Friday, April 18, 2014

Murder She Wrote Recaps: S1E20: Armed Response

Jessica flies to Dallas to serve as an expert witness in a copyright infringement lawsuit, but before she can make her first of many MSW courtroom appearances, an airport mishap leaves her with a sprained ankle. At the hospital, where she meets her toughest match yet: cynical Dr. Ellison, played by the legendary Martin Kove (Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese from The Karate Kid).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The WCCW Report: Episode 46: Kerry vs. Flair-y

The WWE Network is amazing. One of the hidden bonuses of the service is that they’re uploading a few classic episodes of World Class Championship Wrestling each week. This is stuff that really can’t be found anywhere other than in the musty tape libraries of Vince McMahon’s basement, but each episode brings back memories of when the show was syndicated every day at 3:00 CST on ESPN and I used to watch it from a tiny director’s chair with a bag of Fun Fruits after a long, tough day of first grade.

Not to be confused with WCW, this regional promotion was one of the most exciting of the early-to-mid 1980s. Based out of the Sportatorium in “downtown” Dallas, World Class Championship Wrestling was the brainchild of the Von Erich family. Most of the time it served simply to make the Von Erichs––at this point, father Fritz (by all accounts a terrible person/crazy madman) and his sons David (boring), Kevin (pretty much the only non-Samoan wrestler to eschew boots), and especially Kerry (“The Modern-Day Warrior,” whatever that means)––look like the best and most talented people in the world. But, this being the territory days of pro wrestling, a rotating cast of weirdos and scary Asians surrounds the Von Erichs, leading to some both some shockingly amazing and hilariously amateurish moments. I’m going to relive all of them and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

I know, I know, we’re starting with episode 46! But we had to start somewhere, and where better than the episode that kicked off the rivalry that defined the promotion?

This show, from December 1982, features the biggest WCCW event to date. When’s the last time an episode of a wrestling show featured only a single match? But this one’s a doozy, pitting local heartthrob Kerry Von Erich against traveling world champ Ric Flair, who’s returned to town to reluctantly defend his title against Kerry after hiring The Great Kabuki to make an ultimately failed attempt to permanently injure Kerry’s leg. He should’ve just hired a motorcycle instead, as it turns out (oh snap).

The match takes place in a steel cage to prevent further shenanigans, and the local fans were allowed to vote for a special referee to keep the peace. They chose Michael Hayes, the loudmouthed leader of the Fabulous Freebirds, who have been sucking up to the fans for the month they’ve been in town. The crowd really should have known better––they Freebirds grew up in a place called Badstreet USA, for god’s sake!

Sure enough, after Kerry refuses to accept Hayes’s illicit help to defeat Flair, Hayes has a hissy fit and leaves the cage. As Kerry’s leaning out, yelling after him, the other Freebird, Terry Gordy, slams the cage door on his head. In a modern match, Flair would get the pin right there, but this one goes on another 10 minutes before Kerry finally collapses and the other ref anticlimactically awards the match to the champ.

The remaining 15 minutes of the episode are spent on listening to the despondent screams of the teenage girls in the crowd (seriously, Kerry must have been the biggest heart-throb of ‘80s Texas) and replays of the cage door slam heard round the world. David grabs the mic and I’m expecting a legendary speech, but he just garbles something about seeing what the Freebirds got him for Christmas. Classic David.

Things are only going to heat up from this point forward. I smell a blood feud coming on!

Professor Robert Langdon Facts #2

Straight from the pages of Dan Brown's Inferno...

Image credit: "GellyH" from

Did you know?

Professor Robert Langdon insists that Bombay Sapphire and the works of Russian author Nikolai Gogol should never be mixed.

Because Professor Robert Langdon is a lifelong aficionado of Italian art, Florence has become one of his favorite destinations in all of Europe.

Although most people are impressed by the sheer enormity and defined musculature of Michelangelo's David, Professor Robert Langdon is more interested in the genius of the statue's pose.

Professor Robert Langdon routinely chastises his students for Googling themselves, an act that he feels reflects the American youth's bizarre obsession with personal celebrity.

A Google news search on "Professor Robert Langdon" will return several pages of results.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Are You Band Enough? Music Reviews: Stan Bush's The Ultimate: Track 3: "Heat of the Battle"

Does any sort of music go better with karate than hard-charging guitar backed by soulful, sustained keyboard chords? You can practically see two noble competitors breaking each other’s ribs for the enjoyment of a bloodthirsty yet strangely classy crowd of spectators while listening to this song. It’s classic Stan Bush all the way, from the ripping guitar solo to the lyrics about pushing yourself to the limit when the stakes are high and confrontation is unavoidable.

If “Heat of the Battle” doesn’t accompany scenes from a martial arts tournament in a movie within the next couple of years, somebody needs to be held accountable. And after listening to this song on repeat for the last 45 minutes, I’ve convinced myself that I’m the right man to levy the punishment.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are You Band Enough? Music Reviews: Stan Bush's The Ultimate: Track 2: "The Ultimate"

The second track from Stan Bush's album The Ultimate is indeed the titular track. When you title a song "The Ultimate," you are really making a statement. Some might say, "the ultimate what?" To that I would answer, "Don't question Stan Bush!" With lines like "Hold tight, life's a rocky ride" and "rise up like an eagle in flight, the best of the best would never forget the passion that keeps dreams alive," I might as well let Stan Bush parent my children. Whenever my kids approach me with problem I will promptly press play on this track and sit silently while Stan Bush sets them straight.

Not only is this track an effective parenting tool, it is also the ultimate end credits song for any motion picture. The next time you watch any movie, turn off the sound at the start of the credits and fire up this track. There is no doubt in my mind it will make every single movie The Ultimate movie. So far I have tried it with The Wizard of Oz, Saving Private Ryan, An American Tail, and The Godfather. I have not been proven wrong yet.