Monthly Archives: June 2013

The beautiful, lovely, terrific and talented Ms. Rita Moreno!..

…as Kermit The Frog once said.

What a woman! She’s 81, and if there’s anyone you’d love to have more than 15 minutes with which to spend, it’s the only Hispanic ever to win the grand slam of entertainment; an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. One of those Emmys was for Ms. Moreno’s performance on The Muppet Show above, and I was thrilled that she wanted to talk about that since that was my first memory of her. It’s a memory I get to relive over and again, and again some more, since my daughters love the Muppet Show DVDs.

Gee, what else has Rita Moreno accomplished? Well, for someone raised in Puerto Rico until coming to New York at age 5 and who learned dancing from one of the famous Dancing Cansinos – from which another Hollywood legend would come, just a smidge. She went from having a bit part as a 17-year-old in one of the most perfect movies ever made, Singin’ In The Rain, to winning an Academy Award for West Side Story nine years later.

Ms. Moreno avoided Hollywood for much of the decade after her Oscar because she didn’t want to be typecast as the fiery Latina. Then, there was a little public television show in the early 1970’s.

There were also those dalliances with Marlon Brando and Elvis, but all that’s in Ms. Moreno’s bestselling memoir.

She is talking about taking her recent one-woman show on tour, but Ms. Moreno says she doesn’t want to miss out on spending time with her grandchildren, too. Thankfully, we will get to host one of the best entertainers of all time this weekend, June 28-29, as Ms. Moreno will be inducted into the Great American Songbook Initiative Hall of Fame.

I hope you enjoy my talk with her. I sure as heck did.


Steve Austin: More than just Stone Cold

Holy cow! Steve Austin!

I only have vague memories of Stunning Steve Austin from the final days that World Class Championship Wrestling was available on cable in Trenton, GA around 1990 or so. Where I became a Steve Austin fan was a few years later, when he and the late Brian Pillman formed one of the most entertaining tag teams of the 1990’s, The Hollywood Blonds, in WCW. Man, they were hilarious – “rolling film” as they were whipping Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas, or whomever they were whipping at the time.

Fast forward a few years to WWF’s King Of The Ring, 1996. Every jabroni in the world will tell you “I knew Steve was going to be huge when he delivered that ‘Austin 3:16′ line.” Bullsnot. As legend has it, Steve wasn’t even supposed to win King Of The Ring; Triple-H was, but Hunter was punished for his role in ‘The Madison Square Garden Kliq incident.’ Yes, Austin 3:16 was one of the greatest promo lines in the history of pro wrestling, but Steve worked his arse off both before and after delivering the goods to “Dok Hendrix” that night. That work, plus a little luck and most fans deciding they loved cheering for the bad guy led to the greatest run in the history of Vince McMahon’s company.

It’s hard to believe Steve’s run as the top wrestler in the world lasted only seven years – less than that if you consider the time he had to take off for major injuries. Such is the life of a pro wrestler, especially when a botch almost leaves you paralyzed and you still find a way back inside the squared circle (BTW, it’s awesome to hear people like Steve use the term “squared circle.” I learned the phrase from one of the men who made me want to be a broadcaster, Gordon Solie, in 1978).

People who don’t know better are constantly asking Steve and other retired wrestlers “when are you coming back,” or “how about one more match?” Dad gum, folks, did Steve and the other boys give their all for you already, and then some? While I would no doubt like to see this match, it’s okay if it never happens. Steve has proven there is a hell of a life to be lived after wrestling.

He’s been part of several action movies – are they B-movies? You got a problem with B-movies? People who do A-movies can’t do B-movies. Anyway, Steve is in Grown Ups 2 this summer, which is a smidge of a different role. But more his speed is his show on CMT, Redneck Island, which is in the midst of its 3rd season. Is it just me, or do they do confessions in an outhouse? Ah, home.

Eight minutes isn’t nearly enough to talk to Steve, but it sure was fun having a go at it. Don’t forget to listen to the Steve Austin Show, a great, great podcast.

