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Friday random ten: Ladies’ night, part 22

Happy Leftovers Day, y’all.

1. Hotel Pool – Lily & Madeleine
2. Womanizer – Lily Allen
3. Hypnotized – Linda Jones
4. Tumbling Dice – Linda Rondstadt
5. 1917 – Linda Rondstadt and Emmylou Harris
6. Funkytown – Lipps Inc. (Cynthia Johnson)
7. Jenny Jenkins – Lisa Loeb
8. Boy Boy – Lissie Trullie
9. Let’s Turkey Trot – Little Eva
10. Time Warp – Little Nell, Patricia Quinn & Richard O’Brien

The inclusion of Little Eva’s “Let’s Turkey Trot” is just one of those odd things that happens with these lists. “Time Warp” is of course from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I recorded but (I confess) never watched the recent live RHPS production, though the girls and I enjoyed the Ivy Levan rendition of “Science Fiction Double Feature”. I have high hopes for the forthcoming live production of Hairspray, though. “Tumbling Dice” is from Linda Rondstadt’s underrated career as a solo rocker, and also from the killer classic rock soundtrack to the movie FM. I know nothing of the movie but once had the soundtrack on cassette, taped from a roommate’s LP. That should tell you all you need to know about my opinion of the relative merits of the two.

Friday random ten: Ladies’ night, part 21

I took last week off from my two regularly scheduled music-themed posts because I just didn’t have it in me. They’re back this week, not because I feel better per se, but because there’s comfort to be found in both the music and in the habit of experiencing it. So here we go again.

1. Self Control – Laura Branigan
2. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching – Laura Marano
3. Cluck Old Hen – Laura Veirs
4. Four Words – Lauren Anatolia
5. Astrodome – Leah White and the Magic Mirrors
6. Break It To Me Gently – Brenda Lee
7. Steal My Sunshine – Len (Sharon Costanzo)
8. Love Letters – Ketty Lester
9. Hello Stranger – Barbara Lewis
10. I Know Things Now – Lilla Crawford

Ketty Lester went on to play Hester-Sue Terhune on the TV show Little House on the Prairie, which I watched on occasion but was never really into as a kid. I have no idea who that character was, but I always enjoy stumbling across trivia tidbits like that while checking to verify that a given artist is in fact female as I suspect from the name. I read some of one of the Little House books to Olivia when she was younger, but neither of us was into it any more than I was into the TV show in the 70s. Austin and Ally, the latter of whom was portrayed by Laura Marano, and the movie version of Into the Woods, in which Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood character sang that song, were more her speed.

Saturday video break: Mighty Mouse

Did you watch “Mighty Mouse” cartoons when you were a kid? If you did, and you’re around my age, you probably remember this opening sequence and theme song:

And if you are around my age, you may not have realized that there was a “New Adventures of Mighty Mouse”, and it had a different theme song:

I do prefer the first one, as it is what I grew up with and all. But the second one is a fine homage to it. Which one is your choice?

Friday random ten: Ladies’ night, part 12

Feels appropriate to have a Donna Summer song in this first post-Labor Day post. Summer may be psychologically over, but Donna Summer is forever.

1. Mad About The Boy – Dinah Washington
2. I Touch Myself – Divinyls (Chrissy Amphlett)
3. Travelin’ Soldier – Dixie Chicks
4. Take You Home – Dominique Star
5. Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
6. Fall Behind Me – The Donnas
7. Better In Stereo – Dove Cameron
8. Kringles – Dressy Bessy (Tammy Ealom)
9. Just A Little Lovin’ – Dusty Springfield
10. Continents Of Time – Eddie From Ohio (Julie Murphy Wells)

“Better in Stereo” is the theme song to the Disney Channel show (Liv and Maddie)that stars Dove Cameron in a dual role as a set of twins. The actor who plays her boyfriend in the show, Ryan McCartan, plays the boyfriend of one of the twins on the show and is also cast as Brad in the forthcoming live-TV rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, starring Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank N. Furter. I actually think Dove Cameron would make for a fine Little Nell in that production, but no one asked me. Or maybe it could be that she’s already playing Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray Live! and couldn’t be in two places at once. You decide.

Rick Perry will join “Dancing With The Stars”

Make your own Tom DeLay joke. Mine is in the embedded image.

Who are YOU to judge me?

Rick Perry’s spirit animal

Former Gov. Rick Perry is joining the new season of “Dancing With the Stars.”

Texas’ longest-serving governor will be a contestant in the 23rd season of the dance competition show, which premieres Sept. 12 on ABC. Perry will be paired with professional dancer Emma Slater, the network announced Tuesday morning.

Entertainment Tonight broke the news Monday, and in a round of media appearances shortly before the lineup announcement, Perry declined to comment on the rumors. But he did suggest that the show would help him with dancing at his daughter’s upcoming wedding and that it would be an “extraordinary platform” to draw attention to two issues he has long been passionate about: the military and veterans.

“I just hope I don’t forget my dance steps, were I to be on this program, after the third lesson,” Perry said on Fox Business News, riffing off his infamous failure to remember the third federal department he wanted to eliminate during his 2012 presidential campaign.

