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"Mad Men": "Maidenform"

By admin Published: August 31, 2008

I never got around to posting about last week's episode, which was quite good, and was regretting it for quite a bit of tonight's show, which did not seem as strong. But "Mad Men" sure knows how to end an episode. ...

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Happy Birthday, Van Morrison

By admin Published: August 31, 2008

He is 63 today. From vinyl to tape to CD to mp3, he has been in my head and lightened my heart. I used to sing "Tupelo Honey" as a lullaby for my sons. "Bright Side of the Road," "Days Like This," "It's All in the Game," "Crazy Love," "The Eternal Kansas City" and on and on and on ... He gets me through.

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I'm an Academia Nut

By admin Published: August 30, 2008

This morning I started another college class en route to becoming a teacher again, and I cannot begin to tell you how jazzed I am. There was something about sitting in a room with a bunch of literature-minded, whip-smart people, talking about Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway and other writers. It's not that newspaper writing isn't stimulating enough. But this is a whole different set of muscles, another kind of thinking. I kept scribbling down names of books I hadn't read or didn't know, wanting to feed the appetite the class had whetted.

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"Opportunity Knocks" for Canton Family (Updated)

By admin Published: August 29, 2008


Show host JD Roth

The word from Channel 5 is below. But, having just talked to a rep from the show, I should clarify: This is not going to be a segment for telecast in the program. This is part of a promotional tour for the show, and on a somewhat smaller scale than segments being made for TV. There will be the hoopla described in the release below.

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Watching Obama, Watching History

By admin Published: August 28, 2008


(Chicago Tribune photo)

I haven't watched much of the Democratic convention. I had work commitments a couple of nights, for one thing. But I wanted to see Barack Obama's acceptance speech. Not because of how I'm voting, but because this was history.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "One Man and A Baby"

By admin Published: August 28, 2008


Remember Don the skydiving instructor?

Originally aired Jan. 24, 1991. Brandon gets some lessons in parenthood, Brenda takes a leap. ...

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Wednesday Afternoon Notebook

By admin Published: August 27, 2008

The last day or so has consisted of work interrupted for long drives. Was in Cleveland last night for a screening of "Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys," which included an in-person introduction by Perry himself. This morning saw me on the road again to Cleveland, this time to join a small group of reporters interviewing Perry. Which I found plenty interesting. Tonight, I return to Cleveland for another movie screening, this time of "The Express," the movie about football star Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. I hope it's good. I also hope to get back to some other blog topics soon. Next up on "Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "One Man and a Baby," Jan. 24, 1991. Brandon gets involved with a young single mother.

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"Survivor" Cast Announced

By admin Published: August 27, 2008

Full announcement after the jump.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "B.Y.O.B."

By admin Published: August 26, 2008

Originally aired Jan. 10, 1991. Brenda and Brandon deal with alcohol, Dylan offers another biographical tidbit.

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"Reaper" to DVD Nov. 4

By admin Published: August 25, 2008

Here's the brief from Lionsgate:

Meet Satan's biggest tools. The first season of the hilarious comedy series "Reaper," which was declared "devilishly fun" by the San Francisco Chronicle, will be available on DVD this November. Reaper: Season One includes all 18 episodes from the freshman season and is loaded with special bonus materials including deleted scenes and commentary with cast and crew. Starring Bret Harrison (TV's "Grounded for Life") and Ray Wise (TV's "Twin Peaks"), who received a TCA Award nomination for Individual Achievement for his performance, "Reaper" follows the turbulent life of Sam (Harrison), a slacker whose world turns upside down on his 21st birthday when he learns that his parents sold his soul to the Devil (Wise). Forced to be Hell's bounty hunter, Sam, with the aid of his goofball friends, must track down evil-doers and send them back where they belong. "Reaper" originally aired during the 2007-2008 season on The CW, and season two is slated for a mid-season premiere. Pricing: DVD $39.98 (5-disc set)

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Solid Gold ... To Make You Feel Old

By admin Published: August 25, 2008

Someone passed on to me a story about the Beloit College mindset list, which of course sent me to the list itself. It deals with things that would be part of the consciousness of the college Class of 2012, mainly people born in 1990. A few highlights, in case you don't want to go to the whole list:

