Thursday, April 07, 2016

A VIDEO HISTORY OF HIGH SCHOOL HOOPS IN INDIANA

1947
   Semifinal - Shelbyville 54, E.C. Washington 46
   Semifinal - T.H. Garfield 59, Marion 50
1948
   Semifinals - Evansville Central 48, Muncie Central 40 and Lafayette 60, Anderson 48
1949 - Jasper 62, Madison 61
1950 - Madison 67, Lafayette Jeff 44
   Semifinals - Madison 50, Marion 49 and Lafayette Jeff 51, New Albany 49 (OT)
   Spence Schnaitter
1951 - Muncie Central 60, Evansville Reitz 58
1952 - Muncie Central 68, Indianapolis Arsenel Tech 49
   Semifinal - Muncie Central 68, New Albany 67
   Semifinal - Indianapolis Arsenel Tech 56, Lafayette Jeff 49
1953 - S.B. Central 42, T.H. Gerstmeyer 41


1954 - Milan 32, Muncie Central 30
   Semifinal - Milan 60, T.H. Gerstmeyer 48
   Hoops, Hope and Change
   The Plump Legacy
   '54 seniors interviewed in 2016
1955 - Crispus Attucks 97, Gary Roosevelt 74
   Against All Odds: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3


1956 - Crispus Attucks 79, Lafayette Jeff 57
1957 - S.B. Central 67, Crispus Attucks 55
   Semifinals - Crispus Attucks 85, T.H. Gerstmeyer 71
1958 - F.W. South 63, Crawfordsville 34
   Semifinals - F.W. South 55, Springs Valley 42 and Crawfordsville 53, Muncie Central 45
1959 - Crispus Attucks 92, Kokomo 54
   Semifinals - Crispus Attucks 76, Logansport 50 and Kokomo 58, New Albany 56 (OT)
1960 - E.C. Washington 75, Muncie Central 59
   Semifinal - Muncie Central 102, Bloomington 66
1961 -
   Semifinals - Indianapolis Manual 70, Tell City 55 and Kokomo 87, Logansport 66
1962 - Evansville Bosse 64, E.C. Washington 61
1963 - Muncie Central 65, S.B. Central 61
1964 - Lafayette Jeff 58, Huntington 55
   Semifinals - Huntington 71, Columbus 67 and Lafayette Jeff 74, Evansville Rex Mundi 61
1965
   Semifinals - Indpls. Washington 88, Princeton 76 and F.W. North 74, Gary Roosevelt 65
1966 - M.C. Elston, 63, Indianapolis Arsenal Tech 52
   Semifinals - M.C. Elston 81, E.C. Washington 64 and Indpls. Tech 58, Cloverdale 51
   Rick Mount
1967 - Evansville North 60, Lafayette Jeff 58
   Regional Finals - T.H. Garfield 76, Bloomington 64
1968 - Gary Roosevelt 68, Indianapolis Shortridge 60
1969 - Indianapolis Washington 79, Gary Tolleston 76
   Semifinals - Indpls. Washington 61, Marion 60 and Gary Tolleston 77, Vincennes Lincoln 66


1970 - E.C. Roosevelt 72, Carmel 62
   Semifinal - Carmel 71, Loogootee 62
1971 - E.C. Washington 70, Elkhart 60
   Semifinal - E.C. Washington 102, Floyd Central 88
   Semifinal - Elkhart 65, New Castle 60 (3OT)
   A Team For The Ages
1972 - Connersville 80, Gary West Side 63
   Semifinal - Gary West Side 75, Anderson Madison Heights 67
   Semifinal - Connersville 76, Jeffersonville 69 (OT)
1973 - New Albany 84, S.B. Adams 79
   Semifinal - S.B. Adams 99, Anderson 95
   Semifinal - New Albany 77, Franklin 76 (OT)


1974 - F.W. Northrop 59, Jeffersonville 56
   Semifinal - F.W. Northrop 63, Lafayette Jeff 49
   Semifinal - Jeffersonville 63, Franklin 52
1975 - Marion 58, Loogootee 46
   Semifinal - Marion 73, Lebanon 65
1976 - Marion 82, Rushville 76
1977 - Carmel 53, E.C. Washington 52
1978 - Muncie Central 65, T.H. South 64 (OT)
1979 - Muncie Central 64, Anderson 60
1980 - Broad Ripple 73, New Albany 66
1981 - Vincennes Lincoln 54, Anderson 52
   Semifinal - Vincennes Lincoln 72, Shenandoah 53
1982 - Plymouth 75, Gary Roosevelt 74 (2OT)
   Semifinals - Plymouth 62, Cathedral 59 and Gary Roosevelt 58, Evansville Bosse 57
   Ft. Wayne Regional - F.W. Harding 64, F.W. Snider 62


1983 - Connersville 63, Anderson 62
   Semifinal - Anderson 89, Marion 87 (2OT)
1984 - Warsaw 59, Vincennes Lincoln 56
   Semifinal - Warsaw 78, New Castle 74
   Semifinal - Vincennes Lincoln 64, Lake Central 56
1985 - Marion 74, Richmond 67
   Semifinal - Marion 76, Southridge 52
   Semifinal - Richmond 85, E.C. Washington 79
   Evansville Semistate - Southridge 72, L&M 54
1986 - Marion 75, Anderson 56
   Semifinal - Anderson 70, Shelbyville 69 (OT)
   Semifinal - Marion, Southridge
   Indianapolis Semistate - Shelbyville, New Castle
   Indiana's Game (documentary)
   Hoosiers Revisited
1987 - Marion 69, Richmond 56
   Semifinal - Marion 70, Bedford-North Lawrence 61
   Semifinal - Richmond 66, Gary Roosevelt 60


1988 - Muncie Central 76, Concord 53
   Semifinal - Muncie Central 60, Bedford-North Lawrence 53
   Semifinal - Concord 66, Hammond Noll 50
   Shawn Kemp: Before The Reign
1989 - Lawrence North 74, Kokomo 57
   Semifinal - Kokomo 73, Floyd Central 70
   Semifinal - Lawrence North 81, S.B. St. Joseph 62
   Lawrence North season preview
1990 - Bedford-North Lawrence 63, Concord 60
   The H.S. Baller 41,000 Came To See
   Damon!