I will say that I think Perry is likely to be a better fit for this than Tom DeLay was, because DeLay never appeared to have any actual charm, while Perry, whatever else you may say about him (and Lord knows there’s plenty), does have some people skills as well as a discernable sense of humor. I’m just glad that my kids are into watching “American Ninja Warrior” and not DWTS, so I won’t have to watch any of it. Now if he were to become a contestant on “American Ninja Warrior”, that would impress me. Until that time, here are Perry’s competitors for this title.

The Jolanda Show

Set your DVRs.

Jolanda Jones

Jolanda Jones

The Houston school board just got a little more star power.

Jolanda Jones, the former city councilwoman who joined the board last week, is starring in a new reality show called “Sisters In Law,” set to air in March. As the cable network WE puts it, the Houston-based program follows a “close-knit group of elite high-powered black female lawyers as they juggle their families, busy careers and even more demanding social calendars.”

“The ladies may differ in their fundamental beliefs when it comes to right and wrong,” the station says on its website, “but what they have in common is their ability to win cases in a traditionally white, male-dominated profession.”

Jones broke the news on Twitter and Instagram Friday.

You can see her announcement here. I trust that Tubular will add it to their roster of shows to recap for us. There’s never a dull moment in my line of preoccupation, that’s for sure.

Friday random ten: The music of “Fargo”

I’m in kind of an in-between place in putting these together right now, so imagine my pleasant surprise to read this story of how the excellent music for Season 2 of Fargo was sourced. Even better, it has ten songs in it, with videos:

1. Children of the Sun – Billy Thorpe
2. One Hour Ahead Of The Posse – Burl Ives
3. Song of the Soul – Cris Williamson
4. The Eve Of War – Jeff Wayne
5. Yama Yama – Yamasuki
6. I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow – Blitzen Trapper
7. O Death – The Shakey Graves
8. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) – White Denim
9. Sorcerer – Junction
10. California Dreamin’ – Bobby Womack

There’s actually an 11th song in there, a cover done by showrunner Noah Hawley and the show’s composer. You can see several nods to past Coen Brothers films – getting covers of songs done in Coen movies became a part of the task that music wrangler Marguerite Phillips set for herself. I hope she turns it into a CD. Anyway, it’s a great read and a great listen, and it got me off the hook for this week. What more could I want?

Thanksgiving video break: It was like the turkeys mounted a counterattack

The greatest holiday TV episode ever. If you haven’t seen this before, you are in for a treat. And if you have seen it before, you know what I’m talking about:

I hope your Thanksgiving is better and less chaotic than that. Enjoy!

Get ready for the TV ads to begin

Keep that DVR remote handy, because you’re going to have to start fast-forwarding through Mayoral campaign ads on TV soon.

After nearly topping the July fundraising that put this year’s mayor’s race on track to be the most expensive in recent city history, City Councilman Stephen Costello led the pack to the TV airwaves in late August.

His debut ad focused on three broad policy priorities: infrastructure, public safety and city finances.

Thus far, Costello has spent more on broadcast than any candidate in the race – about $625,000 across KTRK (Channel 13), KHOU (Channel 11), KPRC (Channel 2,) KRIV (Channel 26) and KIAH (Channel 39), according to his campaign – with ads scheduled in two waves through Nov. 2. He also has been advertising on cable since July.

“We saw the opportunity now to break out early, and thanks to successful fundraising and low overhead, we’re in a position to go back up and go back up strong,” Campaign Manager Ward Curtin said.

Meanwhile, presumptive frontrunners Sylvester Turner and Adrian Garcia, who closed out the first half of the year with more than $1 million in the bank apiece, have invested about $450,000 each in broadcast TV.

A Turner ad began airing this week on the same five Houston-area channels as Costello and briefly introduces the candidate and his policy initiatives: job training, a living wage, community policing, school partnerships and filling potholes.

According to his campaign, Turner also will begin advertising on cable on Oct. 12, having spent $75,000.

Garcia has opted for a more concentrated approach, with his ads slated to run only in the final three and a half weeks before the Nov. 2 election. They will air on six Houston-area channels, including Univision and Telemundo, beginning October 10, according to Campaign Manager Mary Bell.

“The Garcia campaign is communicating to all voters, including predominantly Spanish speaking voters, and paid communication is a part of that,” Bell said, adding, “we’re not finished buying.”

[…]

Federal Communications Commission records show [Bill] King has spent nearly $20,000 for time on KHOU next week, though campaign spokesman Chris Begala said King also will be going up on three other channels.

“Our intention is to stay up on broadcast until Election Day, but it would not be a deal-killer to be off a day or three,” Begala said in an email. “We are engaged in an aggressive mail program, social media, cable and radio buy.”

King has spent nearly $300,000 on cable, beginning in May, according to his campaign.

Chris Bell also has made a nominal foray onto television, spending nearly $25,000 to run a 30-second introductory spot this week on KTRK, KHOU, KPRC and KIAH, according to his campaign.

