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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 1979

Welcome to the final Tuesday Timeline for March 2016.  Hard to believe that a quarter of the year is gone just like that! 

Anyway, I had a difficult time trying to come up with a subject for today's blog.  All of the news events that I came up with I either already talked about, or know absolutely nothing about!  I had to use my music trivia knowledge to come up with a topic of discussion, and I think I have succeeded.

Of course, before we get to that, we should have a look at the other events of historical significance that took place on March 29...

845 - Paris is sacked by Viking raiders

1461 - Edward of York defeats Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England in the Battle of Towton

1632 - The Treaty of Saint-Germain is signed returning Quebec to French control

1792 - King Gustav III of Sweden succumbs to his injuries thirteen days after being shot in the back at a midnight masquerade ball

1867 - Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act, which leads to the founding of the Dominion of Canada on July 1

1886 - In his Atlanta backyard, Dr. John Pemberton brews the first batch of the liquid that would come to be known as Coca-Cola

1919 - Actress Eileen Heckart (d. 2001) is born in Columbus, Ohio

1936 - Adolf Hitler receives 99% of the votes in a referendum to ratify Germany's illegal reoccupation of the Rhineland

1941 - The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement goes into effect

1945 - The last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England in the final stages of World War II

1951 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage

1957 - The New York, Ontario and Western Railway makes its final run

1961 - Residents of Washington D.C. are allowed to vote in presidential elections as a result of the ratification of the twenty-third amendment to the United States Constitution

1971 - A jury recommends the death penalty for Charles Manson and three of his followers

1974 - NASA's Mariner 10 becomes the first space probe to pass Mercury

1985 - Jeanne Deckers - otherwise known as The Singing Nun - dies at the age of 51

1993 - Catherine Callbeck becomes the first woman to be elected Premier of a Canadian province (in this case, it was Prince Edward Island)

1999 - For the first time in its history, the Dow Jones closes above 10,000

2004 - A busy day for NATO as Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia join as full members

2005 - Lawyer and O.J. Simpson trial figure Johnnie Cochran dies at 67

2010 - Forty people are killed when two suicide bombers blow themselves up at the Moscow Metro System

2014 - The first same-sex marriages are performed in Wales and England

And celebrating a birthday today are the following famous faces; Julie Goodyear, Scott Wilson, Vangelis, Chad Allan, Eric Idle, Terry Jacks, Paul Herman, Bruce Weber, Bobby Kimball, Bud Cort, Brendan Gleeson, Kurt Thomas, Christopher Lambert, Marc Silvestri, Perry Farrell, Amy Sedaris, Michael Winterbottom, Elle Macpherson, Ming Tsai, Jill Goodacre, John Popper, Lucy Lawless, Ruth England, Lara Logan, Jennifer Capriati, Megan Hilty, and Lucas Elliot Eberl.

Okay, so what date will be looking at this week?

Well, how about March 29, 1979?

Yeah, that was the day that a particular band from merry old England released what is to be considered one of their more successful albums.

Have you ever heard of Supertramp?  Well, to some people now, it would be used as a derogatory insult for someone who is extremely promiscuous, but back in the 1970s, it was the name of the band that was comprised of Rick Davies, John Helliwell, Roger Hodgson, Bob Siebenberg, and Dougie Thompson.  And during their heyday, the group released seven studio albums together before Hodgson left the band in 1982.  Of course, Supertramp never really went away, and various incarnations of the band have been performing and recording music over the last 45 years or so.

But if one were to pinpoint the cream of the crop of Supertramp, one might suggest that their 1979 album "Breakfast in America" certainly qualifies.  Released thirty-seven years ago today, the album went on to sell over six million copies in the United States alone.  It charted well in the UK, Canada, Australia, and especially France where it became the biggest selling English language album in that country alone!

And here in North America, four of the album's singles charted on the Billboard charts, with two of the songs being Top 10 hits.

So, let's have a listen to these four songs, shall we?

Released:  April 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #6

It makes...pardon the pun...logical sense to feature this song first, as it was not only the first release from the album, but the album's highest charting single.  And I have to admit, it's a fantastic single.  Mind you, I heard this song about ten thousand times at my workplace, but still, I really like it. 

But what you might not know about this song is that it's autobiographical, written from the perspective of Roger Hodgson, who based the lyrics around his 10-year stint in boarding school.

