Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 in review

Hi folks. This is a report that was sent out to me from WordPress and I have decided to share it with all who are currently following me and potential new followers. This is my way of saying thank you to you all, for viewing, bookmarking and following the blog over the past year.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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2014 Simpsons And Blog Review

Hi there and welcome to the last entry for this blog for 2014. Since the beginning of the year the blog has turned 1 on November 24th and The Simpsons has had another great year, with a lot of things going on.

To begin with, Season 25 continued with the episode Steal This Episode to start the year off on January 5th. Later on we see Comicbook Guy get married and the show get into lego,, with the episodes Married To The Blob and Brick Like Me, respectively. There is also an episode where Homer is a Soccer referee and we also here the last words of Edna Krabappel. Yes, I agree with Nelson that I miss her too!

As for Season 26: Krusty’s Father dies, Marge opens a sandwich franchise, Mr. Burns finds himself a new girlfriend, the Simpsons and Futurama team up in the episode Simpsorama, Bart has a bully for a new teacher, Homer now can play the bass and The Simpsons meet The Griffins in the Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode Simpsons guy, aired the same night as the premier episode of The Simpsons Season 26 Clown In The Dumps. The current cast of The Simpsons, along with special guests also performed some shows at the Hollywood Bowl, during the weekend of September 12 to the 14th. I wish I was there and I hope they can do it again some day, maybe they can come to Canada? I’m sure that Toronto could be a potential city to do it in. I’m sure that there are people considering all possibilities as I write this.

Another development that took place this year was a new network called FXX being allowed to stream all 552 episodes of The Simpsons and the Simpsons Movie in a week long marathon. All the current and past staff from the show tweeted about it and also retweeted various tweets from those who had comments and questions. This included all the former show runners such as: David Mirkin, Mike Scully, Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. Oh, also Al Jean has been tweeting about all the episodes he had a significant involvement in, as both a writer and as a show runner, then and now.

Another thing that has also occurred is 2 members of the cast turning a milestone year old this year. Hank Azaria and Yeardley Smith both turned 50 this year and Matt Groening also turned 60 in February. This year was also the 27th anniversary of the Simpson’s first airing on the Tracy Ullman show as shorts, or interstitial’s on April 19th 1987.

We also lost some people this year, who have played a part in the series. We lost: Mickey Rooney, Jan hooks, Joan Rivers, Don Pardo and others who have either guest starred or were referenced during the series. I think one of the most shocking deaths this year was Robin Williams because he has been doing so well and had probably 4 or 5 projects on the go at the time of his death. He wasn’t actually a guest star but he was referenced on The Simpsons several times, as was Lauren Bacall, in the episode Like Father, Like Clown.

One more recent death I should acknowledge is English singer Joe Cocker, who passed away on Monday at the age of 70. One of his most well known softer songs from the 70’s “You Are So Beautiful” has been referenced and sung by characters on the show a few times. For example: the Season 2 episode Simpson And Delilah has Marge singing it to Homer at the climax, after he has been demoted back to his regular job as Safety Inspector of Sector 7G. In the episode Homer Simpson In Kidney Trouble has krusty singing it to Grandpa after he learns that Homer has well, decided not to donate his kidney to Grandpa willingly, after he said he would after Grandpa’s kidney explodes. I’m sure there are more examples of his music in the series, if you know where to look for them.

One other thing that has also happened this year was my own plunge into the iTunes waters to purchase and download more than 100 Simpsons episodes over the year, along with a lot of music and a few movies. It is okay to read about them and the scripts on the internet but hearing the episode is another thing altogether. I am hoping that some day Seasons 4 through 19 will be available for Digital download, along with the entire Simpsons discography. In Canada, not all the albums are available, as Simpsons Sing The Blues is on the Austrailian iTunes. I don’t understand why this is but I can only hope that all the albums will some day be available on iTunes world wide, along with all of the episodes for purchase and download.

As for other topics I have been discussing this year in the blog, for my weather and Weather Radio readers: we lived through a brutally cold winter in most of North America, a rather cool spring, an almost nonexistent summer in Southern Ontario, a warmer than normal fall and possibly a milder winter. We also saw a quieter than normal hurricane season with the main storm being Hurricane Arthur, which put some of the kibosh on some Fourth of July plans this year. Check out this link for more. http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/calgary/top-2014-weather-story-goes-to-canada-s-long-cold-winter-1.2882370

As for my Queen and Slipknot fans, I haven’t forgotten you and will continue to talk about both bands in the coming year and beyond. They are so different from each other but if you really take a listen there is some sort of connection between the two bands musically. I have mentioned this in past posts and may mention it again in the future, if I feel I need to do so. Both bands have given us new studio and compilation albums that were worth the wait and I am looking forward to what they will do in the future.