1991 - Gary Roosevelt 51, Indianapolis Brebeuf 32
   Semifinal - Indianapolis Brebeuf 52, T.H. South 39
   Semifinal - Gary Roosevelt 83, Whitko 53
   Regular season - Gary Roosevelt 87, Gary Wirt 50
   LaPorte season highlights
1992 - Richmond 77, Lafayette Jeff 73 (OT)
   Semifinal - Richmond 94, Jeffersonville 92 (OT)
   Semifinal - Lafayette Jeff 71, Warsaw 58
   Knox Basketball Legend: Jeremy Crittendon
1993 - Jeffersonville 66, Ben Davis 61
1994 - S.B. Clay 93, Valparaiso 88 (OT)
1995 - Ben Davis 58, Merrillville 57
1996 - Ben Davis 57, New Albany 54 (2OT)
   Semifinal - New Albany 82, Warsaw 65
   Semifinal - Ben Davis 61, Lafayette Jeff 53
1998
   High School Basketball At It's Most Intense
   Old High Schools and Gyms of Indiana
2002 (4A) - Gary West Side 58, Indianapolis Pike 55
2004 (4A) - Lawrence North 50, Columbia City 29
2005 (4A) - Lawrence North 63, Muncie Central 52
2005 (3A) - Washington 74, Plymouth 72
   Greg Oden overview


2006 (4A) - Lawrence North 80, Muncie Central 56
2006 (3A) - New Castle 51, Jay County 43
2006 (2A) - Forest Park 61, F.W. Harding 55
2006 (1A) - Hauser 64, Tri-Central 36
   Lawrence North vs. North Central highlights
2007 (4A) - East Chicago Central 87, North Central 83
2008 (4A) - Brownsburg 40, Marion 39
2010
   History of Indiana High School Basketball
   Indiana Basketball Hall Of Fame promotional video
2014 (4A) - Indianapolis Tech 63, Lake Central 59
   Greensburg goes for back-to-back
   Stacy Meyer
2015
   Washington vs. Jasper
   Washington vs. Evansville Reitz
   New Albany vs. Jeffersonville recap
2016
   A Basketball Fan's Journey Through The State
   Hoosier Hardwood Photo Project
   Frankfort Regional - Liberty Christian vs. Seton Catholic
   Washington Regional - Pike Central vs. Evansville Bosse
   Washington Regional - Silver Creek vs. Greensburg
   Washington Regional - Evansville Bosse vs. Silver Creek
   Frankfort Regional - Liberty Christian vs. Lafayette Central Catholic recap
   Richmond Semistate - New Albany 82, Southport 64
   McCutcheon vs. Carmel regional recap
   McCutcheon vs. Warsaw semistate recap
   New Albany vs. McCutcheon preview
   New Albany vs. McCutcheon recap
   Lapel vs. Indianapolis Howe recap
   Liberty Christian vs. Bloomfield recap




Sunday, August 05, 2012

1977 in film

If Jaws set the stage for the era of the summer blockbuster, Star Wars kicked the door completely in.  There's a lot of great movies out there, including a whole host that in the grand scheme of things are far better than the original Star Wars.  But very few become a complete cultural phenomenon, and maybe none moreso than our introduction to Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and (especially) Harrison Ford did.  After 1977, everything had changed in a way that continues through today.

#5 - Jesus Of Nazarth: There's obviously quite a few high-quality works on the life of Christ.  Of the more comprehensive efforts, this is the one I always hearken back to in my mind.  The piercing eyes and effortless calm that Robert Powell brought to the role made him the standard going forward.


#4 - Slap Shot: How fun must this have been for Paul Newman to do?  All the great movies he's been in, all the fantastic roles that he was able to sink his teeth into and be honored for...and then there's this foul-mouthed bit of trash that has no hesitation whatsoever to get down and roll in the mud.  Speaking of vulgarities, be forewarned that the granddaddy of them all gets used (to great effect) in this clip.


#3 - Oh God!: Morgan Freeman gave it a good turn in Bruce Almighty, but I still have to give the slight edge to George Burns in this one.  Just love the way the entire courtroom has that look on their faces of complete enjoyment at watching Burns giving his speech.


#2 - Pumping Iron: This documentary could have derailed many other prospective actors/politicians with the coarse discussions and open drug use.  Instead, it served as an effective introduction to the awesome charisma of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I've always gotten a rush out of seeing Lou Ferrigno screaming Arnold's name in this workout to provide motivation to push himself through the pain.  Whatever PEDs may have been used, it's still staggering to see the amount of weight these guys are training with and the lengths they pushed themselves.


