Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bouquets, Brickbats, and Other Observations

Cleaning out the Mental In-Box.....

Saw the current Pittsburgh Public Theater's production of "Daddy Long Legs" on Sunday evening.  It might have been one of the very best shows we have ever seen at the PPT, and we have been attending productions there since the 1980's.

The show starred Danielle Bowen and Allan Snyder, both of whom were making their first appearance at the PPT.  One can only hope that they will be appearing there in many future productions.


Speaking of the PPT, it was announced a few weeks back that Managing Director Ted Pappas would be leaving that position at the end of the 2018 season.  Apparently, it was Pappas' decision to move on, and one can only wish him the best.  In his eighteen years in that position, he has made the PPT one of the true gems in the Pittsburgh cultural scene.  Good luck to the person that the PPT brings in to replace him.  He or she will have some HUGE shoes to fill.


"Feud: Bette and Jane" continues to be one of the most entertaining series on TV.  The scene on last Sunday's show wherein Joan Crawford, played by Jessica Lange, fires her William Morris Agency agents in one of the great scenes with one of the best lines ever delivered on series television, was an absolute classic.  

If you missed it, go to FX Network On Demand and click on Episode 4 of the series.  The scene I am talking about takes place in the first five minutes of the show - you'll know it when you hear it, believe me - so you won't have to invest a lot of time into it if you are not so inclined.

And while we are talking about TV series on FX, we are now three episodes into Season Four of "The Americans".  So far, I'm disappointed, and I fear that unless things pick up quickly, we could be talking shark-jumping for what has been a really good series for the first three seasons.

What was becoming a major embarrassment came to end last night when Duquesne University announced that Kevin Dambrot, late of Akron University, had accepted the position of Head Basketball Coach for the Dukes.  Apparently, Dambrot had originally turned down the job, and then so did everyone else the University approached about the job.  So, they went back to Dambrot and upped the ante considerably (seven years / $7 million), and he said yes.

For those of us who came of age when Duquesne was THE college basketball team in the city, and those of us who did are now all in our sixties and older now, we can only hope that, finally, things may turn around on The Bluff, and that Dukes basketball can be relevant once again.

So, the NFL lodge brothers approve the relocation of the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas by a note of 31-1. The Raiders then say that the actual move won't take place until 2019 or 2020, and that, by the way, the lame duck team will be raising ticket prices for the chumps in Oakland to attend their games.

(Oakland and the State of California would not cough up any public funds for a new stadium for the Raiders.  Vegas and Nevada is forking over $750 million of their residents' tax payments.  Just the way the NFL and other pro leagues like it.)

Mike Wilbon is right: the arrogance and greed of the NFL owners knows no bounds, and the sad part is that those suckers in Oakland will no doubt continue to pony up for tickets when it would serve the Raiders right to play in front of empty houses for their remaining years in the Bay area.

Has anything been more annoying than the  prominent role being sought out and granted to Lavar Ball, the father of UCLA basketball player Alonzo Ball, and two other hoops' prodigies.  The fact that the Bruins went down to Kentucky in the regional semis last week may have ruined a lot of peoples' bracket pools, but it spared the nation - for now, anyway - any further exposure to Lavar Ball.  By the way, Ball may well be the #1 pick in the NBA draft this summer, but in that game against Kentucky, he wasn't even the second best guard on the floor. Both of those kids from Kentucky were better, for that night at least.

I missed the Kentucky - North Carolina game on Sunday, but was somewhat surprised at the outcome.  I thought that Kentucky was the best team that I had seen play throughout the tournament up to that point.  Not completely surprised, though, because, after all, North Carolina IS North Carolina.

For what it's worth, I'm calling North Carolina to beat Gonzaga for the Championship come Monday night.  As always, watch but don't bet.  And for the record, the bracket pool that I submitted at the outset of the tournament had UCLA over Arizona in that game.  

Shows you what I know.


As for the movie scene, last week I pulled to favorites out of the DVD basket here at home, both from director and screenwriter Lawrence Kasden.  From 1981...

and from 1983...

I hadn't watched either one in several years, and both hold up well after all these years and are still terrific movies to watch.

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