Greg goes into much more detail on this than I could, so let me direct you to him for an in-depth analysis. For what it’s worth, so far I’ve seen a few Costello ads and maybe on Bill King ad. I’ll just add that no candidates should overestimate their name ID. Adrian Garcia, by virtue of being elected countywide twice during Presidential years is the only candidate on this ballot that can feel reasonably secure that the voters know who he is. Everyone else from the Mayorals on down needs to assume they need to introduce themselves. An awful lot of people are just now starting to pay attention, and early voting starts in three weeks. Let’s see who does what with the opportunity they have.

Siegler gets sued

Oy vey.

Kelly Siegler

Prominent former Houston prosecutor Kelly Siegler built a 20-year career out of securing convictions in tough murder cases, especially those that for years had been unsolved.

It was that reputation for tenacity and pluck that landed the local legend a starring role on “Cold Justice,” a nationally televised reality show, after she left the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in 2008.

But this week, she found herself again fighting for her reputation after an Ohio man who was acquitted earlier this year of a 1981 slaying sued Siegler, her TV show and law enforcement for defamation.

Steven Noffsinger filed suit last week because of an August 2014 broadcast in which he was accused of killing his ex-wife, Alma, more than 30 years earlier.

Noffsinger was found not guilty in May after spending nine months in jail without bail after being indicted in the Ohio slaying.

“The defendants’ collective investigations, which occurred in 2014, were an attempt to resurrect a “cold case,” and resulted in an unreasonably reckless disregard for and malicious prosecution of plaintiff in violation of the United States and Ohio Constitutions and state law,” the lawsuit states.

[…]

Across the country, at least two other people have said allegations by the show have devastated their lives.

Earlier this year in Des Moines, Iowa, Theresa Supine was found not guilty in the 1983 beating deaths of her husband and his teenage girlfriend. She was charged last year, after being targeted by the show.

Supine told the Des Moines Register in February that she was considering suing “Cold Justice.”

Last year in Tennessee, a boat repairman filed a lawsuit alleging defamation after the show televised an episode implicating him in the 2010 stabbing deaths of a woman and her 8-year-old son.

Joshua Singletary claims police and the television painted him in a false light and violated his rights, according to published accounts. Although he was charged after the crime, those charges were dropped. The case remains open.

I haven’t watched the show, and I know nothing of these cases, so I have no comment on the merits of the claims against Siegler and others associated with Cold Justice. It is a reminder that an arrest is not a resolution to a case, no matter how much fanfare there is. Be all that as it may, it sure has been a tumultuous couple of months for Kelly Siegler, hasn’t it?

Friday random ten: Parenthetically speaking, part 11

More great parentheticals coming right at you.

1. Remember (Walking In The Sand) – Aerosmith
2. Right Next Door (Because Of Me) – Robert Cray
3. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – Bruce Springsteen
4. S.I.M.P. (Squirrels In My Pants) – 2 Guys N The Parque
5. Set Me Free (Rosa Lee) – Los Lobos
6. (She’s) Sexy & 17 – Stray Cats
7. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) – Stevie Wonder
8. Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce
9. So Long Mom (A Song For World War III) – Tom Lehrer
10. Star (Of The County Down) – Enter The Haggis!

Song #4 is of course a Phineas and Ferb song. You’re not familiar with Phineas and Ferb? Maybe this will help you get acquainted:

There’s an extended version here, because of course there is. We’re big P&F fans around here. Spend an hour or so searching the Disney Channel on YouTube for Phineas and Ferb videos, it’ll be well worth your time. The rest of the songs above are pretty good, too.

Saturday video break: Boldly going forward

This past week, a life-size cutout of Captain Kirk appeared in my office. That’s as good a reason as any for this:

I love the classics, don’t you?

Saturday video break: Happy anniversary

Old school anniversary celebration:

And hey, look: A cover version!

Nothing like a rousing anniversary song, is there?

The Real Housewives of the Oilpatch

Sure, why not?

Not these housewives

A reality television show developer has traveled from California to Texas in hopes of spinning the “Real Housewives” concept into an oil field drama.

Matt Stroud, a development producer for CrashHat Entertainment, recently released a casting call for women who can show “the real American pride that goes hand-in-hand with being an oil field wife.” He said he already has received applications from 400 wives eager to share their lives on the small screen.

Stroud, who works from Santa Monica, Calif., said he was unfamiliar with the unique lives of oil field families until he was introduced to the roughneck culture during a recent visit to Texas.

“It felt very marketable in terms of what would work” for TV, he said.

Oil field jobs often require two-week shifts, with workers cycling between 14 days in the field and 14 days at home. Some wives have created a vibrant online community, with websites devoted to their lifestyles, Pinterest boards pinned with pink hard hats, and Facebook community pages where tens of thousands of wives swap advice about surviving their husbands’ long stays away from home.

Stroud said wives from across the country have sent applications, from Alaska to Pennsylvania to California.

They don’t have a network yet, but I’m kind of rooting for them. There are certainly worse things on which to base a TV show. And who knows, it might actually be educational. All I know for sure is that if this does become a thing, I request – nay, I demand – that the Chron’s Therese Odell blog about it. I mean, this was meant to be.