#1 - Star Wars: Not sure what more really needs to be said.  The most impressive opening scene in movie history.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

1976 in film

1976 was a vast improvement over the preceding year in terms of quality up at the top.  There's still controversy that rages to this day over Rocky being voted Best Picture at the Academy Awards.  Frankly, in the aftermath of all the high profile assassinations in the 60's, Vietnam, and Watergate, this country needed a pick-me-up.  Taxi Driver was ultimately too damn depressing and Rocky (for whatever you might think of its sequels) was a feel-good story that had a great plot and some fantastic supporting characters that made it feel real.

#5 - King Kong: Guilt pleasure, I must confess.  It's terribly over the top, and it tries too hard to be relevant about the role of oil set against the backdrop of the OPEC crisis in the 70's.  Jeff Bridges was definitely on the path to bigger and better things.  It's also the motion picture debut of Jessica Lange, who is substantially less annoying than Fay Wray in the original.  Gotta love Jeff's beard...good campy fun!


#4 Carrie: It's amazing how all over the place the adaptations of Stephen King's stuff are.  For every Green Mile, The Shining, or Shawshank Redemption there filler like Pet Sematary, Thinner, and Dreamcatcher.  Carrie goes back and forth between the two for me.  Slow in some places, a little goofy in others...and then sometimes downright creepy as hell.  Interestingly, Piper Laurie was nominated for an Academy Award in 1961 for her role in The Hustler, then didn't do another film until this one fifteen years later.  The result: another Oscar nomination.


#3 - Taxi Driver: Look, I won't debate it's greatness.  Definitely earns a spot among the top hundred American films of all-time.  But this list is of my favorites.  And this is just a downer of a flick.  Violent as hell for the mid-70's as well.  It's cliched to call it an iconic performance from DeNiro because, frankly, he's had at least seven of them.  Also the first of two iconic roles for Jodie Foster and the first of her four Academy Award nominations.


#2 - All The President's Men: I am nothing if not my mother's son.  She's a history junkie and instilled enough of that in me that I wound up earning a degree in history as a college undergraduate.  This movie does a fantastic job of taking what could otherwise be a mundane story about an investigative reporting gig and turning it into a taut thriller.  Bob Woodward only wishes he looked half as good as Redford did playing him.  No Jason Robards in this scene but he was dynamite in his role as Ben Bradlee.


#1 - Rocky: Spoiler alert!  He doesn't win the fight at the end.  I think one of the most underrated moments in films, and because of that possibly my favorite acting moments, are when they give a "look" that communicates everything without saying a word.  Carl Weathers has just that type of moment in this clip at the 1:43 mark.  He knows that to win he's going to have to literally kill this opponent that just refuses to go down as he should have ages ago.  And yet he knows that he's given it everything that he has and there's no guarantee that he won't be the one going to his doom when this resumes.

Friday, August 03, 2012

1975 in film

Wow, after the first couple of movies, it tails off in a hurry.  Evidently I haven't seen too many flicks from when I was a year old, at least not any that could be considered "quality."

#5 - Escape From Witch Mountain: I only have the slightest memory of watching this one as a child.  Can remember laying on the floor in my grandparent's living room on Taggert Avenue watching it on a Saturday afternoon.  Aside from having the evil warden from the original Longest Yard, there's not much else I can tell you about this.  Definitely doesn't crack the top 25 among my favorite Disney efforts.



#4 - Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown: Let's face it, there's the Christmas and Halloween specials and everything else by the Peanuts gang was just trying to ensure that all the other holidays got equal representation.  It's been ages since I've seen it but I'm recalling a premise that involves Charlie Brown not getting any Valentine's Day cards.  Am I close?



#3 - Rocky Horror Picture Show: Not a huge fan, but got sucked into it as a junior in high school.  My girlfriend that year had a fondness for the soundtrack, so it got listened to on several occasions and I consented to sitting down to watch the movie.  The things we do for love.  Hey, two thumbs up for any film that casts Meatloaf!



#2 - One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: Now we're talking.  I apologize for the music that got overlaid on this clip.  Brad Dourif was absolutely magnificent in this scene, Nicholson wisely stayed in the background and didn't take anything away from the moment, and Louise Fletcher is at her icy worst as one of the most evil screen villains of all-time.



#1 - Jaws: The modern movie landscape of emphasis on summer blockbusters can be traced directly back to Steven Spielberg's first masterpiece.  The fact that you see so little of the shark until the very end lends to the suspense and dread.  And this scene by Robert Shaw belongs in the absolute pantheon of dramatic monologues.  I have two books on the bookshelf at home pertaining to the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis that I bought entirely based on the description of events in this clip.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

1974 in film

948 movies.  As best I can tell from doing film rankings on Flickchart, that's how many movies I have seen in my lifetime.  At approximately two hours a movie, that's 79 days of 24/7 viewing that I've done in my lifetime.  And that's assuming that I only saw each movie one time which, frankly, we all know isn't the case.  Therefore, the theme of the blog today and for the next month is counting down my favorite movies.  One daily entry for each year I've been around, my five favorite movies of each year counted down and with clips.


#5 - The Man With The Golden Gun: In general, I find most of the Roger Moore 007 movies to be silly with too much of an emphasis on gadgets.  However, Christopher Lee as Scaramanga is one of the best Bond villians and Britt Ekland is certainly easy on the eyes.  





#4 - Young Frankenstein: 1974 was a pretty solid year for Mel Brooks, with both this and Blazing Saddle coming out within ten months of each other.  I have two favorite bits of trivia regarding this film.  The first is that most of the laboratory equipment seen in the movie is the exact same equipment used in the famous Boris Karloff version of Frankenstein.  Second is that Aerosmith went to see the film and got the idea to name their iconic song "Walk This Way" from a gag in the movie.





