When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s many of my favorite sitcoms would occasionally have multipart episodes so they could tell stories that couldn’t fit into the regular thirty minute format. Sometimes it was so the characters could travel to a different locale for vacation. Sometimes your favorite TV pals were put in life endangering situations. Sometimes it was “a very special episode” where lessons were learned, tears were shed, and hearts were warmed.
Remember that time Fonzie jumped 14 garbage cans on his motorcycle (because 13 was unlucky)? How about the time Fonzie jumped a shark on water skis? Then there was the time Fonzie rode a killer bull in a rodeo to win the prize money to save a friend’s ranch? All of those took at least two parts. I’m not sure why all of my memories are about Happy Days… I’ll have to ask my friends Richie, Potsie, and Ralph.
Actually, there a many other examples including…
– Bobby and Cindy Brady get lost in the Grand Canyon. I’ll have to re-watch this one… I don’t remember how they wound up meeting a Native American boy named Jimmy and fed him hot dogs and beans out of a hollowed out flashlight.
– Wilona, J.J., and the rest of the Good Times family save Janet Jackson from an abusive mother.
– Fred Sanford and his son accidentally get mixed up with jewel smugglers while vacationing in Hawaii. The Bradys also had trouble in Hawaii when they found a cursed idol and were taken hostage by Vincent Price.
– Don’t even make me talk about the darkness that was Arnold and Dudley befriending a creepy bicycle shop owner (played by Gordon Jump of WKRP In Cincinnati fame) on Diff’rent Strokes.
What I’m trying to say is that this week is the conclusion to a very special two part blog that I started last week. I’ve been pondering all the things I’ve been thankful for during the past year when the whole world seemed to turn upside down.
If you missed Part 1 you can read it HERE.
I give you “The ABCs Of Thankfulness: Part 2”. Let’s pick up at the letter N.
N is for Netflix…
There are probably 200 million people grateful for their Netflix subscription. During the time we weren’t supposed to leave our house it was a blessing to get to travel to little towns like Schitt’s Creek and big cities like Gotham.
O is for (The) Other History Of The DC Universe…
This is the comic book that is more than a comic book. It continues to be a highlight of my reading, and I look forward to each new issue. Click HERE to see what I wrote after the first issue.
P is for Podcasts…
As a regular contributor (FC3 Monkey Business, Comedy At The Carlson’s Carlsoncast), as a guest (Opie Radio, Wednesdays With Wheels, The Pauly Guglielmo Show, and soon The Gaming Street Irregulars), and as a listener (way too many to mention) podcasts have been a life saver for the past year. Actually, way longer than the past year… they’ve been part of me for over a decade now.
The ability to always have a talk show aimed at my interests and sense of humor might be the greatest thing about current technology. If I’m alone walking, riding a bus, or even just laying on the couch I will always… and I mean ALWAYS… be wearing earbuds listening to music or podcasts. I dread the very rare occasions where I’m stuck with nothing but the quiet, and the solitary thoughts in my head. Susan also gets a kick out of hearing me laugh at the shows I listen to (especially when she can’t hear them herself… a bunch of them involve people making fun of each other. She’s not a fan of that).
Q is for Queen…
It’s a little nutty how many things I’ve enjoyed in the past 365 days with this Q connection.
– The Queen’s Gambit, the Netflix series that somehow made chess exciting even if you don’t know how to play.
– Oliver Queen, the secret identity of Green Arrow, played by Stephen Amell on the CW show “Arrow”.
– I know it’s a couple years old but I finally saw Rami Malek’s Oscar winning portrayal of Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury in the biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. How come my spellcheck doesn’t think rhapsody is a word?
– I can’t believe I actually liked the Netflix drama “The Crown”. I don’t have a ton of interest in Queen Elizabeth or the British Royal Family, but great performances made all four seasons binge worthy. Is anything going on right now that would make a fifth season possible?
R is for Record Store Day Drops…
One of my favorite days to buy music is Record Store Day (although there is no bad day to buy music). The day that celebrates independent record stores like the Archive is usually in April, but that had to change last year because of the stupid virus. Instead there were three smaller “drops” throughout the summer that allowed people to pick up exclusive vinyl releases. I loved having three chances to get some cool stuff, including previously unreleased records from The Doors, The Who, Prince, Lenny Bruce, Little Richard, and Dr. Demento.
In a weird way I preferred having to go back on a few different days… I didn’t have to spend a ton of money all at one time.