As for other bands I have discussed alongside The Simpsons, one of them is Metallica and I may start something in the blog, just for them and their fans. I have been a fan of them since I was 10 in 1983 and this year, I have finally gone Digital, collecting all of Metallica’s music or, as much as I could collect from iTunes. I’m missing one or two songs: the cover of Ecstasy Of Gold and their cover of Remember Tomorrow by Iron Maiden, from the compilation put out by Karang magazine in 2008 entitled Maiden Heaven.

As for my fellow Queen fans, there is more of a Queen connection to The Simpsons now, besides the bands music being both paritied and in the show. If you have the soundtrack to the movie Flash Gordon listen to the voice of Emperor Ming The Merciless. Swedish born France based actor Max von Sydow portrayed him and he also guest starred in the episode The War Of Art as Klaus Ziegler in March. You can hear a bit of Ming in there, but with a French accent. Now, if we can just get a Slipknot connection to The Simpsons I will be a happier man than Frank Grimes. Okay, that wasn’t a good joke but that was all I could think of at the time I am writing this.

Another thing I have done from time to time is talk about my experiences using the iPhone and hear is one other thing before the year is out. If you have music on your iPhone or iPod you know there are many EQ options in the settings. One of them is called Late Night and I like to put it on so I can hear what my music sounds like on the radio. Okay, I should be clear about what I just said. If you listen to radio you may notice that on some stations the music is either compressed or leveled to the point of all the dynamics taken out. If you have songs in your iTunes collection with quiet and loud parts you will know what I mean.

For example: the song bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is perfect to test this out because there are so many loud and quiet passages in the operatic section and just after the rock part, when the song tails off. Just listen to it normally and with the Late Night EQ on and you will understand what I mean. Also, the next time you hear the song on the radio, listen for all the changes and listen for the piano to become louder before Freddie starts the operatic section.

I can think of many other examples but this is the one that is the most well known because the song has been played on many radio formats over the years. I’ll give you one more example from Queen, the song Somebody To Love has a breakdown after the guitar solo and the last verse, where the words “find, me, somebody to love: are repeated. It starts out soft and increases to normal volume. On Late Night it sounds the same. Oh, the best way to actually hear this is while listening to your music on earphones or headphones. The Apple earbuds that have come out this year are sounding good too. One last thing I should say is that I hope you all have had a great 2014 and I hope that 2015 is even better for all of us. I would also like to thank all of you who have either followed me via the blog or on Twitter because of the blog, or if you have just acknowledged that you like it. I invite anyone who is reading this to follow me and if you follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook too, that is a real bonus.

As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4. I would like to also thank him for letting me know that he likes the blog. It means a lot to me that someone from my favourite TV show appreciates what I am doing, regardless of my disability. In this case, it is my total blindness from birth and the iPhone has been a real positive in my life in all facets, including with GPS. I will get into that in another post.
If you wish to join my Weather Radio Listeners Newsletter, just email me at wxrnewsletter@gmail.com and I will send you all current and past issues. There have been 13 issues so far and I am working on Issue 14 as I write this.

Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again on Weather Wednesday.

Simpsons Christmas Pt 3

Hi folks and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. It is just 4 days before Christmas and 4 days after the 25th anniversary of the premier episode of The Simpsons Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire.

This episode see’s Homer as a mall Santa and only urning $13, after all the deductions. This upsets him because Marge had to spend all the remaining money from the jar to remove Bart’s “MOTHER tattoo, which only has the letters: M, O, T and H. Barney convinces Homer and Bart to go to the dog track and bet on a sure fire winner that he has picked out but at the last minute they decide to bet it all on Santa’s Little Helper. He looses and they also loose everything but just as they are leaving the dog runs up to them and Bart asks Homer if they could keep him. Homer is reluctant at first because he lost but when SLH jumps into Homer’s arms and licks him he decides to take him home.

When they get Home, the rest of the family have been waiting and they are surprised when just as Homer tells them about the lack of a Christmas bonus, Bart brings in the dog. Lisa asks what his name is and Homer tells her “no 8…. I mean, Santa’s Little Helper.” Marge thinks this is the best gift of all and at the end of the episode they all sing Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, with some modified lyrics thanks to Homer, when he takes his solo. It also ends with Bart being strangled by Homer and so does the episode.