#3 - Monty Python and The Holy Grail: There's two types of people in this world, I'm convinced.  Those who get Monty Python's dry British humor, and those who don't.  So absurd, but so damn funny.





#2 - Blazing Saddles: Maybe the most politically incorrect movie in history and one I'm not sure could even get made today.  Clevon Little did a great job as the sheriff but there's still a part of me that wishes Mel Brooks had gotten his first choice--Richard Pryor.  This might be my single favorite delivery of a comic line ever.





#1 - The Godfather Part II: It seems ridiculous in hindsight, but this film wasn't supposed to work.  Sequels were extremely rare and almost always flops before this masterpiece.  Jumping around in time from 1901 to 1958 to 1917 and carrying on multiple story lines was going to be too confusing for the audience.  The story had been told in epic fashion and anything else was going to be a redundancy.  Well, so much for conventional wisdom.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

MY PLAN FOR THE COMING MONTHS

Sometimes it feels like I collect for the sake of collecting.  My treasure troves of music, movies, and books is staggering in its obsessiveness, but the irony is that I haven't read half the books I've got on my shelves or likely listened to even 10% of the songs in my music library.  To say nothing of the hundreds of hours I could spend viewing movies I own but have never actually watched.

So here's my goal to myself.  One new movie per week.  One new album per week.  And thirty minutes per night of curling up with a good book.

Movies, not an issue.  All the ladies in my family crash for a solid Sunday afternoon nap of at least two hours every week.  Should I not be able to finish that movie before they all awake, I can finish it off before bed that night.  Music, not an issue.  The time I spend in a car driving to and from work each day should easily let me knock out an album in a single day.  And I figure thirty minutes with a book to wind down before going to bed at night will be ideal.

Reviews to come.

Friday, July 13, 2012

WOW...SO I HAVE A BLOG?

I was checking out my best friend's blog last week and he made some comment about needing to clean some other blogs off his "to watch" list due to inactivity.  Since it's been 53 weeks since I last updated this, I can only assume I fall into that camp.  Deservedly so.  That being the case, I'm making my triumphant return to the blogosphere this evening.
By chance, today happens to be the 27th anniversary of Live Aid.  It took place back in 1985, two days after I turned eleven.  I don't recall watching it the day of, although I certainly remember the hoopla.  It wasn't until I purchased the DVD of the show four or five years ago that I got to watch some of it.  With regret, I must confess that I have not yet sat down and watched all four discs start to finish and have no doubt missed plenty of great music.

As you're probably aware, Bob Geldof put together Band Aid as a means of raising funds to combat famine relief in Ethiopia back in the mid-80's after seeing a BBC report on the crisis.  After the success of "Do They Know It's Christmas" and the American response "We Are The World," Geldof became more ambitious and made plans for the largest concert event in history.

There were some definite highlights.  After over a decade of perfecting their own unique style of campy rock, Queen was the highlight of the show and Freddie Mercury demonstrated why he was the greatest frontman in the history of arena rock.



It's not on the DVD (I've checked) but this was one of the rare 80's reunions of the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin...with Phil Collins standing in on drums.



It was Geldof's party, so it was only appropriate that the Boomtown Rats got together to play "I Don't Like Mondays."



And if Queen stole the show, the other major highlight was U2 going from college radio darling to worldwide superstars with their fourteen minute set.



In the end, approximately $233 million dollars has been raised to date by the Live Aid concert and other sales associated with the event.  Between JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and London's Wembley Stadium, 172,000 fans saw the performance live, while it was estimated that 1.9 billion viewed the telecast.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Friday, August 20, 2010

IF I'M GOING TO HAVE A BLOG, I MIGHT AS WELL UPDATE IT

Trivia contest today. Here are a few selected songs over the years. First person to tell me the common theme gets two free tickets to a Bellarmine University basketball game this upcoming season.















Saturday, October 31, 2009

A LITTLE TOO CLOSE FOR MY LIKING

It seems a little similar between Ernie from Sesame Street...


...and 70's glam rockers Kiss.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

NOW IN THE ROLE OF CASTING DIRECTOR...ME!!!
As detailed two days ago, if the Chronicles of Narnia are going to be brought to the big screen (joining literary brethren the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia), it needs to be faithfully done. To do so would mean fully embracing the roots of the story, based on Welsh legend and mythology. As detailed yesterday, this can be further bolstered by taking filming on location to Wales itself, utilizing the amazing topography as well as ancient castles.
It stands to reason that the final big piece in an essentially Welsh story filmed in Wales would be to have as close to an all-Welsh cast as possible.

For starters, I think you actually go against the obvious and not bring on board the most recognizable Wales native in the acting business--Anthony Hopkins. Too recognizable (and probably too expensive).

However, there are plenty of noteworthy Welsh actors who aren't so big as to overwhelm the story while still accomplished enough to make for a quality film rather than a popcorn flick.

Ioan Gruffudd as Gwydion: one of the major heroes of the story, the war leader for the forces of good and next in line for the position of High King of Prydain. Gruffudd portrayed Reed Richards in the two Fantastic Four movies, was Lancelot in a recent King Arthur film, and has seen action in blockbusters such as Titanic and Black Hawk Down.