Certainly the song flowed well, with every lyric ending in -ible, -able, ical, etc...but I think the saxophone made the song as well.  Saxophone music was really big circa 1979, and while disco was still charting high on the pop charts, this song gave a fighting chance.  I wish it had charted higher though.

Released:  June 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #62

First things first, ouch!  I can't recall any band being excited about their song peaking at #62 on the charts.  And I can't understand why this was the case because this song is actually quite nice.  At least in the UK, it became a Top 10 hit.  But then again, I suppose some people might call this song (and this album in general) a parody of American life, so maybe that might have something to do with it.  Regardless, this song is unique because it is alleged that this song was penned by Hodgson before Supertramp was even founded.  And this single about a teen who wanted to experience what life was like in America took a record ten years before it was released!  That's quite a long time.

Released:  June 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts: #15

This song was once featured on an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati (back when television shows could play snippits of songs on the air), and it was featured prominently on an episode of The Office, only the lyrics were changed to Goodbye Toby.

Now here's the kicker.  For the longest time, I remember hearing this song played a lot, and I remember loving it a lot...but it wasn't until very recently that I realized it was a Supertramp song.  For the longest time, I had thought other groups had sang it.  I think one time, I thought it was the Bee Gees, and the next minute, I was thinking it was Andy Gibb, and so on and so forth.  It's sort of embarrassing when you stop and think about it.  But, then again, I doubt many people my age even knew who Supertramp was...

Released:  October 1979
Peak Position on the Billboard Charts:  #10

And how appropriate that the last song written for the album would be the last song to chart on Billboard, just making the Top 10.  And according to Roger Hodgson who wrote the song, this single has sort of a double entendre to it.  On one hand, it could symbolize the dread of coming home to a nagging wife or whiny children, and how the subject wants to purposely take the long way home to avoid the drama.  Or, it could mean something deeper, such as finding a place where we belong, and looking into your heart to find out what home is.  I think that's why I can relate to this song a lot.

So, that's what was released on this day in history.  What's your favourite Supertramp song?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Jem Reviewed: Episode 1 - The Beginning

Welcome to Jem: Reviewed!  Starting today, I'll be using this space every Friday to recap this cartoon series.  With 65 episodes in all, this will be a project that won't be completed until June 2017.  But, I figure that it will be a good project to take on.  And since I had fun doing the New Archies Reviewed a few months ago, I thought I'd challenge myself by doing a series which lasted longer, and which was aimed at a very specific target audience that admittedly I didn't see myself as being a part of.

What can you expect in these recaps?  Well, I have pictures, I found some videos, and I'll be inserting some snark with some trivia about each show. 

So, how did "Jem" begin?  Let's tune into Episode 1:  The Beginning to find out more.

A word of caution though.  The first five episodes of this series were broadcast as fifteen seven-minute shorts between October and December 1985.  So, if the editing of the episodes seems a bit off, that's the reason.

We begin at a premiere event or concert or some huge awards show.  I'm not sure what the occasion is, but what I can tell you is that this is where we first meet the band that call themselves Jem and the Holograms.  The first one we meet is blue-haired Aja.  Then the purple-haired Shana.  And scarlet-haired Kimber is next to be introduced.  These would be our Holograms.

Finally, we meet the star of the band, as well as the star of the show.  This pink-haired goddess is the mysterious Jem who at this point in the show has dominated the music scene and has become a huge star.  But how did this happen?

Well, let's allow Jem to reflect on that with a a funeral?  Wow...I didn't think that funerals were even allowed to be shown on a cartoon!  If that were the case, the Bugs Bunny and Tweety show would be a mortuary. 

Ah, but this was back in the days in which Jem was solely known as Jerrica Benton.  The funeral is for Jerrica's father, Emmett Benton, who owned the record company Starlight Music.  At the funeral are Kimber - Jerrica's sister and Emmett's younger daughter - and Aja and Shana.  Jerrica's love interest, Rio is also there.  At the funeral, Jerrica and Rio are introduced to Eric Raymond, who has been named CEO of Starlight Music following Emmett's death, and while Eric offers to be there for Jerrica in her time of grief, Rio is very suspicious of Eric's motives.  For good reason too, as you'll see later on.