Time For Three: You really, really need to see them

How to describe Time For Three?  No sweat.  All you do is take what is, ostensibly, a classical string trio, toss in some current pop hits, add a little jazz frontin’, shake in some Charlie Daniels, a dash of Ray Brown, a pinch of Roy Acuff, and as little of the Philadelphia Phillies (ew!) as you can get away with.  Nah, that’s still not enough.  You just have to see them for yourself.

You can do so tonight, tomorrow or Saturday as Nick Kendall, Zach DePue and Ranaan Meyer play a pops show with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. They’re doing a mashup of Bach and Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing.” Well, actually it’s Louis Prima’s composition, but you knew that, right?

If Ranaan plays the Gene Krupa part, I will eat my hat.

In this interview, the boys and I talk about the show, their most recent show where they performed a piece commissioned from composer William Bolcom that knocked everyone’s socks off (at least those who did walk out, their noses firmly pointed toward the ozone). We also touch on a topic of utmost importance in today’s world – getting snockered.

What to expect from iOS7? Ball State’s Jonathan Huer at WWDC

The new operating system for iPhone and iPad comes out in the fall. But some folks attending Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco get to use it now, then let Apple know what works and what doesn’t.

One of those getting a test drive is Jonathan Huer, Director of Emerging Technologies and Media Development at Ball State University. If you like old school icons, Huer tells us you might be disappointed in the new operating system. Those icons are gone because, well, they were old.

Huer also compares and contrasts between iOS7 and the current offering from Android – no, it isn’t like comparing ice cream to horse manure (hat tip Bobby Heenan), or vice versa depending on your taste.

Buzz Aldrin. Wow!

Despite our typical tossing of the term around as if it is toilet paper and we are on a Halloween tree binge, there aren’t too many actual heroes in the world, at least relative to the general population. Buzz Aldrin is one of those heroes, and not only because he knocked the dog whacky out of that guy who dared to tell Mr. Aldrin that he kayfabed his trip to the moon.

Mr. Aldrin – who had his first name legally changed to Buzz many years ago – was more than the second man on the moon. He was a fighter pilot during the Korean War, and I’m glad I asked him about his wartime service. He deflected attention from his own service and instead talked about the need to help service members battle post-traumatic stress syndrome, as appropriate topic given the high suicide rate among our fighting men and women.

Mr. Aldrin’s latest book is Mission To Mars. He lays out an ambitious plan for the U.S. to lead the way toward the colonization of Mars by 2035. Impossible? Only to members of Congress and the establishment who lack the testicular fortitude to do anything other than to call talk shows and criticize the opposing political party for whatever the crisis of the day may be.

Former governor Mitch Daniels currently chairs a national commission studying the future of human space travel. I hope Mr. Aldrin gets a few minutes of his time.

Jamie Deen – Home For Dinner

One of the best things about living in Savannah, Georgia was being fortunate to have gotten to know the Deen family. Much could be written about the undercurrent of dislike for the Deens in Savannah, which no one has been able to explain to me.

I take that back. Michael Groover, Paula’s husband, had the perfect explanation the last time I saw him before we moved north to Indy. “Jealousy,” he said. That plus a few harbor-docking pilot-style expletives.

The Deens have been nothing but good people, as far as some of us have seen. I’m pretty certain the SAFE Shelter for domestic violence victims, Savannah’s America’s Second Harvest food bank and more than a few other charities would agree. Any time I have the chance to talk about the good work of the Deen family, I will take it.

Please check out Jamie’s show, as it is excellent. He and I got to talk about it on WIBC recently.

Jim Gaffigan: Dad Is Fat

Every time I told someone I was talking to Jim Gaffigan, every person – all of them – said the exact same thing. “Hey, he’s funny. Hot Pockets!” Jim Gaffigan turns everyone into a Stepford wife, at least at the WIBC studio.

This book is funny, and is especially relatable if you are a parent of a child ten or younger. I only have two as opposed to Jim’s five – he must have a better… um, well, Jim could borrow this theme song;

Jim is a native Hoosier, too, originally from Chesterton, Indiana. You can meet him this coming Thursday, June 13, when he holds a book signing at the Barnes & Noble on Hwy 31 North in Carmel. It’s always a lot of fun to talk to this guy.