There are two Record Store Day Drops scheduled for this year (June 12th and July 17th). Keep an eye on the Record Archive newsletter for the list of this year’s releases. I’m looking forward to it.
S is for Sirsy…
You may have seen this nationally touring husband/wife rock band at one of their many local performances. Rich and Melanie are crowd pleasers that you may have seen at the Fairport Music Festival, Three Heads Brewing, Loving Cup, and even The Record Archive Backroom Lounge.
During the pandemic they’ve been entertaining us via live stream on their YouTube channel just about every Saturday night at 8pm. Their mix of music, humor, and technical wizardry has led to Star Wars nights, a murder mystery, tributes to the various decades, a salute to pets, Scooby Doo night, etc…
This Saturday we celebrate the one year anniversary of their home shows with a Best Of compilation that I recommend you check out HERE.
T is for Tough Cookies…
Tough Cookies is the name of the weekly live internet show done by Adam Weiner and Will Donnelly of the Philly based band Low Cut Connie. If the pandemic has benefited anyone in the past year it may be LCC, who have gone from being the best bar band since NRBQ to a nationally acclaimed musical sensation.
Tough Cookies has been described as a concert, a church service, a support group, an interview show, a strip club, a punk club, and the best soul music variety show since Soul Train. It’s been written about in everything from The Washington Post to Rolling Stone Magazine, and featured on radio shows like All Things Considered and World Cafe. Check out this excellent article from The Philadelphia Inquirer.
U is for Unemployment Insurance…
Until 2020 reared its ugly head I’d gone almost forty years without being unemployed for more than a couple weeks. I guess I was saving up for this past year. Sure, the system can be a hassle. There is a bunch of red tape, and long hold times on the phone can be a thing, but I’m glad this bit of weekly money was there when I needed it.
V is for Vaccines…
I got my first Covid vaccine a couple weeks ago, and get the second one next week. I know some people are skeptical, but I see no downside to getting these shots. If they work exactly as I hope they will help me in preventing the spread of a disease that has affected millions of people.
If all the conspiracy theorists and naysayers are correct I’m still not worried… does it really matter if I’m being tracked by a secret government chip being implanted with the vaccination? They will just monitor me via Facebook posts, Google searches, and whatever Alexa overhears anyways.
I even prefer to look on the bright side of other possible side effects. Maybe I’d be able to type this blog faster if I had a third hand growing out of my forehead.
W is for Water…
I saw what happened in Texas a few weeks ago when they had freakish weather. I observed the Flint, Michigan water crisis for years. I’m grateful that the city of Rochester, NY has such good water.
Last week the city had to shut off the water on my street for a few hours to repair a problem. I haven’t felt this much inconvenience since Channel 8 stopped being the local NBC affiliate and became CBS, and Channel 10 switched from CBS to NBC. This happened in 1989 and it confuses me to this day. People who didn’t have to go through this will never understand.it
X is for X…
No, not the letter itself, and I didn’t find the spot it marked either. I’m talking about the Los Angeles based punk band formed by John Doe (if that is his real name). They’ve been around since the late seventies, but they just landed on my radar in 2020 with the release of their album “Alphabetland“.
If you flashback to last week’s blog and the letter L you’ll remember that I said Bruce Springsteen’s “Letter To You” was tied as my favorite release of 2020. “Alphabetland” is my co-favorite. I’ve also really enjoyed going into X’s back catalogue and discovering great old rock and roll that is new to me.
Get yourself a copy of “Alphabetland” HERE.
Y is for You…
I really appreciate that you take the time to read this blog every week. Thank you.
Z is for…
Gee, ending on Y would’ve been great. Going out on the high note of being all sincere and stuff by thanking the readers would’ve been cool.
Z probably stands for Zoom for tons of people. I’ve only used it a couple times though. Z could also be for Zencastr (no “e”). That’s the program my friends and I have used to record most of our podcasts, so that makes sense. That’s not the real answer though.
I’m saying Z is for Zero… Coke Zero and Pepsi Zero. Those are my favorite beverages and are always on hand to quench my thirst (especially during those awful three hours when water was unavailable last week).
What did I listen to while writing? I went with “Turn On, Tune In” by NRBQ. That’s why I referenced them a little earlier. Get the live album HERE.
That’s it for this week. Thank you again. Stay safe and stay healthy. As Fonzie would say… “Ayyyyyyyyy!!!”