But don't think Jerrica got the shaft.  She inherited Starlight House, the home where she and Kimber grew up.  It is currently a house for foster girls, and Aja and Shana were the first of those girls.  At the moment, there are a dozen girls who stay there, but we won't meet all of them just yet.

But Starlight House is in bad shape.  The appliances are old and wearing out, the plumbing is deteriorating, and the electricity only works half the time.  Things have gotten so bad that even the foster girls can't find a way to keep it up.  

Jerrica is so desperate to get help that she decides to pay Eric a visit at Starlight Music in hopes that he will find it in his heart to open up his bank account to float Jerrica some money to fix up the place.

But it seems as though Eric has other plans, and rather than use the money to help Jerrica out, he has opted to use it to promote a hot new girl group who call themselves the Misfits!

And the Misfits apparently drive into Eric's office (which used to be Emmett's office) on gigantic guitar shaped mopeds...which begs the did they get those things up to Eric's office on the top floor?  It's not like that sky elevator was big enough to hold them, and you can't drive a moped up a hundred flights of stairs!

Whatever the case, you have the Misfits...lead singer Pizzazz, bass player Roxy, and Stormer, the one that plays that keyboard/guitar combo known as a keytar.  Very 80s!

Oh, and you might notice that there's text on the bottom left hand corner of the screen...well, remember when MTV used to play videos and they'd have the song and artist info displayed at the beginning and end of each video?  Well, that's our cue that a song is coming!  Let's watch!

Ah, "Outta My Way".  What a great introductory song for the Misfits.  Apparently, the whole "we're the best, get lost if you hate us" theme is a common one in the Misfits discography.  Let's see if this holds true as the show progresses!

Anyway, the Misfits are Eric's pride and joy...and also Eric's meal ticket.  You see, he's staging a Battle of the Bands contest, and he plans to rig it so the Misfits win just so he can get the bragging rights and remain relevant.  And unfortunately, the Misfits seem to be nothing more than a token to make his dreams come true and are blinded by his promises that they will become famous.  It's actually kind of sad when you think about it.

Regardless, Jerrica calls the Misfits trash, and tells Eric that she will stop him.  Good plan.  How are you going to do that exactly?

Well, perhaps a mysterious package that came in the mail for Jerrica will help.  It turns out to be a pair of ruby red star shape earrings that Jerrica absolutely loves, but she is unsure of who would send them.  Aja believes that it was Rio, but before they can speculate further, a gust of wind blows out the candle and a mysterious figure appears in Jerrica's bedroom.

Apparently, she has come for Jerrica.

And, this is Jerrica's shocked face.  Come on, Jerrica.  Even an America's Next Top Model contestant can do a surprised look better.

Anyway, this purple haired robot woman or something tells the girls to meet her at the Starlight Drive-In Movie Theatre - a building that has been closed for years.  The woman instructs Aja to drive through the wall - because driving through a wall and smashing up your van seems totally logical!

Especially when you consider that the wall isn't actually a wall, but a secret entrance to a huge computerized room!  To be honest, that is kind of cool.

And once Jerrica and the girls lay their eyes on the super huge outdated computer in the middle of the room, they realize that they have been given a final gift from their late father.  The woman is named Synergy, (who looks like Jane Fonda in her workout tapes, but just go with it) and she has the power to summon any holographic image that the owner of the Jemstar earrings desires, demonstrating it by turning all the girls into holograms of each other!  And since Jerrica has the earrings, I suppose that makes her the holder of all the power.  

Synergy also has gifts for the rest of the girls as well.  Shana remarks about how there are so many clothes and how real they are.  Well, Shana, I'd hope that they were real, otherwise you'd get charged for indecent exposure!  Kimber is drooling over the musical instruments that are available, remarking that they have enough for a dozen rock groups.  I think she also utters her catchphrase of "Outrageous!" for the first time as well.  Remind me to do a tally for the whole show, okay?  

And Aja is blown away by the gorgeous looking convertible that mysteriously has the Jem logo on the front of the car even though technically "Jem" doesn't exist yet.  I bet THAT'S where she got the name!

And now for our first piece of "Jem" TRIVIA!  Believe it or not, "Jem" was NOT the first choice for Jem's name.  Originally, the creators of the doll line wanted to name the character "M".  Unfortunately, when they tried to trademark the name, they were told that they could not trademark a letter of the the name "Jem" was chosen instead.