Aereo

From Dwight:

Aereo, which already has disrupted the television landscape in New York City, is coming soon to Houston and 21 other U.S. markets – but only if it survives legal attempts to kill it.

On Tuesday, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia announced at CES in Las Vegas that the company would embark on a major expansion of its service, which currently is only available in the Big Apple. Aereo will fuel its efforts with a $38 million financing round.

Aereo lets you receive traditional broadcast television on non-traditional devices, streaming the signals to PCs, tablets, smartphones and even Roku boxes. It works by providing each subscriber with his or her own dime-sized antenna – clustered by the thousands in arrays – which then pulls in local signals for each market. The service includes an in-the-cloud DVR so you can pause, rewind and fast-forward shows.

Aereo starts at $8 or $12 a month for a subscription, or you pay $80 a year. There’s also a $1 day pass. You can also try out Aereo, but only if you’re in New York City.

Even though it collects cash from its customers, it doesn’t pay broadcast stations a penny, and that’s caused some consternation – and, as you’d expect, legal challenges.

Here’s more on those legal challenges.

A federal judge in New York ruled in July that the service doesn’t appear to violate copyright law because individual subscribers are assigned their own, tiny antenna at Aereo’s Brooklyn data center, making it analogous to the free signal a consumer would get with a regular antenna at home. Aereo spent the subsequent months selecting markets for expansion and renting space for new equipment in those cities.

“The court decision was the green light in our perspective,” CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said in a recent interview at Aereo’s sparse offices in a former engine factory in Queens. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime to build up something meaningful to change how people access TV.”

Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. Past efforts have typically been rejected by courts as copyright violations. In Aereo’s case, the judge accepted the company’s legal reasoning, but with reluctance.

If the ruling stands, Aereo could cause a great deal of upheaval in the broadcast industry. It could give people a reason to drop cable or satellite subscriptions as monthly bills rise. It also might hinder broadcasters’ ability to sell ads because it’s not yet clear how traditional audience measures will incorporate Aereo’s viewership. In addition, it could reduce the licensing fees broadcasters collect from cable and satellite companies.

Broadcasters have appealed the July ruling. At a November hearing, appellate judges expressed skepticism about the legality of Aereo’s operations. In addition, the original judge’s ruling was preliminary, made as part of a decision to let Aereo continue operating while the lawsuits wind their way through court. Even if courts continue to side with Aereo on the legality of its setup, broadcasters still could nitpick on the details and try to argue that the antennas don’t actually operate individually as claimed.

I’d certainly call Aereo’s business model disruptive, so there’s quite a lot at stake here. For now, all you can get on Aereo is broadcast channels plus the Bloomberg Network, which reached a deal with Aereo. I’d think that if Aereo survives the challenges, or gets Congress to clarify the law in a way that accommodates what they do, it’s likely they’d make deals with other cable channels to carry them as well. It’s possible that this could lead to the kind of a la carte TV service that people have been predicting/demanding for years. Or it could get squashed and nothing will change for a decade or more. Who knows? Aereo’s press release is here, and you can pre-register for their service here. Hair Balls has more.

Saturday video break: The Charlie Brown School of Dance

Just watch:

Admit it, you always wondered what those dances were called.

RIP, Larry Hagman

Farewell, JR.

Larry Hagman

J.R. Ewing was a business cheat, faithless husband and bottomless well of corruption. Yet with his sparkling grin, Larry Hagman masterfully created the charmingly loathsome oil baron — and coaxed forth a Texas-size gusher of ratings — on television’s long-running and hugely successful nighttime soap, “Dallas.”

Although he first gained fame as nice guy Major Tony Nelson on the fluffy 1965-70 NBC comedy “I Dream of Jeannie,” Hagman earned his greatest stardom with J.R. The CBS serial drama about the Ewing family and those in their orbit aired from April 1978 to May 1991, and broke viewing records with its “Who shot J.R.?” 1980 cliffhanger that left unclear if Hagman’s character was dead.

The actor, who returned as J.R. in a new edition of “Dallas” this year, had a long history of health problems and died Friday due to complications from his battle with cancer, his family said.

“Larry was back in his beloved hometown of Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved the most. Larry’s family and closest friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday,” the family said in a statement that was provided to The Associated Press by Warner Bros., producer of the show.

The 81-year-old actor was surrounded by friends and family before he passed peacefully, “just as he’d wished for,” the statement said.

I was never into “Dallas” back in the day, though I admit that the “Who shot JR?” story line drew me in, and I watched the episode that revealed the answer like everyone else in America. It was hard to watch Larry Hagman do anything and not get the impression that he was just having more fun doing what he did than most of the rest of us. I’m sure there will be many great stories told about him in the next few days. Harold Cook, who didn’t know Hagman but knows people who did, has more, and you really owe it to yourself to read Mark Evanier’s Larry Hagman story. Rest in peace, Larry Hagman.