John Rhys-Davies as Dallben: every story of this type has to have the all-knowing wizard type, be it Ben Kenobi in Star Wars or Gandolf in LOTR. Dallben is a 300 year old enchanter who is arguably the most powerful figure in Prydain and stands as a major foe to the forces of evil. Rhys-Davies, having portrayed the dwarf Gimli in the Tolkien series, already has an impressive background in this genre. He also had a notable role in the Indiana Jones series as Sallah. At over 6'1, he can cut an imposing figure.
Michael Sheen as Coll: Sheen has burst on the scene recently with two significant roles, first as Tony Blair in The Queen, then as David Frost in Frost/Nixon. For fans of non-thinking entertainment, he also had major roles in the two Underworld films. Coll is a simple farmer with a hidden heroic past who serves as a more hands-on mentor to Taran. Only thing is, Coll is bald as a cue ball, so Sheen is going to have to break out the razor!
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Achren: one of the two main female roles in the series, Achren is a former queen of Prydain, now deposed and with a serious mean streak. Maybe no other character goes through as radical a change in their persona during the course of the saga as she seeks revenge against the traitor who overthrew her. The first book describes her as a raven-haired beauty and not too many 40-something actresses fit the bill quite like her.

Rhys Ifans as Fflewddur Fflam: the bard, one of Taran's two chief companions during his adventures, is long and lanky with wild golden hair, a good-hearted goofball of sorts. With slightly yellower hair and better hygeine than his character in Notting Hill, I can definitely see Ifans in this role.

Now, it's far easier looking for accomplished Welsh adult actors for these and other critical roles than it is for the lead positions of Taran and Eilonwy. With the five above and others I've pictured in some of the other slots, it's simple enough watching them in other big roles and know that they've got the chops to pull it off. But as this is a coming-of-age tale in some regards, the two lead characters are probably in the 15 year old range as I see it. Not being Welsh, I probably wouldn't consider Cayden Boyd (Taran) or Adair Tishler (Eilonwy), but they do have the general look that I'm searching for to fill those two critical roles.










Tomorrow: part 4, the final installment of the impossible dream.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

TO ELABORATE ON MY PREVIOUS POST...

I want movies to be made based on the books in the Chronicles of Prydain. But unlike the abomination of an animated flick that came out in 1985, I would also like to see them as faithful to the source material as possible. To achieve the level of authenticity that does the series justice, I think there are three factors. One, as mentioned, is to stick to story that's already there.
The other two factors I'll break up into two posts. But first, a little backstory. The author of the Prydain series, Lloyd Alexander, was inspired by two things when creating this universe. One was the legend of King Arthur, specifically some of the minor characters who he borrowed and then created new identities for. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, was the time that he spent in Wales during World War II. By all accounts, he fell in love with the mythology of the place, the language, and especially the beauty. While Prydain wasn't simply Wales with different names ascribed, there's no doubt that the country was his inspiration.
That said, the movie should be filmed entirely on location in Wales. The rich descriptions that Alexander provided for his readers, be it the underworld of the Fair Folk, the majestic river Avren, the foreboding Marshes of Morva, and the dazzling stronghold of Caer Dathyl, all have their basis of his beloved Wales. However, nowhere have I been able to find where Alexander makes direct correlations between actual locations on the Isle vs. places in the books.
But I do have my own visions in my head of what Prydain looks like, along with the inclination to research Wales and wade through hundreds of photographs and descriptions. Some of the notable places that jump out of me as good shooting locations to fit into the story include:
Swallow Falls, ideal for the spot where Ellidyr steals the Black Cauldron from the companions as it it lodged in rough waters late in the second book.





Castell Coch, perfect for Spiral Castle, a pivotal stronghold in The Book of Three.




Beaumaris Castle, a potential stand-in for Caer Dathyl, the home of Prydain's High King.


Fairy Glen, brings to mind the spot of crucial death and turn in the series.







The mountains at Snowden, which could double as any of a number of notable locations, but for some reason I see it fitting best in the final story.


Gwrych Castle, maybe Annuvin (with some serious CGI to strip the folliage off the mountain behind it) or perhaps Smoit's Cantrev Cadiffor.



These are just a few of the places that I have in mind if/when this dream comes to fruition. Tomorrow, which actors to put in these locations to make it all come to life.

Monday, August 03, 2009

IN WHICH OUR HERO LAYS OUT HIS PLANS TO MAKE A FORTUNE

Star Wars. Harry Potter. To a lesser extent, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tales on the big screen in which a young hero comes of age and defeats overwhelming evil with the help of a loyal band of companions. Simple premise and a time-honored tradition in story-telling that, oh, by the way, has resulted in ticket sales between those franchises of around $12.3 billion.

And as each of these film series became more and more of a cultural phenomena, it made me scratch my head in confusion that the Chronicles of Prydain was never given the same treatment. Five children's books with critical acclaim (including Newbery Honor and Newbery Medal winners), a story structure similar to proven winners...what gives?

Sure, Disney gave it a half-hearted go back in the mid-80's, doing an awful mash-up of the first two entries in the series, deleting out some key characters and making up a few new ones, changing the overall storyline and generally making it unrecognizable from the books. What they got for their laughable effort was a flick that barely recouped 40% of the cost to make it.

There's a way to make this work and stand out, but it would take an imaginative plan. And I'm just the fella to make those recommendations. More posts to come on this subject...

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

IT'S A SIMPLE QUESTION...OR IS IT?

While feeding the kiddo yesterday I had the XM 80's station pulled up on our DirecTV. Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie" came on and I made the comment at what a distinctive opening the song had. By opening, I meant from the first note through the first line of the first verse. Sheer synthesizer brilliance with a rare kill of the music leading directly into his acapella vocals. This immediately led to a conversation about what the best musical intro of all-time is.