Anyway, at the Battle of the Bands, the band known as the Limp Lizards just finish performing, and well...this is what their song lyrics are...

My life is...a garbage heap!
My life's filled...with choking cats!
Since you left, my world's like
Broken glass
Broken glass!

Wow...that's...horrible!  If Eric's plan to rig the contest in favour of the Misfits by purposely getting horrible bands to sign up, mission accomplished!  Or, is it?

Wow, Jem and the Holograms just came out of nowhere didn't she?  That's right, this truly is "Only The Beginning"!  Seems like Jerrica has used the power of Synergy to create an alter ego long before that Hannah Montana woman was even born!  Sure, I do think their first song could have been better, but this is episode one.  I'm sure they'll have more hits!

As to be expected, Eric is pretty steamed, and he demands to know what she is thinking.  At this point, Jem uses the earrings to change back into Jerrica (out of sight of everyone else) and inform Eric that she doesn't like rigged contests.  This prompts Eric to come out with a challenge.  There will be another battle of the bands - this time between his band The Misfits, and Jem and the Holograms.  The winner will get full control of Starlight Music.

And just to add to the deal, a movie producer named Howard Sands just happens to be in the audience at the event and offers up even more prizes.  He will give the winning band a movie deal, as well as the keys to one of his mansions.  I'd say that's well worth the battle, don't you?

Well, it's here where we discover that the Misfits are just as morally ethical as Eric Raymond.  They steal a whole bunch of Jem's equipment and force Jerrica and the girls into a full on car chase.

And it's during this chase that we see that the Misfits aren't really any better than their manager, as Roxy starts throwing their equipment at the Holograms, trying to ram them off the road.  Keep in mind that this is merely the first time the Misfits get away with attempted murder.  There are many other instances, believe me.

Whatever the case, Aja quickly loses control of the car and they nearly drive over a mountain cliff! 

Luckily, Jerrica remembers that Synergy can project millions of holograms, and she uses her earring to call up a hologram of Jem so that she can flag down someone to help them.  Unfortunately, the Jem hologram flags down Rio, which officially kicks off the Rio/Jerrica/Jem love triangle that doesn't exist because Rio is in love with the same person and Jerrica is too much of a coward to let him know, or maybe she secretly likes all the attention, or what have you.  The point is that this is one flaw in Jerrica's personality that I will likely be bringing up.  A lot.  Ad nauseum.

Naturally, the idea of a hot new girl group almost falling off a cliff attracts the attention of the media, which infuriates Eric and the Misfits.  Pizzazz, in particular, is really steamed because she wants to win at any cost.  I wonder if this means it's time for another song...

And because Pizzazz thinks that "Winning Is Everything", Eric decides that he will help them the most evil means necessary.

You see this guy with the sunglasses sitting in the really weird looking chair?  His name is Zipper, and you'll be seeing him quite a lot in the first few episodes.  Interestingly enough, Zipper and Eric are both voiced by veteran voice actor Charlie Adler, so what you're witnessing is one man having a conversation with himself!  Oh, and Adler also voiced Buster Bunny on "Tiny Toon Adventures", if Zipper's voice sounds familiar.  Anyway, Eric plans to use Zipper to cause havoc at Starlight House.  Scare them out of the competition, so to speak. 

Meanwhile, at Starlight House, we get to meet a few of the girls, but the two we'll be focusing on this episode are Ashley and Lela.  Lela is considered the oldest of the current Starlight Girls, which makes her in charge of the "Honor Jar".  The Honor Jar is where all the girls do chores to earn money so that they can buy a new refrigerator for the house, which I have to admit is an awesome, unselfish idea.  But Ashley - who is the newest addition to the Starlight Girls at the time -  seems to think it's a waste of time.

At least, that is until she tries to steal the money from the jar and is caught by Jerrica.  Jerrica lets Lela and the girls decide Ashley's punishment, and Lela thinks it's simple.  Since they lack thirty bucks to buy the fridge, Ashley will have to find a way to get thirty dollars.  Unfortunately, in 1985, thirty dollars may just as well be three hundred dollars, and at 13, Ashley's too young to deep fry Chicken McNuggets.