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"Dancing With the Stars" Cast

By admin Published: August 25, 2008

Hey, Misty May-Treanor, you just won a gold medal at the Olympics. Now what? "I'm going on 'Dancing With the Stars!' "

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"American Idol" Adds a Judge

By admin Published: August 25, 2008

Up in the Morning and Off to School

By admin Published: August 25, 2008

Usually early on Monday mornings, I'm doing a little Web browsing, catching up on the stuff on DVR, checking reader mail and generally planning how I will face the week. Today, I tried to do all those things but kept thinking, "Hey, I have a class." Which I of course attended, and took copious notes, and never once thought about the need for pizza in our time. Toughest part of it: The 32 minutes it took to get out of the school parking deck.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Isn't It Romantic?"

By admin Published: August 22, 2008

Originally aired Jan. 3, 1991. Brenda and Dylan get closer. Steve learns a valuable lesson.

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Life Is an Adventure

By admin Published: August 22, 2008

As you may know, these are terrible times in the newspaper business. I am still employed by the Beacon Journal, and dedicated to my chosen profession and to this blog. But I have begun to think about what I will do when my run as an ink-stained wretch comes to an end. And I am ready to test the maxim from the great "Animal House."

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Friday Notebook

By admin Published: August 22, 2008

Because of some personal adventures, I have not posted today. I hope to back in business this weekend, including with some new "Beverly Hills, 90210" discussion. Since the next episode involves the Brenda-Dylan romance, I can't stop yet.

Have also been pondering an issue that will matter mainly to people who remember vinyl records. (I still have mine.) That is, how did the rise of the single-sided DVD change the creative impulses in play with the two-sided record (and, for that matter, with the two-sided cassette)?

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Phelps, Olympics Opening on DVD

By admin Published: August 21, 2008


"Medals, shmedals. I've got my own DVD!"
(Pic From Huffington Post)

From NBC:

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New "Bachelor"

By admin Published: August 20, 2008

It's Jason from the last "Bachelorette."

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The Pajama Question

By admin Published: August 20, 2008

In my post about the "Seventeen Year Itch" episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210," I mentioned that when Jim changed into his pajamas, he kept his underpants on inside the pajamas.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "The Gentle Art of Listening"

By admin Published: August 20, 2008

Originally aired Dec. 6, 1990. Brenda works at a "rap line," Brandon has his eye on an older woman. And, in a classic case of life and art overlapping, Donna wants a nose job.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: The Temptation of Cindy

By admin Published: August 19, 2008


"The Seventeen Year Itch." Originally aired Nov. 29, 1990. Cindy sees an old boyfriend, Brandon and Brenda ponder their twin-ness.

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"Amazing Race" Teams Announced

By admin Published: August 19, 2008

Next series begins Sept. 28. Full announcement after the jump.

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Tuesday Morning Notebook: "Saving Grace," "The Closer," "Skins," "90210"

By admin Published: August 19, 2008

The fall season is looming, though not as much as I would like. The CW says the new "90210" will not be offered for advance review, a pretty definite sign that the premiere stinks. Looks back at the original "Beverly Hills, 90210" will continue in this space.

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More Casting: Vance Joins Wife on "ER"

By admin Published: August 18, 2008

NBC made it official today that Courtney B. Vance will be part of the final season of "ER," playing the husband of the character played by his real-life wife, Angela Bassett. You may remember Vance from "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," among many other projects. The announcement is after the jump.


(AP photo)

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It's Official: Fishburne to "CSI"

By admin Published: August 18, 2008


(Washington Post)

Full announcement after the jump.

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"Mad Men": "Three Sundays"

By admin Published: August 18, 2008

Just how good is Elisabeth Moss? Pretty doggone good. Discussion, with spoilers, after the jump.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: Season One, Episode 7

By admin Published: August 17, 2008


Jennie Garth

"Perfect Mom." Nov. 22, 1990. Brenda learns to appreciate Cindy, Kelly isn't "the girl who has everything." ...