Saturday video break: Blueberry Hill

Song #50 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Blueberry Hill”, originally by Gene Autry and covered by Fats Domino. Here’s the original:

The things I’ve discovered doing this series. Gene Autry, who knew? It sure is different than the version we all know:

That was obviously done a few years after he recorded it, but who cares? It’s pure pleasure watching Fats Domino do his thing. But while I agree with Popdose that this is unquestionably a Fats Domino song no matter how many people have performed it, as a child of the 70s I will always primarily associate this song with someone else:

Aaaaayyyyy….

Fourth of July video break: We the People

You can tell how old someone is by whether or not they can recite the preamble to the Constitution without singing it. All together now!

Happy Fourth, y’all. I may have another video later.

Here comes NBC Sports

Comcast SportsNet Houston, which is owned by NBC Sports, is coming to downtown.

Coming to Houston

Comcast SportsNet Houston, the new regional sports network that will air Rockets games this fall and Astros games in 2013, plans to begin broadcasting in early October from its new 32,000-square-foot studio complex in the downtown Houston Pavilions, the network’s general manager said Wednesday.

The network likely will launch with the beginning of the Rockets’ preseason schedule as it assumes the local cable rights for the Rockets and Astros from Fox Sports Houston, said Matt Hutchings, who will head up the new venture.

“We are going back to our roots as a regional sports network,” Hutchings said. “We are going to cover our teams and create programming that showcases not only our pro teams but the sports that are important to our region.”

[…]

The city provided about $1 million in tax abatements and other incentives for the network, which will employ about 125 people to staff the on-air network and its website.

See here for some background and here for the city’s press release. I hope this brings a little stability to Houston Pavilions going forward. Hair Balls and Culture Map have more.

Riggle continues his crusade

Pastor Steve Riggle continues to be obsessed with gays and lesbians.

Taking advantage of his mega-church pulpit on Sunday morning, Pastor Steve Riggle of Houston’s Grace Community Church advanced his crusade against Mayor Annise Parker’s public support for same-sex marriage by urging Houston’s lesbian mayor to either stand up for traditional marriage “or do the honorable thing and step down.”

Speaking at the congregation’s 10 a.m. service, Riggle promised some 3,000 worshippers “the shortest sermon that has ever been preached in this congregation.” After reading 25 Bible versions of the Genesis account of marriage as a man “leaving his father and mother and being joined to his wife,” Riggle spent the next 50 minutes reading a letter he wrote to Parker last week, summarizing her response and then reading a new letter he has written to the mayor.

The Bible has long been used to justify all kinds of reprehensible behavior. One must also be deeply skeptical of using isolated verses to claim that certain things are required or forbidden, as President Bartlett once reminded us:

But let’s be clear, this isn’t about the Bible, it’s about politics. The Bible is merely a convenient tool for achieving a political end. PDiddie is right – Riggle is basically telling the Mayor to shut up, something which he most definitely does not have the right to do. Disagree with her, criticize her, support an opponent against her, all that is fine. Telling her to shut up and remember her place, that’t not fine at all.

Delivering his marriage jeremiad in calm, measured tones, Riggle accused the mayor of violating both the Texas and U.S. constitutions she had sworn to uphold. He noted that in 2005, Texans approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage solely as between one man and one woman. He noted that 76 percent of those voting approved the amendment, including 72 percent in Harris County.

“Respectfully, if you cannot uphold the Texas Constitution, then you should do the honorable thing and step down,” Riggle said. His congregation responded with the first of numerous ovations.

“When you speak for us as the mayor of Houston, when the people of Houston have overwhelmingly expressed their will and you speak about this issue without their expressed will, I do have a problem with that,” he said.

On the right side of history

Putting aside the fact that the US Constitution is silent on the issue of marriage, how exactly is Mayor Parker violating anything but Riggle’s own peculiar sense of propriety? Again, it’s not like she’s staged a coup of the County Clerk’s office and is handing out rogue marriage licenses. I’m pretty sure that every Mayor Houston has ever had has believed things that are counter to public opinion. Hell, Parker has frequently stated her dislike of term limits. Does that mean she’s in violation of the city’s charter?

Look, I actually have a bit of sympathy for where Riggle is coming from. His argument is that Parker, as Mayor of Houston, is speaking for all of Houston on this issue, on which he and many others clearly disagree. I get that, and I understand it. I’ve been in that position as well. But look at what Mayor Parker said at the time she joined the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry effort:

Despite personal support for awarding same-sex couples the legal rights of married heterosexual couples, Parker said it was not her role to fight for an amendment to the Texas Constitution to override the state’s defense of marriage act or to win a ballot referendum to overturn it.

Nor was it her role to push to overturn the city’s voter-approved charter amendment banning same-sex couple benefits for city workers.

Those changes “are going to have to be something that is important to the citizens of Texas and the citizens of Houston who want to step up,” said Parker. “It needs to come from the community.”

That sure sounds to me like she’s speaking for herself. I don’t have any quarrel with Riggle disagreeing with the Mayor on this – well, other than the fact that his position is immoral and untenable – but he’s taking it way beyond that point. I have a big problem with that.

He said that he was not anti-gay nor a “gay-hater,” noting that he had prayed with gay people dying of AIDS. “Just because I disagree with the life style choices that people make does not mean that I hate the people who make those choices,” Riggle said, as his listeners responded with applause.