Folks, it's definitely not a clear-cut answer. I pulled up my iTunes playlist of the top 500 songs ever as determined by Rolling Stone and quickly scrolled through the classics. No fewer than 169 struck me as fairly remarkable. Clearly this list need to be cut down. A second run-through of that smaller selection yielded 52 potentials.

It's not a comprehensive list, because I only worked off that Rolling Stone list. How could it be, when there was no Van Halen included in my list of finalists? "Running With The Devil," "You Really Got Me," "Ain't Talkin' About Love," "Dreams," "Right Now," "Jump," "Panama," "I'll Wait"...there might be no group better at grabbing you by the throat and pulling you in right off the bat.

No Def Leppard either. Consider the intros on these hits: "Bringin' On The Heartache," "Pour Some Sugar On Me," "Hysteria," "Photograph."

But if we're looking at the best intros to the best songs, how do you decide from a list that includes:

Satisfaction...Johnny B. Goode...Smells Like Teen Spirit...London Calling...Purple Haze...Born To Run...Layla...Stairway To Heaven...Gimmie Shelter...All Along The Watchtower...Hotel California...When Doves Cry...Superstition...Whole Lotta Love...I Heard It Through The Grapevine...Every Breath You Take...Brown Eyed Girl...I Want You Back...Won't Get Fooled Again...While My Guitar Gently Weeps...Kashmir...Foxey Lady...Let's Get It On...Dream On...Back In Black...Sweet Child O' Mine...Good Times...Sunday Bloody Sunday...Walk This Way...One Way Or Another...Iron Man...Heartbreaker...We Will Rock You...Spirit In The Sky...Beat It...Baba O'Reilly...Pride (In The Name Of Love)...Bitter Sweet Symphony...Ohio...Roxanne...(Don't Fear) The Reaper...Sweet Home Alabama...Sweet Emotion...The Boys Of Summer...Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang...Piano Man...Smoke On The Water...Paradise City...Welcome To The Jungle...Eighteen...I Love Rock 'N' Roll...How Soon Is Now?

Can't be done, folks. If I had to only pick a half-dozen for myself, it would probably have to be London Calling, Born To Run, Layla, Superstition, Pride (In The Name Of Love), and Paradise City (no particular order).

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Friday, April 03, 2009

WITH THE FINAL FOUR UPON US...

For as big a basketball fan as I used to be, I spend precious little time watching games on television anymore. My suspicion is that since I'm a college basketball coach, I'm so immersed in it as my job that I can't enjoy it as a fan so much anymore. My guess is that if I were a teacher, at the end of an eight hour day with the students, the last thing I'd be interested in doing is going and watching a professor teach an evening class for a couple of hours as a way to unwind. Same principle.

From 1985 to 1994, however, I was as big a junkie as there was out there. I bought a half-dozen preseason magazines each year, memorized all the teams and players throughout the nation, knew about all the upcoming prospective recruits to the elite teams, watched ballgames religiously...in other words, a freak. Maybe it was the downturn in the fortunes of my favorite teams (Indiana and Louisville), potentially the start of my own coaching career, who knows, but at best I evolved into a casual observer and nothing more.

But it was a great time to watch, with the NCAA Tournament being the best weekend of all. And so, the ten best games that I witnessed over the years, the intensity of which I hope will be matched this week:

Louisville vs. Duke (1986 championship)
Indiana vs. Syracuse (1987 championship)
Kansas vs. Oklahoma (1988 championship)
Michigan vs. Illinois (1989 semifinal)
Duke vs. UNLV (1991 semifinal)
Duke vs. Indiana (1992 semifinal)
North Carolina vs. Michigan (1993 championship)
UCLA vs. Arkansas (1995 championship)
Arizona vs. Kentucky (1997 championship)
Connecticut vs. Duke (1999 championship)

The best tournament, overall, that I saw was in 1990, even though it ended in a terribly anticlimatic way with three Final Four games decided by average margins of 17.7 points (including a brutal beatdown of Duke by UNLV in the championship). But of the 60 games during the first four rounds of the tournament, 29 were decided by four points or less. I'm fairly certain that I didn't miss a single minute of action on Thursday or Friday that year...which was an interesting trick because I was a sophomore in high school and had to try to find a television at NAHS to watch the games from 12:00 to 2:35.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

DARK SIDE OF THE RAINBOW? THE WIZARD OF PINK FLOYD?

It was winter term my freshman year at Franklin College. Just another uneventful night of sitting around with my fraternity brothers while watching basketball games in the upstairs chapter room. Then one of the guys came up the stairs with copies of The Wizard Of Oz in one hand and Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon in the other.

I suspect it was Jason Scheele who was the culprit, if I had to use deductive reasoning. He's the only one off the top of my head that I know was from the Ft. Wayne area. That fall, there was an article in one of the newspapers up there that was the first on record to detail the phenomenon I'm about to describe. I had not read the article so I had no idea what was going on when the CD was cued up and they pressed play when the MGM lion roared for the third time.

Now I must preface this by saying that the comsumption of five or six beers (none for me, thank you, but well beyond that for some of my fellow Tekes) has a great way of making you more susceptible, more receptive to seeing things that may or may not have happened over the following hour. But even in my stone-cold sober state, there were a number of things during "Dark Side Of The Rainbow" that flipped my lid.

There are over a hundred documented places where you can see eerie things when the movie and music are synched up, most of which fall into two main categories. One is that the lyrics of the song seem to be describing events taking place on the screen. The other is places that the mood or tempo of the music provide an impressive soundtrack for the movie. In particular, there were a handful that, when seen in the context of the first run-through of the CD, were pretty mind-blowing.