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Sunday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: August 17, 2008

For those of you checking out my revisiting "Beverly Hills, 90210," I have set up a page -- see the rail on the right -- with all the recaps, in order of telecast. I'll add them there as I go along, so you don't have to scroll through the non-"90210" posts, or go back in search of, say, the third episode because of something I said about the sixth.

In today's Beacon Journal, I have a column about the sexualizing of teens in popular culture. It's an incredibly open-ended topic, and there were plenty of things not mentioned in the piece that could have been.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Higher Education"

By admin Published: August 16, 2008


(From Thebeachboys.com) The guys who made Cindy Walsh iron her hair!

Season 1, Episode 6. Originally aired Nov. 15, 1990. Brandon has an ethical dilemma, Brenda wonders if blondes have more fun -- and the Dylan-Brenda romance takes a first step. ...

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Fall 2008 Premiere Dates: An Overview

By admin Published: August 16, 2008

Since questions have been coming up, and I've been compiliing a list anyway, after the jump I am putting a chronology of the new TV season, or at least for September and October. It's as accurate as I can make it right now, but I will make changes if dates change. And if they're any shows you're wondering about that are not on the list, post a comment and I will try to update. I'm also going to put this in the pages section of the blog, with the network fall announcements.

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Night Out

By admin Published: August 15, 2008


(Akron Beacon Journal/Paul Tople)

Tonight, instead of "90210," it was "3-2," the final score in the Indians-Angels game, where the bride and I were in attendance. Lowly Indians beat the Angels, who have the best record in the bigs. Tribe pitcher Cliff Lee, above, wins his 17th and gives more reason to the Cy Young talk.

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Jerry Wexler, R.I.P.

By admin Published: August 15, 2008


Wexler with the Queen, from Rollingstone.com

The amazing producer has died, perhaps completing the death-coming-in-threes with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.

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The TWENTY-FIFTH Anniversary of "Risky Business" and Other Notes

By admin Published: August 15, 2008

It's true, no matter how old it makes you feel. And Warner Home Video is putting out a commemorative, remastered DVD of the movie in September. The release is after the jump, along with a few comments about the Olympics and John McEnroe.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: Season One, Episode 5

By admin Published: August 15, 2008

"One on One." Original airing: Nov. 1, 1990. Brandon learns about racism, Brenda take drivers ed. More after the jump. ...

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Wondering About Fall TV

By admin Published: August 14, 2008


"We're supposed to be getting married, and you're still here writing a 'Gossip Girl' review?"

At the office today, we were discussing plans for how to handle the new TV season, which starts somewhat on Sept. 1, with the return of "Gossip Girl," "One Tree Hill" and "Prison Break," as well as TNT's premiere of "Raising the Bar." (More things will be scattered over the ensuing weeks, with the big surge of new programming beginning Sept. 21.) But as we talked, it was difficult to think about what the new season will look like. ...

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "The First Time"

By admin Published: August 14, 2008


Paula Irvine played Sheryl, the first girl Brandon Walsh slept with. But where is she now?

Season 1, Episode 4, "The First Time." Premiered Oct. 25, 1990. Brandon has sex, Brenda's hot for teacher. Dylan wears some tragic pants. Synopsis and comments after the jump.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: Season 1, Episode 3

By admin Published: August 13, 2008

"Every Dream Has Its Price." Originally aired Oct. 18, 1990. The Walsh kids face more money issues, and adults get decent air time!

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Wednesday Notebook

By admin Published: August 13, 2008

My review of "Tropic Thunder," with a discussion of the controversy surrounding the movie, is here.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: Introducing Dylan McKay

By admin Published: August 12, 2008

Continuing my look at the original "Beverly Hills, 90210," with the second episode, "The Green Room," where Luke Perry made his first appearance as "mad, bad and dangerous to know" Dylan McKay. ...

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Flashback: "Beverly Hills, 90210": "Pilot"

By admin Published: August 12, 2008

With the venerable Fox show getting a makeover in the coming season on The CW -- and with ongoing tales about the return of stars from the original series -- it seemed like a good time to revisit the original, one episode at a time. ...