No, you just want to deny them the same civil rights that you yourself enjoy. Maybe that isn’t hate, but it sure ain’t love. Campos has more.

UPDATE: Council Member Jack Christie is a mensch. From your lips to Pastor Riggle’s ears, CM Christie.

One good thing will come out of Craig James’ Senate campaign

He apparently won’t be brought back by ESPN. Sportwriters and fans alike rejoice.

InnerVIEWS

Congrats to Ernie Manouse for reaching this milestone:

Houston-(February 15, 2012) Over the past 10 seasons, the nationally syndicated award-winning series,  InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse hasentertained and informed audiences with interesting, intimate, and revealing conversations with some of today’s most captivating notables. Now,InnerVIEWS, and Emmy winner Ernie Manouse, get ready to celebrate their 150th episode with multi-award winning journalist Bill Moyers.

The 150th episode featuring Bill Moyers will air in the Greater Houston Area on Thursday, February 23 at 10:30pm on Channel 8, HoustonPBS.

Other upcoming InnerVIEWS guests this season include:  Publisher and First Amendment crusader Larry Flynt, Oscar winner Marsha Mason, author Charlaine Harris, actress & documentarian Alana Stewart, soap star Kim Zimmer and gospel great Yolanda Adams.

Since its debut in January 2004, the program has spawned a legion of fans across the county, airing on over 100 PBS stations.  InnerVIEWS… guests have ranged in age from the youngest at 16 (Singer Angel Faith) to the oldest at 95 (TV Presenter Art Linkletter).  Through the years the program has won four Dallas Press Club Regional KATIE Awards; three Videographer Awards; two Bronze Telly Awards; and the Communicator Awards Award of Distinction. InnerVIEWS was also nominated for the Emmy for Best Interview/Discussion Program/Series.

InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse airs on HoustonPBS every Thursday night at 10:30pm, with re-broadcasts Fridays at 11:00pm and Sundays at 3:30pm.  For national airdates and times, check with your local PBS stations.

I’ve been a guest a couple of times on his Houston 8 show, and Ernie is a engaging and affable host. Here’s to the next 150 shows.

Comcast SportsNet Houston

This would be cool.

Coming to Houston?

The NBC Sports Group is seeking about $2 million in state and local support to bring a major production studio and 135 jobs to downtown Houston.

The operation would be for Comcast SportsNet Houston, a new regional television network that will broadcast Astros and Rockets games beginning in the fall.

The media company has identified 40,000 square feet of space in the Houston Pavilions for the operation, which would include two production studios, two control rooms and other broadcast-related facilities, according to a document obtained by the Chronicle. Some $16 million would be spent on equipment, furniture and other interior improvements.

[…]

If Houston isn’t chosen, a smaller facility with 25 employees will operate the network here.

The smaller studio, however, would limit it to Rockets and Astros games, while the larger alternative would allow the network to cover local college and high school sports, as well as local and state charity events, sports-related fundraisers and originally developed and produced programming and talk shows, according to the application.

The additional 110 technical production and digital media jobs would amount to more than $7 million in annual payroll.

A hundred and ten good paying jobs in downtown Houston? Expanded coverage of local sports? A shot in the arm for the Pavilions? What’s not to like?

Last month, NBCUniversal Media LLC submitted an application to the Texas Enterprise Fund requesting $1.2 million for the operation.

Yeah, the Texas Enterprise Fund. That sound you hear is me grinding my teeth. The Enterprise Fund is a wasteful, crony-tastic slush fund for Governor Perry. And now I get to root for it to succeed in this endeavor. Ain’t karma a bitch? If the stupid thing is going to exist, the city of Houston may as well derive some benefit from it. On the plus side, if it fails at least I can go back to hating on it with a clear conscience. Got to find the bright side where you can.

Are you ready for “The Osteens”?

When you think about it, the strange thing is that they didn’t already have a reality TV show.

Joel Osteen announced Tuesday that he has partnered with Survivor producer Mark Burnett to create a reality TV show that would follow him and his wife, Victoria, and Lakewood Church members on mission trips across the country.

Osteen signed an agreement with Burnett to work on a series to be pitched for prime-time play as early as next year. The details of the program are still being worked out, so they’ve yet to secure a deal with a network. The news of their partnership was reported early by TMZ.

Osteen likened their program to Extreme Home Makeover, saying, “It’s another way to take our message of hope and inspiring others to another venue … We didn’t just want to do a reality show, we wanted to do something that inspires people and makes them better.”

As co-pastors of Lakewood Church, the largest church in America, the Osteens already have 10 million viewers watching their broadcasts each week. They’ve repeatedly turned down reality show pitches, but then Burnett – a fellow Christian who has visited Lakewood multiple times in the year that they’ve known him – came up with a concept that would focus more on Christian mission than their own lives.

Here’s the TMZ report. I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t happen and if it’s not a success. Hair Balls has more.