On top of all that, Rio has tried and failed to fix the electrical panels of the house, and Jerrica and the girls will have to spend the night powerless.  Gee, I wonder if this plot point will have anything to do with how this episode concludes?

Well, considering that there's no lights on, Zipper is free to break into the house to steal a few things.  Ah, plot contrivance.  You gotta love it.

Zipper, however, isn't the quietest burglar, and his noisiness causes Jerrica, Aja, Shana, and Kimber to wake up and investigate.  Look at the old style kerosene lantern that Kimber is holding!  That's old, even for 1985 standards! 

Once Zipper spots the girls, he makes a break for it, shoving Kimber out of the way which causes the old school lantern to smash on the ground, igniting the whole room with flames! 

And as the house burns down around them, we get the first of what are sure to be many "TO BE CONTINUED" text graphics appearing.

What do you think will happen?  Will everyone escape?  Will Zipper be charged with arson?  Will Ashley be exempt from her thirty dollar punishment because the Honor Jar will be a pile of ashes?

Stay tuned next week for Episode 2:  Disaster.  Gee, what a happy title...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22, 1989

Well, it's good to be back after taking a little bit of a break.  This here is the Tuesday Timeline for March 22, and I have to say that this was a date in which I certainly had a lot of possible topics to choose from.  I'll admit that narrowing down the field was not an easy task.  That being said, I think the topic I chose is one that best demonstrates how life can drastically change in the blink of an eye.

Before we go on with that though, let's have a look at some of the other events that took place on this date.

1622 - Algonquin Indians kill 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia

1765 - British Parliament passes the Stamp Act

1829 - The United Kingdom, France, and Russia establish the borders of Greece in The London Protocol

1871 - William Woods Holden becomes the first American governor to be impeached

1887 - Actor/singer Chico Marx (d. 1961) is born in New York City

1894 - The first playoff game for the Stanley Cup is held

1923 - French born mime Marcel Marceau (d. 2007) is born in Strasbourg

1943 - In one of the most shocking events of World War II, the entire population of Khatyn, Belarus is burnt alive by German occupation forces

1945 - The Arab League is founded in Cairo, Egypt

1960 - The first patent for the laser is granted to Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes

1963 - The Beatles release their first album in the United Kingdom - "Please Please Me"

1972 - The United States Supreme Court rules that unmarried persons have the right to possess contraceptives

1975 - Residents of Decatur, Alabama are temporarily shaken when a fire at a nearby nuclear power plant causes a reduction in cooling water levels

1978 - Karl Wallenda falls to his death during an attempt to cross a tightrope between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico - he was 73

1982 - Space Shuttle Columbia is launched from Kennedy Space Center on Mission STS-3

1993 - Intel ships its first Pentium chips

1994 - Singer Dan Hartman passes away of AIDS related complications, aged 40 - on the same day that animator Walter Lantz dies at the age of 94

1997 - Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest to win the Woman's World Figure Skating Championship, just two months shy of turning fifteen

1999 - Actor David Strickland takes his own life at just 29 years of age

2001 - Animator William Hanna dies at the age of 90

2009 - Reality show personality Jade Goody passes away of cervical cancer, aged 27

2014 - A boat capsizes in Lake Albert, killing 251 passengers

And, sadly...I have one more event to add, along with condolences towards the people of Brussels...

2016 - A series of bomb attacks kill at least 31 people in the city of Brussels, Belgium

And celebrating a birthday on March 22 are the following famous faces; Gilles Pelletier, Mort Drucker, Pat Robertson, Stephen Sondheim, William Shatner, May Britt, M. Emmet Walsh, Roger Whittaker, Jeremy Clyde, Bruno Ganz, George Benson, Eric Roth, Wolf Blitzer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bob Costas, James House, Lena Olin, Stephanie Mills, Matthew Modine, Keegan-Michael Key, Elvis Stojko, Beverley Knight, Anne Dudek, Cole Hauser, Kellie Shanygne Williams, Reese Witherspoon, John Otto, Shannon Bex, Michael Janyk, and Nick Robinson.

Now let's see what year we're going to go back in time to this week.

Ah, March 22, 1989.  That would be exactly 27 years ago today.

And I'm sure that if you are a fan of hockey, you probably remember this day very well, as it was probably one of the most horrifying days that could have ever happened on a hockey rink - and the incident changed one NFL player's life forever.

