Fleezle – Rants R Us

Why ABC’s Battle of the Network Stars won’t survive – and why it should

by on Sep.14, 2017, under Rants, Television

I grew up with television from the 70s and 80s, and one of the things I looked forward to most was the once or twice a year specials which featured the stars doing different things…like ABC’s Battle of the Network Stars – that was reality TV back then. I loved it so much that I still have recordings of all but two episodes, and when ESPN Classic started showing the old ones, I watched them over and over…

The show was a variety sports competition based on the similar format of NBC’s SuperStars and SuperTeams, pitting three teams – one from each of the three major broadcast networks back then, ABC, NBC and CBS – consisting of eight to nine competitors from that network’s current shows. And it was very competitive…each were competing for real money, and some of them were just naturally competitive. There was a variety of competitions, from standard running, cycling and swimming relays, to more fun stuff like the dunk tank and Simon Says, as well as 3-on-3 football, the famous obstacle course, and the infamous finale, the Tug Of War. ABC’s own Howard Cosell would host with a different co-host each time, with the exception of the 18th Battle, filmed in Hawaii instead of the usual Pepperdine University and hosted by Joan Van Ark and Dick Van Dyke.

Who could forget the very first running relay, where ABC captain Gabe Caplan protested the NBC team’s run as one of the men moved backwards to get the baton from one of the slower women early, and NBC captain Robert Conrad went NUTS, made some comments that would get fried on Twitter these days, and challenged Kaplan to a run off, which Kaplan agreed to…and Kaplan promptly blew the doors off the cigar-smoking Conrad…

The battles were filmed on location at Pepperdine University in Pasadena, California, over a couple days with live crowds with cheerleaders to help elevate the excitement and energy levels.

Looking back, it was interesting how ABC managed to get people from the other networks to compete, something that probably wouldn’t fly these days. But the other networks and their shows got promoted, and I don’t know if there was an agreement to co-share with the other networks – CBS had a “spiritual cousin” of the show, Circus Of The Stars. I can’t remember if NBC had one. Even for the second battle, it seemed as if appearances weren’t sanctioned by the other networks – the teams were instead known as “Friends of NBC”, etc. and logos weren’t used, but by the third battle that seemed to be resolved.
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The statistics of Super Bowl squares

by on Feb.02, 2013, under Geek Out

I’m taking part in a Super Bowl square for charity this year, and a number of people not familiar with these squares were taking part, so it got me thinking about what numbers and pairs are really good.

Being the geek that I am, of course I needed to figure it out. What follows is a bit dry – it is, after all, statistics. So if you want to cut to the chase, here is a quick summary of numbers that I believe from the results below are good and bad:

Best numbers: 0, 1, 3 and 7
Worst numbers: 2, 5 and 8
Best pairs: 0-0, 3-0, 7-0, 5-1 (yes, really), 7-1, 7-3, 7-4

Sure, there are already web pages with information on the subject, but 1) I didn’t write them, and 2) They didn’t always look at the numbers the way I wanted, and in at least one case didn’t seem to use the right scores. And I wanted to play more with Excel.

First, you may ask, “What is a Super Bowl Square?” The Square is a gambling device used in football (and really, any similar game with similar scoring and defined periods – the more “random” the scoring the better – basketball would be another good one) in which a 10×10 grid is laid out, the numbers 0-9 are written across the top and down the side, and people buy squares. The rows correspond to one particular team, and the columns the other team. If at the end of a quarter or the end of the game the last digit of each team’s score matches your square, you win the prize for that quarter. Typically the prize for the final score is worth more.
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Replacing a firewall and gratuitous ARP

by on Jan.01, 2013, under Linux

I recently wrote an article about using a Linux box to fix a problem when replacing a firewall when the upstream router wouldn’t send the traffic to the new device, and we didn’t have access to clear the ARP table…

Changing of the Guard – Replacing a firewall and gratuitous ARP


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Wow….it’s been a while…

by on Jan.01, 2013, under General Stuff

I’ve been working so hard on my other sites – Sci-Fi Storm, WDW Untangled, etc. that this one was left sort of forgotten…time to wake it up!


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Dear Jets…

by on Jan.11, 2011, under Patriots

Dear Jets: Your complimentary New England Cheering Section Pass has expired. Please drop it off at Gillette Stadium at 4:30pm 1/16. Leave the engine running.


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Review: Gibbet Hill Grill, Groton, MA

by on Jul.25, 2010, under Dining

I’ve always planned to do dining reviews, especially for some of the local locations we hit on occasion, but for some reason never got around to it. Often I think of it when I get crappy service or food, but I don’t want to make it just a rant space against places – I’d like to be more even handed.

So recently we got to try out a place we had never been. We’ve heard about it by reputation, but not advertisement – it doesn’t seem to get a lot of press that I have seen. But the Gibbet Hill Grill certainly deserves some press. I had heard about the place by word of mouth, but a gift certificate from my soccer team (thanks guys!) finally got us to go.
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Time to wake this site up…

by on Apr.21, 2010, under General Stuff

I’ve got plans…grand plans…which if you are reading this at all you’ve already noticed the site design change as well as the URL change. Hopefully that might mean I’ll actually post here more often.


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Retro TV is da bomb

by on Aug.07, 2009, under General Stuff

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about the relatively new Retro Television Network. As a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, I was glued to the TV watching such “reality” shows as Emergency! and Adam-12

A few weeks ago we started getting WMFP again (in the Boston area, formerly UHF 62 and I believe currently DTV 18.1), after it had joined RTV. Now I can watch Emergency! and Adam-12 all over again. For those unfamiliar with these shows, they were often more real that a lot of the reality fare nowadays. Especially with Emergency! Shows weren’t necessarily edited for dramatic effect – characters appear to be really doing the tasks they are shown doing – fighting fires, performing rescues – I even noticed in an episode recently one of the doctors changing the recording tape for the calls – why would they even show that? That’s valuable advertiser time nowadays. But it made it real…in a way that I don’t think is even possible with today’s TV. It’s too bad that there will probably be nothing like Emergency! again.

Now, the antics on Adam-12 would probably get Reed and Milloy indefinitely suspended a hundred times over nowadays… 🙂


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What are french fries, really?

by on Mar.10, 2009, under Rants

Just had a discussion about french fries. I am of the following opinion, which I have long held:

Fries are nothing more than edible utensils for condiments. As such, surface area is the most important aspect. Steak fries have a lower surface area to volume ratio, and therefore are not as useful. There is less for the condiments to stick to.

And condiments are defined as salt, ketchup and grease (preferably of the oft-banned trans fat variety). I’ll accept Malt Vinegar from the Brits though.


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Google says every site “may harm your computer”

by on Jan.31, 2009, under Geek Out

Google some time ago instituted a feature that will inform you if a search result has been detected as a possible malware source. Perhaps as a sign of Google’s network becoming self-aware and trying to protect us from the Internet, as of 9:45am ET this morning Google is tagging ALL SEARCH RESULTS with “This site may harm your computer” and won’t let you click through to them. We’ll all be part of the Matrix next. Update: Looks like around 10:10am they fixed it…or its trying to hide itself from us…


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