A Girl Named Johnny Cash

In the 1970s, I was a fan of Martin Mull's work, from his TV appearances ("Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "Fernwood Tonight," "Roseanne") to his movie roles ("FM," "Serial") to his concert performances, in which he always had living room furniture on stage to make...

Here We Go Again

Yet again, a bunch of rich people are convincing a city government to give them tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks so they can have their own sports franchise. The city is St. Louis, the sport is soccer, and the losers will be the taxpayers. Danny Wicentowski...

Worth A Link

Two pieces I enjoyed that you might want to read, too: It's way too early for any talk about the 2020 presidential election or any possible candidates, but whoever defeats Trump should give an inaugural address like this one, written by Jon Sinton. I like journalists...

Four Random Thoughts

I'm sorry to see that we won't get to see a new season of "The Amazing Race" until May. That's too long to wait for Phil Keoghan and those great roadblocks and detours! Wish it still aired two seasons/year a la "Survivor." I've been frustrated by Netflix not making it...

Best Thing I’ve Read Today

Here's a wonderful appreciation of magician Ricky Jay by Tracy Newman, his onetime girlfriend, who shares stories and video links you'll want to watch, too (hat tip to Ken Levine, who posted this on his blog). Here’s one of the many things I learned from Ricky: You...

Best Thing I’ve Read Today

Mark Harris (no relation) makes some great points about "Green Book," a movie I wasn't overly thrilled by -- for exactly these reasons. Still, the National Board Of Review just named it Best Picture and gave Viggo Mortensen the prize for Best Actor, too. That's not...

Movie Review: “Wildlife”

"Wildlife" is a movie adapted by Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano from a 1990 Richard Ford novel about a family in crisis in 1960s Montana. Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), the father, has moved his family yet again for a new job, this time as a golf course pro, but he's laid off...

Ricky Jay

It's silly to try to name the Greatest Magician Ever, even if you break it down into subcategories like Grand Illusionists, Escape Artists, Mentalists, Comedy Magicians, etc. Yes, there are competitions held each year at which magicians win prizes and honors, but...

This Used To Be A Holiday

Re-posting a piece I wrote six years ago... A minority grows larger today, though its members would prefer that it didn't. They are the Americans who are forced to work on Thanksgiving. There was a time when this was our only national day off from work. The only...

Movie Review: “Green Book”

"Green Book" is the based-on-truth story of Dr. Don Shirley, a world class pianist who was booked to do a concert tour that included several dates in the deep south. Since this was 1962, and Shirley was African-American, he knew there might be trouble, so he hired a...

More About “The Front Runner”

Yesterday, I posted a lengthy review of Jason Reitman's "The Front Runner," with Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, whose presidential aspirations were derailed when the press covered his personal indiscretions. But I left out three points, so I'll cover them today: If you...

Movie Review: “The Front Runner”

It was late 1986 when I took over the morning show at WCXR in Washington, DC. Every day, I'd wake up with several hours of radio to fill. Fortunately, the news cycle over the course of the next few years was rife with stories that I gladly exploited as entertainment...

Movie Review: “Widows”

Quiz: which of these is the plot of "Widows"? When four thieves are killed while escaping a job gone wrong, their grieving wives get together to pull off a heist. Corrupt politicians in Chicago battle to win an aldermanic election and control of their ward. Gangsters...

Bob Costas, Level-Headed Broadcaster

A friend called me Thursday morning and told me to turn on the Charlie Brennan Show on KMOX, a station I haven't listened to since parting ways with it almost a decade ago. But my friend told me the guest was a broadcaster who I respect enormously, Bob Costas, so I...

TV Notes

I don't recommend the sixth season of "House Of Cards." The show ran out of steam by its third year, and this final one doesn't re-energize anything. It plays out as a boring battle for control between new president Claire Hale (Robin Wright) and the brother-sister...