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Tuesday Notebook: "Closer," "Grace," Olympics, Book 'Em Redux

By admin Published: August 12, 2008

TV continues its attempt to look more like TV Land; besides previously announced retoolings of "90210" (see above), "The Prisoner" and "Streets of San Francisco," and Americanizing of imports like "Kath and Kim" and "Life on Mars," there's news that "Hawaii Five-O" will get an updating. I'm withholding judgment until I see young McGarrett's hair.

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Monday Notebook: "Mad Men," Olympics, Radio Delay

By admin Published: August 11, 2008


"Dinner at Lutece is pretty nice, but I could be home watching gymnastics."

This and that, after the jump. ...

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Isaac Hayes, R.I.P.

By admin Published: August 10, 2008

The great songwriter and singer has died. I've long loved his epic, 18-minutes-counting-monologue version of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." About a year ago, I posted a long piece about Hayes as one of my favorite singers. I'm reposting the text after the jump. That doesn't deal with some aspects of his career -- the years of songwriting for Stax, the later "South Park" fame (and controversy) -- but it does deal with why I'm crushed by his passing.

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Bernie Mac, R.I.P.

By admin Published: August 9, 2008

The comedian and former star of "The Bernie Mac Show" has died. I had seen the reports that he was fighting pneumonia but did not expect it to end up this way. Big shock.

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Well, That Was Cool

By admin Published: August 8, 2008


(Photo from SI.com)

Been a long day, and I expect to head sleepward soon. But I've seen almost two hours of Olympics opening-ceremonies coverage, all in HD, and it has been quite impressive. Loved the creation of images with large casts of people, and the synchronized drumming. In the early going at least, there was also a reasonable acknowledgement of political currents in China and the games.

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"Tropic Thunder"

By admin Published: August 8, 2008

I saw the movie last night. Very tasteless, at times disjointed, but also clever, Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise are worth the price of admission, and I laughed plenty. ...

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"Hills" Hype

By admin Published: August 8, 2008


(Photo by Jeff Lipsky, from MTV)

After the jump is MTV's release about the show's fourth season beginning Aug. 18, a highlights special on Aug. 16 and various other platforms for the show. Very, very extensive platforming.

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More on New "Sports Night" DVD

By admin Published: August 8, 2008

It has been more than eight years since "Sports Night" ended its network run, almost six years since a bare-bones "complete series" DVD set was released. With the 10th anniversary of the show's premiere coming in September, Shout! Factory has an excuse for a new DVD set that promises an abundance of extras along with the 45 "Sports Night" episodes. The full release is after the jump.

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New Year's Name Change

By admin Published: August 7, 2008


(ABC photo, from TV Guide)

The ubiquitous Ryan Seacrest will now have his name in ABC's annual New Year's special, retitled "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest." Dick Clark continues as co-host, says ABC, but his name in the title "reflects the success of the co-hosting responsibilities of one of America’s most time-honored traditions."

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Another Olympic Reminder

By admin Published: August 7, 2008

A few thoughts on the eve of the opening ceremonies. ...

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More "Battlestar Galactica"

By admin Published: August 7, 2008

From Sci Fi today:

SCI FI Channel today announced an all-new Battlestar Galactica special event, set to air in 2009 following the conclusion of the series and then released on DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment shortly thereafter. Directed by series star Edward James Olmos and written by Battlestar Galactica’s Jane Espenson, the two-hour event will begin shooting in Vancouver at the end of this summer. The cast includes Michael Trucco, Aaron Douglas and Dean Stockwell, with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

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Thursday Notebook

By admin Published: August 7, 2008


(Photo by Victor Skrebneski, from http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/)

Siskel & Ebert, and The Bird and The Bee, after the jump. ...

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Toon Disney: New Name, New Demo Strategy

By admin Published: August 7, 2008

With the Disney Channel drawing plenty of girls (the Hannah Montana/HSM effect), Disney is going to turn Toon Disney into "Disney XD," which it calls "a compelling mix of live-action and animated programming for kids age 6-14, hyper-targeting boys." Changes tarts in February '09. Full release after the jump.

