had no way of knowing which direction the dangerous storm was heading. All my dad heard on the TV was the storm was heading to eastern/central Greene County. We were lucky it missed our community.

I remember in the days that followed, driving through Xenia with my mom and grandma, seeing the devastation with my own eyes. I remember train cars on their side, the smell of split wood, massive uprooted trees, a strong gas odor and the sound of helicopters flying overhead.

I don’t recall what Xenia was like before the storm. I was too young to remember the quaint downtown, the tree lined streets of the now historic neighborhoods, or the many churches that served the communities for decades. All I remember is seeing many of these landmarks destroyed or completely missing from the landscape.

Today, I’ve made Xenia my home. Like any small community it has it’s challenges but it’s making strides. But Xenia indeed, LIVES. There is a revitalization taking place and people are working hard to make the community shine. 

Below is a documentary I wrote and produced while working at WHIO-TV/Newscenter 7 in 2004. The images captured of the storm are moving and the actual audio of the storm is surreal. 

 

Weird Al’s Rebel Yell

Came across this video of Weird Al covering Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell and it’s very impressive. I always knew he had talent but I’ve never heard him do any 80’s covers. Need to find my Weird Al cassette. Pretty solid stuff here, if you ask me. 

Dinner with the Hit King

Growing up in Dayton, I was a die hard Reds fan. Well, truth be told, that was the case except for a few years when I rooted for the arch enemy Los Angeles Dodgers. My late-father had a chance meeting with Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda and the baseball legend signed a restaurant menu to me. This, along with the Big Red Machine being dismantled in late 1978, I was none too keen on the Redlegs. A fact my friend Charlie Rowland reminds me of every year on opening day. But deep down, I was a Reds fan. 

So, when Charlie and I had the opportunity to attend a fantasy baseball camp in Fort Myers, Florida we couldn’t pass it up. The camp was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1975 Reds and Red Sox World Series and all the greats were going to be there; Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Foster, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez (who had just been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame). The Boston Red Sox were well represented by Carlton Fisk, Bernie Carbo, Dick Drago, Jim Rice, and Carl “The Yaz” Yastrzemski. 

Somehow when they divvied up the fantasy campers, Charlie and I ended up on separate Reds teams. One of the players on Charlie’s squad happened to be a sports agency representative, who was there to be Pete Rose’s body man for when he arrived at the camp later in the week. Charlie, being the biggest fan on the planet of Pete Rose I know, seized the opportunity to strike up a friendship. 

After a few days of us living out our baseball fantasy and playing with some greats of the game, the biggest stars of the week began showing up at the camp. I had a catch with Brooks Robinson, got batting tips from Jim Rice, and spent some time in the batting cage with George Foster.

One evening as we were getting ready to leave the hotel for dinner, our phone rang and it was the body man for Pete Rose. He asked if we wanted to meet the “Hit King.” How is this a question? Just tell us when and where. This was a dream come true for Charlie. He was finally going to meet his childhood hero and I was so happy for him. I, too, was happy to meet him but growing up I was an admirer of Johnny Bench. My parents tell me, for a few years, I thought I was Johnny Bench. I have the audio tape to prove it (see video below).

When we arrived at the hotel restaurant and bar, we found Pete Rose, his body man, and a bombshell of a blonde, sitting at a small cocktail table. We introduced ourselves and Pete immediately asked us to sit down and offered to buy us a drink. I’d never seen Charlie speechless until this very moment. 

We sat and talked to the “Hit King” about a multitude of baseball related topics. What was surprising to me was that he knew of my late-father. My dad played amateur baseball in Dayton back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and they played against each other a few times. My dad passed up a tryout with the Reds as a pitcher, choosing instead to go to Northwestern University. 

One of the most memorable moments of our encounter was when Pete’s “date” got up to use the ladies room. We all stood up as she excused herself from the table. As we were sitting back down, Pete could tell we were impressed with her, shall we say, “qualities.” Without missing a beat, Pete replied, “It was sure worth getting all those hits.” That needs to be on a t-shirt. 

The night ended and we left the restaurant walking on air. Pete was kind, generous, and accommodating with the many people who came to our table for an autograph or photo. He was also funny, a bit raunchy and clearly full of himself. But, after all, he’s the All-time Major League HIT KING. Perhaps one of the most prolific batters to ever swing a bat. Even his red SUV in the hotel parking lot had license plates that read, “Hit King.” There’s the proof!

The next day at camp, my team had advanced to the camp World Series and we got to play on the same field the Minnesota Twins play on during spring training. The finest baseball field I’ve ever had the pleasure to play on. That was the highlight because my team lost the final game. Perhaps it was the former minor league pitcher our Boston opponents had throwing for them. You don’t expect 85 MPH fastballs at fantasy camp. Heck, that could’ve been his change-up for all I know. Because quite candidly, I barely saw the ball when is passed over the plate. It looked like a pea. 

After the game, Charlie, Pete’s body man, and I went to grab a bite to eat at a nearby Shoney’s. As we were sitting down at the table with our trays of food from the buffet, the body man’s cellphone rang and Pete was on the other end. He told us to leave Shoney’s and come meet him for lunch at the same restaurant we had been the night before. We left our food untouched.