The best symbolically is when the house lands in Oz and Dorothy is making her way to the door to see what's outside. The soundtrack falls silent as she tentatively walks to the door, then as she steps off the front porch (and the film transitions from black and white to color) the familiar slot machine sound of "Money" kicks in.

The eeriest for me is the intensity of the shrieking of the female singer in "The Great Gig In The Sky" as the storm picks up and the tornado starts sweeping onto the farm, then fades off as Dorothy rolls over onto the bed after being knocked out (this leads into the scene mentioned in the paragraph above).

The most jarring comes with the Wicked Witch makes her first appearance (while still in Kansas), riding along the dirt road on her bicycle as she comes to the farm to take Toto away.

One of the more subtle coincidences comes as the album ends for the first time, with the rhythmic sound approximating a heartbeat while the gang are meeting the Tin Man ("if I only had a heart") for the first time.

Taken out of context, these clips probably seem rather random. Which watched in the flow of the movie and album, it's well worth taking a few hours out of your busy schedule. BTW...if you set your CD to repeat, you can make it all the way through the movie and see more incidents. Personally, I think one time through the CD gives you a good enough idea.

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II'M TERRIBLY PROUD OF MYSELF

"Hi...I'm Brian Sullivan...and I'm a junkfood-aholic."

"Hi Brian."

My New Year's resolution for 2009, in conjunction with a contest at work, was to cut out the garbage in my diet. I couldn't see, given what truly was an addiction for me, the chances for success, but decided to give it a shot. And so on the day that our contest started (January 7), I resolved to make two changes to my lifestyle. One was to cut out my fast food intake. I defined that as McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Second was to cut out carbonated beverages, specifically Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Mountain Dew. I gave it a week before the shakes and headaches and other withdrawal symptoms became too much for me.

However, I'm happy to report that for 82 days, I was able to successfully withstand the temptation of those four dining establishments and the soft drinks that I used to gleefully guzzle. The end result as March 31 arrived to herald the end of our weight-loss contest was a drop from 209.4 to 198.8 pounds.

I'm sure it could have been more, if not for two factors. One, while I made necessary cuts to my diet, I will not presume to claim that I was on a total health food kick. There were at least a half-dozen trips to the nearby ice cream shoppe for M&M Cyclones. On at least four occasions we were lazy and wound up picking up a pizza for dinner. Leftover candy from Christmas, then Valentine's Day, along with goodies from a handful of birthdays also conspired against me. Secondly, this weight loss came almost solely from cutting out the fast food and soft drinks but without the benefit of much exercise. I was probably on the treadmill in the garage four times and ran another half-dozen times along with several walks out with Katie in the stroller.

My weight actually did drop as low as 193 during the process before it settled right around the final number. But after what I'm sure is going to be a week of weakness (I'm heading out to St. Louis for the women's Final Four and I'm sure will be too cheap and hurried to do anything other than quickie meals), I plan to get right back on the horse and be even more stringent, as well as amp up the exercise. My goal by my birthday is to be down to about 180.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

ASHLEE SIMPSON NEED NOT APPLY

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a tremendous fan of of the live stuff musically. Oh sure, I'll take in the occasional concert, and some of them have been quite good. But the stuff I fall in love with, the songs I listen to over and over, they're by and large the originals. If I see a video of a live performance, or hear one on the radio, it's usually time for me to channel-surf. Precious few ever make it into my iPod collection.

That's not to say that there aren't some, though, that blow me away.

For example, MTV went through that stretch in the 90's where artists were coming on and doing their "unplugged" sets. The most famous of these was the dramatic slowing-down of "Layla" by Eric Clapton. Far more interesting to me, however, was what would happen if a rapper came on without a DJ, with no sampling, but rather with an actual band behind them. A little eye candy for the ladies here with a bare-chested LL Cool J ripping off an impressive version of "Mama Said Knock You Out."

You can't really go wrong with Bono in anything live. It's not for nothing that U2 is arguably the greatest concert band of all-time. Here he steps out for a duet with The Corrs. If it weren't for the applause, I don't think I'd every know this was a live show, as polished as "When The Stars Go Blue" sounds.

I don't know if anything could have lived up to the advance hype, and this one probably fell a little short, but you've got to give Eminem and Elton John credit for giving it a shot.

So many good versions of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," but this one definitely stands out. I've posted it on here before, and as before, be warned that there is salty language during Bono's mid-song rant. All I can say is wow. Very different feel to it without the drums and bass guitar during the first half of the set.

Same with "Where The Streets Have No Name." Perhaps I'm partial to this version because this was from the tour that I finally got to see these guys in concert. No other song has given me goosebumps like this one live, although "Roxanne" and "Let's Go Crazy" came close.

For flat-out blowing my mind with the power and sincerity behind the vocals, it's got to be Whitney Houston singing at the 1989 Grammy Awards. That crowd is waiting to explode by the time she wraps things up. Ah, Whitney, we hardly knew thee...

And yet, I'm not so sure that I don't get a bigger charge out of another Grammy performance from nine years earlier. Back in college, I got dragged (almost literally kicking and screaming) to a Neil Diamond concert down in Evansville. Surprisingly to me, I actually wound up enjoyed it. I put U2, The Police, and Prince on one level of best concerts I've been to, but this would occupy the next tier...I even willingly saw him a second time in Indy. Evidently this duet with Barbra Streisand was a surprise at the award show. I've read that Barbra hated doing live songs at these types of events, but the chemistry between the two bursts off the screen. He may be goofy looking, but the man is a pimp.