Now, everybody knows that when it comes to the world of sports, there is not a single sport that doesn't come without its risks.  In baseball, for example, there's always a chance that a player could break a leg sliding into third base, or get clonked on the head by a foul ball or bat.  In football, there's the threat of bodily harm, heat exhaustion, and concussions.  Even in synchronized swimming, there's always a slim chance that while you're performing your routine, you drown.  Mind you, I can't recall a time when that has happened, but there's always that chance.

And in the game of hockey, there are a lot of hazards that have to be considered.  The slick surface of the ice have caused dozens of hockey players to get battered and bruised when they slip.  There's risks of concussions - have you seen some of the players get smashed into the sides of the rink?  That's not pleasant!  And might I remind you that one of the reasons why a hockey mask became mandatory for goalies was because one nearly died taking a puck to the face?  There's even one of those retro Heritage Canada commercials that depicts this moment!

But in 1989, a new hazard was added to that list.  Having a sharpened skate blade pierce your neck and nearly bleeding to death as a result.

That event actually happened 27 years ago today.  And for the player that it happened to - Clint Malarchuk - it certainly was the point that changed his life forever.

Let's go back to that date.  That was the day that Malarchuk's team - the Buffalo Sabres - took on the St. Louis Blues.  And as far as Malarchuk's record went, he was a solid player.  Having played previously for several other teams including the Quebec Nordiques and the Washington Capitals, his overall career record included 141 wins, 130 losses, 45 ties, 12 shutouts, and a save percentage of .885. 

But it was during the first half of that game that something happened that caught everyone off guard, especially Malarchuk.

At some point during the game, Uwe Krupp of the Sabres and Steve Tuttle of the Blues were approaching the Sabres goal that Malarchuk was tending, and as they approached the net, they crashed into each other and slammed into the goal crease.  As a result of a freak accident, Tuttle's skate brushed up against the side of Malarchuk's neck and sliced it open.  To make matters worse, the skate blade severed Malarchuk's carotid artery which caused blood to rapidly pour out of Malarchuk's neck all over the ice surface.

Needless to say, the game was halted right at that moment, and cameras and spectators saw the whole thing happen live - both at the rink, and on live television.

Fortunately, Malarchuk had a lot of angels looking down on him that day.  One of which was the Sabres' athletic trainer at the time, Jim Pizzutelli, who prior to joining the Sabres worked as a - get this - a medic for the United States army who served during the Vietnam War.  It was Pizzutelli's quick thinking that got Malarchuk off the ice, and he managed to keep compression on the wound and pinched off the blood vessel to keep Malarchuk from bleeding to death.  He was still conscious when he was rushed to the hospital, and the game resumed when word broke that he was in stable condition.  Unfortunately for the Sabres, they ended up losing to the Blues with a score of 2-1.

But what a horrifying event to take place at a hockey game.  I was only seven years old when this event took place, so I do not remember seeing it...but I do remember a lot of my classmates talking about it in school.  The gruesome event had a lot of effect at the rink as well.  Eleven spectators passed out from the sight of the blood, and at least two more spectators suffered heart attacks.  Three players were so sickened by the sight of all the blood that they threw up on the ice.  Even the announcers of the game were visibly shaken, which you could notice immediately after the severity of the injury was revealed.

It was certainly one of hockey's darkest moments for sure.

After the injury healed, Malarchuk returned to the game (after it took nearly 300 stitches to close up the wound), but he didn't seem to do as well as he had before March 22, 1989, and by 1996, he had retired from the sport as a player, but continued as a coach.  However, the incident left him physically scarred, as well as emotionally.  His obsessive-compulsive disorder had gotten much worse, he became dependent on alcohol, and he also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of the accident.

And nearly two decades after his own accident, a second player - Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik - sustained nearly the same exact injury during a game in February 2008 which triggered the attacks of post-traumatic stress - which ultimately lead to a suicide attempt just a few months afterwards.

Fortunately, as of this writing, it seems as though Malarchuk has begun the recovery process.  And while I would like to explain it, I think this interview that he did with CBC news anchor Wendy Mesley in 2014 will do a much better job.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Next Show To Be "Reviewed" Is.....

