Note: The first episode shown during the Second Quarter 2017 was a rerun of #756 on March 20, 2016.
Episode #760: Some Serious Pads
First Broadcast: 3/27/17
This episode, we salute the late, great Chuck Berry, one of the founding fathers of Rock 'n' Roll music, and one of the most influential musicians of all time. With an almost unbroken string of hits between 1955 and 1965, Berry cemented his reputation as one of the biggest stars of the early Rock era, and he remained an active performer right up until his death on March 18, with one more new album due out later this year. Innovators like him are few and far between, and he will be missed. Days later, another innovator, Chuck Barris, passed away. Barris might be best known as the producer and host of "The Gong Show," a bizarre, surrealistic talent show that aired on TV in the late 1970s and--in my opinion--remains as one of the most stupidly funny programs ever to be seen on network television. Luckily, many clips of the show still live online--and, hey, so do many of Chuck Berry's songs, so these works won't be lost to future generations anytime soon. (In fact, Berry's work might even outlast humanity itself.) Here's hoping I won't be proven wrong right away.
Episode #761: Privatizing Wiretapping
First Broadcast: 4/3/17
To the benefit of no one but the largest telecom companies in the United States and the Congresscritters who serve them, the House passed a bill that allows Internet Service Providers to sell their users' Internet browsing histories without their permission. Specifically to blame are Republicans in the Senate and the House, as no Democrat in either body voted for this crap. Does the GOP have any idea what the consquences will be if anyone with enough money can purchase the records of all the Internet sites that any person or group ever visits? What would happen if the FBI, Amazon, China, or any random hacker could gain all that information just for the price of admission, without any legalities whatsoever? Max Temkin, the creator of "Cards Against Humanity," made the following vow:
If this shit passes I will buy the browser history of every congressman and congressional aide and publish it.
But, will that be enough of a deterrent to prevent Donald Trump from signing it into law? Who the hell knows anymore? In the meantime, better dust off that VPN...
Episode #762: The Jig Was Up
First Broadcast: 4/10/17
The A.V. Club put it succinctly: "Why are there so many TV shows about time travel right now?" Is there a mass desire in the United States right now to be anywhere else but here? (I wonder why?) Does GQ have a point about time travel programs being popular due to Netflix? Is "Making History" close to being canceled? "Time After Time," the show based on the movie, is now cancelled, disappointing all those who looked forward to more episodes named after Cyndi Lauper lyrics. Perhaps that's for the best, considering the show's portrayal of H.G. Wells as a relatively chaste man was completely at odds with his actual past. Maybe I need to write my own show to get it done right...
Episode #763: Sui Generis
First Broadcast: 4/24/17
First off, we salute the recently departed David Peel, who died on April 6, 2017, at the age of 73. He wasn't quite a frequent guest on Free New York, but we did run into him often in the neighborhood, and he was always willing to either pose or chat for the camera. He memorably offered his views and a song about the closing of CBGB in episode #427 of our program, and for that we'll always be grateful. His unique presence in the East Village will definitely be missed. On top of that, we wonder this week if the firing of Bill O'Reilly from Fox News, the very good showings of Jon Ossoff and James Thompson in special Congressional elections, and the record unpopularity of President Trump are all signs that bode well for a Democratic changeover in Congress in 2018? Well, I can dream, can't I?