But as far as duets go, this next one crackled with real and sincere energy. Any music fan knows the drama that surrounded the making of the album "Rumours." As highly regarded as the album is, there are still two or three songs I would happily leave off to make room for "Silver Springs," which wound up being left off the album and relegated to B-side status (paired with "Go Your Own Way). The irony is that this is very much Stevie Nicks' take of her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham, the same story that "Go Your Own Way" told but from her perspective. After Buckingham's soulful guitar solo at the bridge, you can see the blazing intensity on Stevie's face as she practically shouts the lyrics while intently staring him down. I can't imagine him having to sing support of the 1977 version of "You Outta Know" knowing it was directed at him. My only complaint is the biggest overacting by a drummer this side of Stewart Copeland.

In the end though, there's never been a more electrifying showman on stage than Freddie Mercury. I'd long heard about Queen and U2 being the highlights of 1985's Live Aid. About four years back, I broke down and bought the four disc DVD package (which sadly doesn't included Led Zeppelin's reunion set). Most groups did one or two songs, and some of the biggies were able to do three songs. Queen wound up doing six songs. If you haven't seen their whole run, do yourself a favor. Hey, he's not good looking. His dancing is campy and far from choreographed. But there's never been a singer who made the kind of connection with the crowd...not Jagger, not even Bono. Stick all the way through "Radio Ga-Ga" and watch the final minute of this clip. I'd have given anything to be at Wembley Stadium just for that!

Anything I'm clearly leaving out?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

IT'S MY OBSESSION

I decided a long time ago that every person needed at least one hobby in life, something to occupy spare moments, something to pursue, something to give you a break from the hustle and bustle of the real world. My dad being in the radio profession, I grew up with what I considered to be a healthy appreciation for all types of music. So around my sophomore year in high school, I began making mix tapes and trying to put together the definitive collection of 80's music.

That soon transitioned to CD's, which were a lot more expensive but also sounded better. And I expanded my trove to all popular music starting in 1955 (the birth of the rock era)...anything that had cracked the Top 40. It was a sizeable collection, filling almost three full CD cases with upwards of 300 discs. And life was good.

Then came two big jumps forward. Records Research started putting out a book which listed not just the Top 40 hits off all-time, but expanded it to any song that made the Top 100. The newest edition also includes classic cuts, songs that have entered the public consciousness but never were released as singles ("Stairway To Heaven" being the most obvious example).

The second was the advent of the iPod and iTunes. Holy crap. As someone e-mailed me, iTunes for me "is like a heroin addict having a poppy field in the backyard." What was a harmless hobby turned into a full-blown obsession.

There aren't many criteria for what I collect. If it has charted in the Top 100 between the start of 1955 and on through today, I'm game. If it's one of those classic cuts that you hear on the radio but was never released, I'm on it. In many cases, if it was a B-side that was released with the bigger A-side, I'll include it.

Additionally, if an album was listed in Rolling Stone's most recent countdown of the 500 greatest albums of all-time, I'll upload the entire album. Finally, I'm looking to have every album and every cut for the following artists: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2, Prince, John Mellencamp, The Police, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Run DMC, and Oingo Boingo (just kidding). I'm debating whether to put Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder in that list.

If you're interested in seeing what I've got at my disposal, you can check these two spreadsheets:

Brian's obsession, part 1
Brian's obsession, the next 5000 songs

If anyone cares to help me add to this growing illness of mine, I'd be happy to send off blank CDs for you to burn songs for me and make your own contributions!

Monday, May 05, 2008

AND NOW SOME RANDOM MUSIC TRIVIA

And I mean random...I just added the song "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do" by Aretha Franklin to my iPod collection. As I went to my book to mark it off, here's the liner note below it:

Aretha was the first artist to have a hit at each peak position from #1-10 (the others were Marvin Gaye and Madonna).

In case you're wondering what those ten songs were...

#1 - Respect (debuted on charts 4/29/67)
#2 - Chain Of Fools (12/9/67)
#3 - Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do) (11/24/73)
#4 - Baby I Love You (7/22/67)
#5 - (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone (3/2/68)
#6 - The House That Jack Built (8/17/68)
#7 - Think (5/18/68)
#8 - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (9/30/67)
#9 - I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (3/4/67)
#10 - I Say A Little Prayer (8/17/68)

Hey, for good measure:

#11 - Don't Play That Song (8/8/70)

Other random little know music facts:

Minor 1980's group New Order was originally the influential late 70's band Joy Division. When lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980, the band found a new lead singer and had their greatest commercial success under a different name.

The actor who played Johnny Fontane in the Godfather series was an actual singer, Al Martino. He had eleven Top 40 hits and ranks as the 138th most successful artist in Billboard history, ahead of Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, Van Halen, John Lennon, The Righteous Brothers, Beyonce, Al Green, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and a host of other notables.

Dan Aykroyd was a backup vocalist for USA For Africa on their "We Are The World" track, presumably because of his time with the Blues Brothers.

David Lee Roth is from Bloomington, Axl Rose in Lafayette. Henry Lee Summer was from Brazil, but a special nod goes to LaPorte's Rich Hardesty. Sorry, no link for Hardesty, because my favorite song of his breaks every obscenity law there should be on this site.

Jerome Geils wasn't the lead singer of his band (that was Peter Wolf). Mike Rutherford of Mike + The Mechanics wasn't the lead singer (that was Paul Carrack). Robert "Kool" Bell wasn't the lead singer of Kool & The Gang (that was James "J.T." Taylor). However, Harry Wayne Casey, better known as KC, was the lead singer of the Sunshine Band.

Now you know...