Hello, everybody!  Have you recovered from your St. Patrick's Day hangovers yet?  I hope you have, because I've got an announcement to make.

Remember how for part of 2015 and the first part of 2016, I did something every Friday where I reviewed a cartoon series episode by episode and we had a lot of conversation surrounding it?  The show I reviewed was the forgotten 1980's show "The New Archies", and for twenty-six weeks, I reviewed every 11-minute segment that spanned over thirteen episodes.  Some episodes were harder to write about than others, but I will say that it was a lot of fun to do.

So much fun that I've decided to do it again.

But which one?

Now, the first time around was a bit of a warm-up.  After all, the show lasted only one season.  The show that I'll be choosing this time around lasted THREE seasons and spanned 65 episodes.

So, doing the math...if I start this feature next Friday (March 25), and do one episode a week, I'll be doing this from now until June 16, 2017!  That's a whole year plus three months, everyone!

And, to further challenge myself, I'll be writing about a show that I'm semi-familiar with, but was not part of the target audience of the show by far.  So, you'll definitely be entertained as I prepare to watch all 65 episodes of this show - of which I've heard that the first half are wonderful and the last half are horrible.  So, the longer I do this, the more likely I'll go insane.

And as we all know, an insane blogger is an entertaining blogger.  Or, so I've heard.

Interestingly enough, when I did my first review, this was one of the choices that I had listed, and I remember a few people voted for it, but not enough for me to choose it.  But with this show currently available on Netflix Canada and on a couple of other sources, I should have little difficulty finding screencaps.  The music videos might be harder to locate, but I'll at least have the screencaps.

Okay, no keeping you in suspense any longer.  Let's get on with it.  And...I'm about to embarrass myself by revealing this choice the same way that our main character would before going on stage.


Yes, I've decided to torture myself by writing a review on all 65 episodes of the 1980s cartoon classic "Jem".  Would you believe that it's been over thirty years since this cartoon debuted on television?  I believe that it started in October 1985 and lasted until May 1988...or at least that's what Wikipedia tells me anyway.  I have reason to believe those dates are correct though.  I don't remember seeing too much of Jem during the 1990s.

So, why did I choose this truly, truly, truly outrageous show?  Well, there's a few reasons.  One, I like torturing myself.

Okay, okay.  In all actuality, I had no idea the show ran as long as it did.  I remember seeing a few episodes of the show's first season which aired on YTV back in the day, but I don't remember seeing many of the second or third seasons except for the very last episode where...ah, you'll have to wait until June for that one.  This way, I can watch the whole series and recap good or as bad as it was.

Secondly, I figure that by watching this as a non-target audience member (seriously, this series is more or less a three season commercial for Hasbro dolls), I can gain a little perspective and hopefully find an appreciation for it (while being snarky in the process).

And lastly, I've looked around and there's not really a full recap guide of this show anywhere.  Sure, people have reviewed SOME of the shows, but I want to have a full guide.  Call it a challenge to myself, I suppose.

So, what can you expect me to talk about over the next 65 Fridays? 

- I'll point out all of the ways this show seems like a commercial - one thing I have found is that the show slips little references to the actual toy line inside the cartoon similar to the way that "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" did circa 1989.

- I'll point out all the ways in which Jem/Jerrica Benton is crazy.  Trust me, there's no shortage on that.

- I'll keep an active tally of the number of times Kimber almost kills herself.  I don't know why, but she seems to be an idiot in some of these episodes just based on prescreening.
- I'll talk about the Starlight Girls and how sometimes they might have been better off living on the streets.  Let's just say that Jem and the Holograms sometimes don't act like the best influences.

- I'll talk about some of the serious issues that this show focuses on.  You may think this is a cartoon for kids, but when you have a show that has special episodes on running away from home, illiteracy, peer pressure, and even drug abuse - well, let's just say that this cartoon was a bit ahead of its time.

- And, yes...if possible, I'll post links to all the music videos this show produced - of which I'm told there are 187 of them.  Which isn't too bad, as some of the songs aren't bad.  Though I do like one group better than the three that are featured in this cartoon, and it may not be the one you'd suspect.

The fun begins Friday, March 25 with Episode 1:  The Beginning.  It's an episode that features a funeral, a supercomputer, a pair of earrings, three Misfits, and a big fire.  But I've said too much...