Monthly Archives: May 2011

French Fry Diary 229: Return to the Molly Pitcher Travel Plaza

RIP Gil Scott-Heron

I love music, but I’m not a big jazz guy. I’m a writer, a published poet, I even run an online poet’s group, but I’m not a poetry guy. I only like certain kinds of rap and hip hop, but I’m nowhere near what you would call a fan. All that said, I love Gil Scott-Heron.

Gil Scott-Heron was not a jack of many trades, but a king. He was one of the godfathers of rap, a brilliant jazz musician, a genius of spoken word, a poet, a performer, a social activist, and he was one of my favorite artists. He is one of the few artists of whose work I have worn out tapes and vinyl records of. I didn’t always agree with him politically, but I love his way with words, ideas, sounds and grooves. He was a master.

The master passed away yesterday and we are all poorer for it. Whether you know him from “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” the No Nukes concert, the songs “B-Movie” and “Re-Ron” during the Reagan Administration, “Whitey on the Moon” from the Howard Stern show or just from his phenomenal catalog of music – Gil Scott-Heron will be missed.

Below enjoy the song he’s most known for, “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” and my personal favorite “17th Street.”

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French Fry Diary 228: Cool Dog Café

The Non-Gamer

The non-gamer – that’s me. I’m old, horribly horribly old, almost fifty. Gosh, it hurts to even type that. Like I said, I’m old, and I’m not a gamer, at least not by today’s standards. So if I’m not a gamer, why am I writing this blog? Good question.

My background in videogames is being around for the birth of Atari, specifically Pong. Yeah, you remember Pong, and if you don’t, you probably saw pictures of it painted in animal blood on cave walls. Pong was the first of the Atari 2600 videogames, and the shot heard round the world that triggered an electronic revolution in the world of games and hobbies.

Pong was followed by fun stuff like Space Invaders and later personal favorites Starmaster, Adventure, and Yar’s Revenge and even Donkey Kong. That last one was a keeper. It triggered the jump to the next generation of videogame, and also the point where I got lost. I had an Atari 2600, but I didn’t get a Nintendo system until 1998, way beyond when it was cool or even cutting edge – and even then it wasn’t my idea to get the system. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the videogame age.

A Super Nintendo system followed later, but only so I could play geek favorites of mine – Justice League Task Force and Super Godzilla, notably the only two games ever purchased for the system. Up until a few weeks ago, that was as cutting edge as I got. Then the PS3 came into the house.

This was a surprise, but apparently something The Bride had been thinking about for a while. I had initially asked for a Roku or a Blu-Ray player for Christmas but Santa was not accommodating. The Bride thought a PS3 would service both functions and have games so she got one. And here we are.

There’s an old joke that the only thing that separates a full-time freelance writer from an unemployed bum is a videogame system. To keep that balance from claiming me, I’m starting this blog, recording my impressions as a decisive non-gamer into the gaming world of PlayStation. I’ll try not to be too stupid or naïve, and maybe we’ll all learn something. Welcome to my nightmare.

Jeff Conaway 1950-2011

Actor Jeff Conaway passed away today after doctors took him off of life support. The actor was in a medically-induced coma after suffering from an overdose of painkillers. This was after a long battle with drug abuse, much of which occurred in front of the world via reality television, as Dr. Drew tried to help Conaway on several of his rehab TV series. It seems a shame both that he had not only this problem, but also that a whole generation probably only knows him as that wrecked old drug addict on TV.

Jeff Conaway had a long career before crashing and burning, he was on television and film, and was prolific with both. He played Kenickie in Grease, and was a member of the long-running ensemble sitcom “Taxi,” until eventually being fired for drug use, a specter that haunted him even then. I remember also in Disney’s Pete’s Dragon and even though I never watched it, I know he was also a regular on “Babylon 5.”

What I remember Jeff Conaway most for, and while this marks me for not being with the Grease or “Taxi” or even rehab crowds, it cements my nerd cred. I remember him in “Wizards and Warriors.” This high adventure/subtle comedy TV series, mostly directed by Bill Bixby, was CBS’ way of cashing in on the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy demographic. It soon became evident that those folks didn’t watch prime time TV, or at least that show, and it was canceled after just a handful of episodes. I still dug Conaway as the square-jawed hero. playing it straight and standing above. Would love to see that on DVD someday.

No matter how you remember Jeff Conaway, he will be missed, and remembered.

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Random Tater Pic of the Day #3

BBQ Potato Skins

French Fry Diary 227: More Than Ice Cream

Is It a Good Idea to Microwave a Big Bag of Chips?

The All Things Fun! Comics Vidcast for May 18th 2011

The All Things Fun! Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ – All Things Fun! – co-hosts Ed Evans, Allison Eckel and Glenn Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube.

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Allison catches up with Flashpoint, Ed and Glenn help fill in the details and conspiracy theories, Avengers #13, more Avenger-y goodness with the superhero prom, the Sinister Six and movie tie-ins, and the Death of Ultimate Spider-Man.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Allison’s The Batcave, Smallville unintentional tie-ins, J.T. Krul’s Teen Titans #95, Allison’s Kids Komics, Geoff Johns’ Flash Omnibus, Ed’s X-Men and leftovers, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7 by Nick Spencer and Mike Grell, James Robinson’s Justice League of America #57, Zatanna #13, the Rocketeer is back, Thor movie toys, the return of light saber chopsticks and Ed’s trades.

Be sure to check out the All Things Fun! website and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the broadcast live, and thereafter throughout the week!

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