When we arrived, Pete was sitting at large round table with former New York Yankee Joe Pepitone and Mrs. Pepitone. We sat down, ordered food and Pete began holding court. He regaled us with baseball stories, many salacious in nature involving groupies, the media, and playing for Sparky Anderson. We also debated whether Ken Griffey Jr. would come to Cincinnati. At that time, in early 2000, this was still an uncertainty. He didn’t think Jr. would want to come to Cincinnati and I respectfully disagreed. 

But then Pete surprised me a bit when he said he had called his body man earlier during my game to ask how the “big guy” was doing. Yes, Pete Rose apparently asked for an update on me and our game. That’s was an odd feeling, knowing that Pete had given me a second thought. Maybe he had money riding on the game but I didn’t dare inquire.

After a few hours, we wrapped up lunch and said our goodbyes. Charlie and I again left walking on air. It was the perfect ending to the most amazing week two lifelong friends and lifelong Reds fans could possibly have. 

Our time with Pete was surreal. It reminded of the film Cobb, about baseball legend Ty Cobb. Tommy Lee Jones plays the Hall of Famer and there’s a scene where Cobb is playing cards with a few friends and the banter was ruckus and intoxicating. It was like that. Coincidentally, the restaurant where we met Pete, which is still there, is called Shoeless Joe’s Sports Café. Those who know the history of baseball will appreciate that little nugget. 

Joey’s World Tour Shout Out!

Thanks to Joey from Joey’s World Tour for the amazing shout out on his YouTube channel. Time code 6:06. PRICELESS.

Fitting Room Etiquette 101

At the risk of delving into a sociopolitical argument over men and women using dressing rooms of the opposite gender, this past weekend I was faced with a very strange scenario. 

While shopping with my wife at JC Penny, I attempted to enter the men’s fitting room and was greeted by an angry female voice from inside yelling, “hey, I’m in here.” I was startled because generally you LOCK THE DOOR after going into a fitting room. Wasn’t expecting that! And then to be met with such hostility was a bit unsettling. 

Feeling a bit perturbed and seeing this as a teachable moment, I curtly responded, “Maybe lock the door next door?!” She snapped back, “I did lock it.” I said, “Well, clearly it wasn’t locked.” She said, “Well, I locked it.” And I said, “Well, I opened it.” And added, “It’s also the men’s dressing room.” It was like a scene from a TV show right before two people throw down. 

My wife standing nearby was visibly embarrassed by my exchange with this stranger. She suggested we do our browsing elsewhere and we vacated the area like the wimps we are. I did keep an eye on the dressing room to see who came out. After a few minutes the woman emerged and she looked to me to be one of those people who live in a constant state of anger and irritation and has done so for decades. Maybe it’s her ill-fitting men’s jeans? 

I have no issue with people dressing in whatever makes them feel comfortable or pretty but it got me thinking: if I wanted to try on clothes in the women’s fitting room, I’m sure most women would object. Maybe even call store security. How is this different?

I’ve been in a men’s dressing room when another man mistakenly tried to enter my stall. When this happens I respond with, “Occupied.” That’s usually met with, “Oh, sorry man.” No harm, no foul. No hostility needed.

And according to the some of the women I work with (and my wife), this happens all the time in women’s fitting rooms and it’s not that big of a deal. This woman clearly doesn’t know modern day fitting room etiquette or decorum.

Bottom line: if you have a concern about someone of the opposite gender seeing you partially unclothed, maybe use the appropriate fitting room. No one at the store is going to care if you take a pair of men’s Wranglers to the women’s fitting room. 

And lastly, don’t be so darn indignant if someone mistakenly tries the door handle or slides open the curtain. You’re the interloper in this scenario, missy!

Xenia Tornado Documentary in Pre-Production

I spoke to Rosie Pooley of Blink Films UK about a documentary project they are developing about the Xenia, OH 1974 Tornado. Their approach is quite unique: reconnecting people who've lost touch with those who had a major impact on their life and survival during historical American events. They are looking for people who lived through Xenia 7 who would like to share their story and reconnect with that important person. To contact them 888-558-6449 or visit their website www.blinkfilmsuk.com

Hear the interview here:

Your movies are not my movies

Sometimes my wife Mary and I struggle when it comes to picking the ideal Saturday night movie to watch. We have the same issue with dinner but that’s for another blog post. 

If there’s nothing new on Netflix or Amazon we find interesting we go to the classics. This is where the problem begins. As far as entertainment goes, my wife and I are sort of from different generations. 

I was born in 1969 and grew up during the 70’s and 80’s. I fondly recall the classics like Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink and Animal House, just to name a few. Mary was born in 1982. She grew up with films like Clueless, Home Alone, American Pie and Good Burger. All fairly tolerable and I’ve seen them all but they aren’t my idea of “classics.” Am I right?

Some of my favorites, many I would consider “classics,” either came out before she was born and she’s never taken the time to watch them. Or, her very restrictive parents wouldn’t let her watch them as a child. In some cases, I certainly don’t blame them. No child needs to see Porky’s--another classic romp!

After some arm twisting we watched Animal House over the weekend. She had never seen it. Which again, I found perplexing. I’m not sure how one could be born in the 80’s and not have seen it--or in her case, even heard of it. She got an crash course on toga parties, pledge pins on uniforms and the classic Lincoln Continental DEATHMOBILE. Now there’s a classic movie car, for ya. 

After the radio segment below aired, a listener named Jen sent me a message asking if my wife knew who John Hughes was? She had no clue. None. I was heartbroken. Clearly I have failed in the role of 80’s movie moderator.  This weekend she’s meeting Spicoli. 

Hear her review below. 

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