It isn’t my favourite episode but it is important because it is the first one which is show’n after the Tracey Ullman Shorts and some new characters are added and some of the main characters have been fleshed out a bit. For example: Barney, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Milhouse, Principal Skinner and Moe have been added as the new characters for the show. In the case of character changes: Bart is still the brat but we seee for the first time that he does have feelings for his Father, when after Homer found out that he only was payed $13.00 Bart says “ohh, come on Dad, let’s go home” in a sad tone of voice.

Lisa’s character is much less like she was in the shorts and more like she became later in Season 1 to present. Aunt Patty is trashing Homer and Lisa gives a speech which confuses Patty. I’m not going to try and quote it here but you can find it in Nancy Cartwright’s book My Life As A 10-Year-Old Boy, when she talks about the episode.

Before I forget, on Tuesday Harry Shearer turns another year older. He of course, voices many male characters on The Simpsons such as: Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, dr. Hibbert, Rev. Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Marvin Monroe and still others. He is also Deric Smalls in Spinal Tap, among other acting and comedy work. Oh, let’s not forget that he is also a bass player.

Another birthday coming up is on Saturday, when Lars Ulrich from Metallica turns 51. Him and the rest of the current line up of Metallica guest starred in The Mook, The Chef, The Wife And Her Homer as themselves. Lars is also an actor and is about to star in a new movie as himself. http://www.antimusic.com/news/14/December/18Metallicas_Lars_Ulrich_Cast_In_New_Film.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+dayinrockfull+(Day+in+Rock+Report)

Simpsons principal cast member Harry Shearer has played on the same stage with Metallica a couple of times: at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and the Live Earth sho in London as a member of Spinal Tap in character. Also, Spinal Tap have given the gears to Metallica about putting out “The Black Album.” In the movie This Is Spinal Tap their album Smell The Glove was also a black album and well, Metallica just wanted to pay homage to Spinal Tap, I guess.

As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again next week and I hope you all have a great Christmas and you get things you really want this year. I know what I want but I’m not sure I’ll get it. Anyway, talk to you next Sunday.

Simpsons Christmas Pt 2

Hi folks. Welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. This week I’m going to be talking about the Season 12 episode Skinners Sense Of Snow. This was the second Christmas themed episode I had a chance to watch on Youtube but this one was later on in the summer of 2013.

The Simpsons attend a French-Canadian circus called Cirque du Purée, which is a play on Cirque du Soleil, when a demonic blizzard hits Springfield. Sideshow Mel points out “a storm is coming! I feel it inmy bone!” One of the circus hands says “Mesdames et messieurs, it appears the Cloud Goddess is ripe with rain babies.” A Springfield Channel 6 News weatherman says “well, sir, we’ve got ourselves a classic nor’easter meeting a classic sou’wester. Overnight, expect rain turning to freezing rain turning to sleet turning to snow – and then melting in the summer.”

Much to Bart and Lisa’s dismay, everyone has the day off, except for Springfield Elementary School. At school, Skinner shows them a boring Christmas film from 1938, called “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t But Then Was”. They watch the movie for hours until the DVD overheats and catches fire, but Skinner puts it out. When Skinner dismisses the kids, they find that they are snowed in, trapping them in the school with Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie, much to their horror. Skinner tries to call for help, but phone lines are down. On Channel 6 news, Kent Brockman says “roads closed. Pipes frozen. Albinos virtually invisible. The Weather Service has upgraded Springfield’s blizzard from winter wonderland to a class-three kill storm.” Marge says to the TV “I don’t like the sound of that “class-three.” Kent Brockman continues: “and where are the city’s snowplows? Sold off to billionaire Montgomery Burns in a veritable orgasm of poor planning.”

When the students become uncontrollable from cabin fever, Principal Skinner’s army instincts kick in, and he begins ruling them with an iron fist. At night, Bart tries to escape by tunneling through the snow, but Skinner catches him. Skinner tries to collapse the tunnel, but it caves in on him, burying all but his head. The kids tie him up in a dodge ball sack and gag him. They then run wild, even getting into a safe with all their permanent records. Upon learning that Skinner makes $25,000 a year, and knowing that he is 40 years old, they figure Skinner is a millionaire. (40 years x $25,000 / year = $1,000,000) When it’s pointed out that Skinner also makes money painting houses in the summer, they amend their estimate of his wealth to “billionaire”.