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More "Adam-12" on DVD

By admin Published: August 6, 2008

A mere THREE YEARS after the release of the first season, the second comes to DVD in September. Full announcement after the jump.

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"According to Jim" on DVD

By admin Published: August 6, 2008

Yep, the first season arrives on Oct. 21. Feel free to make your own list of shows that AREN'T on DVD while "Jim" will be. Full announcement after the jump, along with a weird Jim Belushi story.

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Local Note: New News Director at WEWS

By admin Published: August 6, 2008

She's Jill Manuel, late of cable news in Chicago. Channel 5 announced her hiring today. A week ago, she told her staff in Chi that she was coming to Cleveland. Full announcement after the jump.

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Good Morning, Olympics

By admin Published: August 6, 2008


(Just a reminder)

A little before 7:30 this morning I flipped to the US-Norway women's soccer game, kicking off my Olympics viewing. (There will be more.) I had to leave the room for a few minutes, and came back to find Norway leading 2-0. Considering the glacial pace of scoring in a lot of soccer I've watched, it was astonishing. And when the game ended a couple of hours later, one NBC announcer called it a "shocker." Another said it was a "very disappointing" start for the US women's team. Brandi Chastain said she was almost speechless. So even before the opening ceremonies, we have a surprise. And isn't that part of the excitement of the Olympics? Not sure it's enough to have me watching the US men at 5 a.m. tomorrow, though.

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"Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music"

By admin Published: August 5, 2008


Johnny and June in their heyday

"P.O.V." tonight (check your local listings) unearths this 1969 documentary about Cash. It's deceptively offhanded, following Cash on the road, visiting old haunts, in the studio (including for a duet with Bob Dylan, then in his "Nashville Skyline" phase, on "One Too Many Mornings"), picking up an award for "Folsom Prison," listening to other musicians and telling stories. ...

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Great Moments in Pot?

By admin Published: August 5, 2008

James Franco and Seth Rogen from "Pineapple Express" were on Dan Patrick's show this morning, and Franco referred to "PE" as "the most expensive weed movie ever made." Maybe so, but the arrival of "PE" -- which I have not seen yet -- has had me pondering both the best pot movie ever made and, tangentially, the best pot-smoking scene in a movie. ...

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Brady Bio

By admin Published: August 5, 2008

Christopher Knight has been signed as host of the new TV version of "Trivial Pursuit" premiering Sept. 22. His official bio is so odd-sounding, I had to pass it along. After the jump. (By the way, while the bio details his forays into reality TV, the press release announcing his hosting mentioned only his "Brady Bunch" connection.)

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"Mad Men": "Flight 1"

By admin Published: August 3, 2008

So many things to like in tonight's episode. ...

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Letters, I Get Letters

By admin Published: August 3, 2008

As you may know, I do regular question-and-answer features for the Beacon Journal, including a daily question and a multi-question mailbag on Thursdays. The mailbag also goes out to other papers, so my mail comes from around the country.

I received one letter recently that, upon close examination, I decided not to use in the mailbag. It started, harmlessly enough, asking for the dates of birth of several actresses and how to write them. Those are relatively easy questions to answer (although trying to pin down accurate birthdays can be a challenge in some cases), but the letter writer said "everyone I ask says that they can't find the answers."

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Happy Birthday, Tony Bennett

By admin Published: August 3, 2008

He's 82 today. Good pop singer, great jazz singer. I especially recommend his Sinatra tribute, "Perfectly Frank." And here's a little bit of Sunday swing and sway ...

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Remember That Whole "No More Harry Potter" Thing? Well...

By admin Published: August 1, 2008

Let the madness start leading us to Dec. 4, when people will be lined up for "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," a spin-off of sorts from the Potter tales. Here's how the publisher explains it:

"Containing clues that were to prove crucial to Harry Potter’s final mission to destroy Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the volume of five wizarding fairy tales left to Hermione Granger by Albus Dumbledore in the seventh and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Only one – The Tale of the Three Brothers – is recounted in the book. In The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the four remaining stories are revealed for the very first time."
Only seven copies of the book were at first made, and one sold for charity. Proceeds from the new book will go to a Rowling-backed charity as well.

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