Saturday video break: Raspberry Beret

Song #92 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Raspberry Beret”, originally by Prince and covered by the Hindu Love Gods. As you know, it’s not so easy to find Prince songs on YouTube, but here’s a VH1 Pop-Up Video version of it:

Little snarky there, weren’t they? And here’s Warren Zevon making an appearance on the David Letterman show in 1990 to play his version with the World’s Most Dangerous Band:

I’m not sure which is more awesome, seeing a hale and hearty Warren Zevon belt that out, or Letterman’s hair. Either way, it’s a pretty excellent rendition of a fine song. Hope you enjoyed it.

Saturday video break: How Soon Is Now

Song #95 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “How Soon Is Now”. It was also apparently the theme song to the TV show “Charmed”, or at least the cover version by Love Spit Love is.

And here’s the original version, by The Smiths:

That’s an extended version of the song, but I couldn’t find a normal-length version that allowed embedding, so there you go. The cover isn’t substantively different than the original. What do you think of them?

Are you ready for the Sooner Network?

Sure, why not?

Reporters were given a tour Tuesday of the university’s SoonerVision HD production rooms that have been expanded through $5 million in improvements in recent years. With fiber-optic cables connecting the school’s athletic venues to side-by-side control rooms, Oklahoma plans to broadcast and webcast dozens more sporting events this year in high definition.

“It allows us to do broadcast quality. That’s the thing I don’t think a lot of people realize is that five years ago our webcasts were one camera at a game, at a volleyball match, and we’re still doing some of that,” said Brandon Meier, the executive director of video production.

“Now more of our webcasts are going to look like broadcasts that you’re going to see at home with all of the bells and whistles and the replays and the score bug. We’ve gone from the one-camera setup to the 32-person broadcast setup to make that happen.”

The expansion is another step toward the school’s ultimate goal of launching its own around-the-clock network in a quickly expanding television marketplace for college sports.

The Big Ten’s lucrative network is being joined by a series of Pac-12 channels and the Longhorn Network, created through a $300 million deal between Texas and ESPN.

As compared to those endeavors, Oklahoma has a part-time network. It produces and broadcasts dozens of live basketball games and events from Olympic sports on television, and offers other live sporting events through an online All-Access package that charges subscribers about $10 a month or $100 a year.

Spokesman Kenny Mossman said eventually the university hopes to “dovetail” its online offerings into its own TV channel.

I’m sure they do. They’re probably making a few bucks from those All Access packages in the meantime, too. Say what you want about the Longhorn Network, I do agree with their assertion that everyone will be doing something like this sooner or later.

Saturday video break: OK Go + Muppets = awesome

Some things were just meant to happen:

Be sure to watch the “behind the scenes” video as well:

Thanks to Popdose for the embeds.

Why not start the Aggie Network?

Kirk Bohls raises an interesting point.

It’s hard to blame Texas for having the wherewithal and desire to start its own network and reap $15 million a year off it for the next 20 years. It’s not the Longhorns’ fault they’ve won four national championships in football and two Heisman trophies, and are one of the most recognizable brands from Rome, Italy to Paris, Texas.

And Texas isn’t alone in this. Kansas State just announced it’s starting its own digital network. Oklahoma wants to. Magnus said Missouri’s looking into it.

So is Notre Dame, which is interesting since that could facilitate it joining the Big 12, no matter what A&M does, because the Big Ten Network supposedly would preclude it from taking Notre Dame with a Notre Dame network. The Big 12 could accept the Irish.

Texas A&M should start its own network, too. Lots of Aggies out there.

“The opportunities are just huge for each (Big 12) institution,” Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said. “I think as time goes by, we’ll all learn how to better those opportunities and get past somebody having a network. I think in 30 years, the Big 12 will look smart for doing it this way.”

I think that’s probably right. I also think that if, say, LSU or Alabama or Florida gets an offer from ESPN to start their own network, they’ll jump on it with both feet. What will A&M do if that happens? Better to look for opportunities than whine about threats. Go for it, Aggies.

NCAA officially nixes high school programming on the Longhorn Network

So much for that.

The NCAA made official Thursday what most suspected would happen: It won’t allow programming involving high school athletics on university- or conference-affiliated television networks.

That means the new Longhorn Network’s plans to carry about 18 high school football games on Thursdays and Saturdays have been scuttled.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said Thursday that the NCAA staff had made the recommendation and it was approved by the governing body’s board of directors. An NCAA spokesman said that an Aug. 22 summit in Indianapolis to discuss the issue will go on as scheduled, with the topic now devoted to how to keep the new university or conference networks operating within NCAA rules.

Earlier, the Big XII had voluntarily put the kibosh on high school sports for at least a year. All of this may well be too little, too late.

Texas A&M intends to bolt the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference, multiple insiders said Friday, in abruptly ending its nearly century-old league affiliation with rival Texas, and 15-year union with the Big 12, which includes longtime in-state rivals Baylor and Texas Tech. A&M has called for a telephonic regents meeting for 3 p.m. Monday to discuss “conference alignment.”

Agenda item 15 reads in part, “Authorization for the President to Take All Actions Relating to Texas A&M University’s Athletic Conference Alignment.” An A&M official said Friday night that the Aggies hope to begin play in the SEC in 2012, but it’s too early in the complex process to determine if that will happen.