Meanwhile, Homer and Flanders use a “snow-plower” (Ned’s car with Ned’s roofing attached to the front as a plow) to save the kids. They get frozen in ice after hitting a fire hydrant, and Homer’s repeated gunning of the engine causes carbon monoxide to flood the car. Flanders and Homer get high from thefumes and wildly hallucinate. Homer hallucinates about belly dancing women who wait on him. They receive a message from Nibbles the school hamster, send out by Skinner, and head for the school. They crash into a salt silo, melting the snow and rusting up the car. The car exhaust makes Homer hallucinate again, making him see Lisa as a camel and Bart as a beautiful woman. As Homer tries to kiss the “beautiful woman”, Bart tries his best to escape, causing the car to crash. Lisa, (as a camel), then says “Merry Christmas from the Simpsons”.

There is a connection to the Season 4 episode Mr. Plow in that, when Homer and Flanders go to save the kids, Homer is wearing his Mr. Plow jacket. However, he doesn’t remember his own Mr. Plow business after Ned points it out to him. Homer says “I think “I know my own life Ned.” Then, he sings the Mr. Plow jingle from the episode Mr. Plow.

With this episode, there is a direct Canadian connection as it was written by Canadian born Simpson’s writer Tim Long, who was born in Brandon Manitoba but probably grew up in Exeter Ontario. Here is the Wikipedia page on this episode. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skinner%27s_Sense_of_Snow

As a later episode would show us, Principal Skinner is a Ham Radio operator, like myself and he evven uses the call sign WA3QIZ. I mention this because if he was revealed to be one he could have probably used morse code to get out a message for someone to come and save the kids instead of having the school hamster go out and save them. I’m just saying….

As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again later.

Simpsons Christmas Pt 1

Hi folks and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday. This month I’m going to talk about the Christmas episodes from The Simpsons that stand out for me the most right now. I will do 3 this year from now to Christmas day and then next year I will probably do more of them, if the blog is still active then.

This week I’m going to talk about the Season 9 Christmas episode Miracle On Evergreen Terrace, which was the first episode I had watched during June of 2013. This is the one where Bart gets up early and opens his presents. At one point one of the toys causes a fire, which burns of the Christmas tree and the other presents and he tells the rest of the family that a burglar did this. On the news everyone hears about the story and donates $15000.00 to the Simpson family and they buy a new car, which is promptly driven into a lake by Homer. Then when Bart tells the truth the media soon find out thanks to a camera man and Santa’s Little Helper. They soon realize that the remains of all the presents are still there and well, the Simpson family are now the most hated people in Springfield. Everyone shuns them and even take what they can find from their house. However, Marge tries going on Jeopardy with Alex Trebek to win money to pay the towns people back. Unfortunately, that does not work.

I have one question about this episode! When we hear the water dripping and all the sounds related to it before Bart gets up to go to the bathroom to pea, is it a dream sequence or are we just going into Bart’s head? The chanting of “we’re no. 1” and “give me a pea…. go go go, pea pea pea….” also brought this to mind.

Another thing I am wondering is what happened at the end of the episode? Did the towns people actually give them some of their stuff back or what? Moe did say “we kinda hated being mad at you so we decided to make things right.” I don’t know what happened visually but the sound of water in that seen doesn’t really give me any indication as to what the towns people did then. If you have seen this episode and you can see, tell me what happened. I really can’t figure it out from the audio.

Once again, I first watched it on Youtube during June 2013 just after my 40th birthday, along with many other episodes. I will be doing a post about 2 more Christmas episodes before December 25th.

Before I forget, I have a recommendation for those of you who like audio books. There is a new book which came out this year called We Put The Spring In Springfield: Chronicling The Golden Era Of ‘The Simpsons by Justin Sedgwick. This book talks about the period from Seasons 3 to Season 8, in which it is thought to be the golden era of the series’s history. I think it is a good book and it is at a nice price on iTunes. I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to purchase it for yourself this Christmas. I did and I agree with what the writer is saying and it made me think about why some episodes are important in how The Simpsons has evolved in the early years, from a standard sitcom type of show to a more bizarre surreal entity. Check it out.

As usual to end each Simpsons Sunday post, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
http://simpsonsmusic500.wordpress.com/author/simpsonsmusic500/
I also recommend checking out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
I should also mention Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
http://www.marchesvous.com
For some strange reason everyone I know hasn’t heard of them yet. Hopefully I can change that.
You can also comment here or you can email me at blindgordie@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. I would much prefer getting an email so I can reply directly to you, but that’s just me.
One final thing to mention is that you can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again next Sunday or if I have something else to write about before then.