A&M pushed up its regularly scheduled regents meeting from Aug. 22 apparently to stay in front of a hastily called Tuesday hearing by the Texas House Committee on Higher Education on potential league realignment. SEC school leaders also intend to meet Sunday to essentially rubber stamp A&M’s admittance, according to a Big 12 school official.

Earlier Friday, an A&M official said Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe had told A&M president R. Bowen Loftin that the Big 12 would survive without the Aggies and that UT holds the key to the long-term future of the Big 12. The A&M official added that the Big 12 believes Houston would be a viable candidate to replace the Aggies.

The Big XII says it ain’t happening, but you know how that goes. Mentioning UH in this context gets the wish machine working. Hey, you never know, maybe this year is finally the year for them. In the meantime, I’ll just watch and see if there are more dominoes to fall.

No high school games on the Longhorn Network

For now, anyway.

The Big 12’s athletic directors unanimously agreed to a moratorium on high school content delivered on institutional or conference media platforms for a minimum of one year, the league announced in a release Monday. League athletic directors converged in Dallas for a meeting specifically designed to address questions other schools had about the Longhorn Network (LHN), the 24-hour Texas-themed cable channel set to be launched by ESPN on Aug. 26.

[…]

According to the release, no distribution of high school content will be allowed even after the one-year moratorium unless the NCAA rules it is acceptable. UT is sending representatives to an NCAA summit on the issue Aug. 22, but it might take months for the NCAA to rule on the subject.

“The ADs recognize that this issue is complex and involves a detailed analysis of the recruiting model in many areas, including existing NCAA legislation related to the publicity of prospective student-athletes and the rapidly evolving world of technology,” the Big 12’s statement read. “This process will take an extended period of analysis.”

As with many other issues we’ve seen in the news these days, this doesn’t actually resolve anything. It just pushes the day of reckoning down the road, with the possibility that some external entity will render the need to take action moot. Hey, why should the Big XII be any different? See this ESPN story for more.

Film incentives

Stuff like this always fascinates me.

In a legislative session marked by a slew of high-profile budget cuts, Texas lawmakers opted to continue offering [film and TV production] incentives, but they reduced the amount available by 50 percent. They approved $30 million to use over the next two years, according to Gov. Rick Perry’s office, down from $60 million in the previous biennium.

“Austin’s biggest competition is New Orleans and Shreveport,” said Rebecca Campbell, executive director of the Austin Film Society. “Productions don’t have to wait in a holding pattern while legislators review the law each session, which gives Louisiana a tremendous edge, with 10 films in New Orleans at the moment.”

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, was among those pushing this session to keep incentive funding at current levels.

“The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program has been extremely successful,” Dukes said. “I am unaware of any other economic stimulus program in the state or the country with such remarkable and proven results, especially in such a short time frame.”

The incentives have had an especially big impact on the Austin area, Dukes said, with more than 100 local projects receiving some sort of state support.

“The 50 percent reduction will certainly slow down the program and its positive outcomes by reducing the number and size of grants which can be awarded,” Dukes said. “Studios and producers are reluctant to start new projects in Texas for fear that the incentive grants will disappear quickly.”

But plenty of projects continue to wind up in Texas, Perry’s office points out. An April report from the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas’ IC2 Institute found that $58.1 million in incentives had been awarded between Sept. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2010, with a total economic impact of $1.1 billion and the creation of 10,000-plus full-time jobs.

The Bureau of Business Research’s website is here, and their fairly short report is here (PDF). Note that video games are part of the package. I personally remain skeptical, but perhaps you’ll be persuaded. Mostly, I think these sorts of incentives represent a large public subsidy of various industries that generate no net economic output on a national level. It just moves stuff from one place to another, benefiting one state at the expense of another, while reducing total tax revenues. How many of the movies, TV shows, video games, and whatnot that receive these incentives would not have been made at all in their absence? Very few is my guess, since it’s not the marginal operators that get them. But that’s not the world we live in. What do you think about this?

RIP, Bubba Smith

Football great and actor Bubba Smith has passed away.

Bubba Smith, an outsize presence in the National Football League who went on to a prolific career in television and the movies, was found dead on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 66.

The cause was not yet known, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said, adding, “There is no indication of anything other than natural death.”

A 6-foot-7 (or possibly 6-8), nearly 300-pound behemoth of a man, Smith, a defensive lineman, was the No. 1 draft pick for the Baltimore Colts in 1967. He spent nine seasons in the N.F.L., playing on two Pro Bowl teams, in 1970 and 1971. In 1971 he helped propel the Colts to a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Traded to the Oakland Raiders before the start of the 1972 season, Smith played two seasons with them before winding up his career with the Houston Oilers. He retired after the 1976 season.

Afterward, Smith made a career of playing rather large men on film and television. He was best known for his role as Moses Hightower, the mild-mannered florist-turned-lawman in the film comedy “Police Academy” (1984) and many of its sequels.

As a child of the 80s I am of course familiar with his work in “Police Academy”, but I must say this is how I will always remember Bubba Smith:

See also here and here, and see how many faces you recognize. Rest in peace, Bubba Smith.