1st Quarter 2024
Episode 976, 977, 978, 979, 980, 981, 982, 983

Note: The first episode shown during the First Quarter 2024 was a rerun of #335 on December 18, 2023.

Episode #976: Duck Season
First Broadcast: 12/25/23
Repeated: 2/19/24
The Metrograph movie theater in Manhattan recently ran a series based on films released around the year 2000, which was highlighted in a Gothamist article titled "Was Y2K era the best for films?" Many cinephiles would argue that 1939 might be the best year ever for American films, and several other years could also vie for that title, but I personally would make the case for the year 1982, and not just because Poltergeist, Star Trek II, E.T., Blade Runner, and The Thing were all released in the same month! By the way: Whatever happened to that new John Woo movie, Silent Night? Ponder that as we end the year, why don't you?

Episode #977: Close Enough
First Broadcast: 1/1/24
Repeated: 3/18/24
This week, we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Free New York on public access television, with a look back at the far away--and yet, still close--world of 1994, the debut year of our program. Who was born? Who died? What was on TV? What movies were out? Would any of us want to still live in a world without Netscape Navigator, the primal ancestor of Firefox? Thirty years down, and thirty more to go--or something like that!

Episode #978: Ah, Dystopias
First Broadcast: 1/15/24
Repeated: 4/1/24
We start with a brief goodbye to the late Cindy Morgan, who played--among many other roles--Lacey Underall (not, as one site mistakenly wrote, "Lacey Underwood") in the movie Caddyshack, one of the funniest films of the 1980s. The search for where to stream this film leads us into discussing how the retail store chain "Best Buy" will no longer sell physical media in person or online, removing one of the pleasures of shopping for DVDs, CDs, or books in person: the serendipity of discovering some new item that you might not have otherwise been looking for--the exact opposite of the current onlone shopping or viewing experience, where you seek exactly what you want and are often led down a rabbithole by an algorithm geared to just give you more of the same and narrow your horizon instead of broadening it. Eventually, we get to the last movie of the "DC Extended Universe," Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which, aside from looking like it's cribbing from an endless amount of other popular movies, and yet again having fights in the dark and the rain, seems to be ending this iteration of DC comic heros with more of a thud than a bang, despite its relatively decent box office. What's in store for the future? Will we survive long enough to find out? Only time will tell!

Episode #979: Video Stores of Your Mind
First Broadcast: 1/22/24
Repeated: 3/4/24
Joyce Randolph, who played Trixie Norton on the classic sitcom The Honeymooners, passed away on January 13, 2024. She was the last surviving member of the primary cast--the others being Jackie Gleason, Audrey Meadows, and Art Carney--who, strangely enough, all died in order of their billing on the program. Randolph wasn't the first Trixie (that was Elaine Stritch)just as Audrey Meadows wasn't the first Alice Kramden (that was Pert Kelton), but those women are the performers fans would remember despite later revivials of the characters through other iterations, no doubt because of--in New York city, at least--the near-continuous reruns of the "Classic 39" episodes of the program ever since it was voluntarily cancelled by Jackie Gleason in 1956. It can still be seen on WPIX-TV today if you catch it at just the right time! In the midst of this, we talk about Red Channels, That's My Bush!, Republicans' 180 degree shift on Russia, and how a certain jerk's books were banned in Florida as a result of a book ban he himself supported. Who says this show isn't educational?

Episode #980: One More Score
First Broadcast: 1/29/24
Repeated: 5/6/24
This week, we occupy our time discussing the fascinating tale of Terry Jon Martin, who, back in 2005, stole one of the pairs of ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in the film The Wizard of Oz. The crime remained unsolved until the F.B.I. recovered the slippers in 2018, and Martin was convicted for the theft in 2023, after he pleaded guilty. The 76-year-old man's rationale, given by his lawyer prior to his sentencing in 2024? He wanted one "final score" to cap off his criminal career, apparently because he thought the slippers had real rubies on them that he could sell for cash. Too bad he had never seen the movie, or else maybe he might have known that those props never had rubies--or any other jewels--on them in the first place. In between all this, we also discuss the Batmobile, a guy who set up a sting to buy back his own stolen cell phone, a woman who rode off with her own stolen bike after seeing it for sale on Craigslist, and how true crime podcasts are making a strong case that serial killers aren't really that smart; it's the police who are investigating them who aren't hitting the mark. You know, something for everyone!

Episode #981: Weather, Bugs, and Salt
First Broadcast: 2/12/24
Repeated: 6/3/24
Apple's Vision Pro device is now on sale, but is it really something you should be using while riding the subway, or driving a Cybertruck? I mean, if I was in a Cybertruck, I'd be much more worried about it corroding or crashing to trust the auto-pilot, but maybe that's just me. I'd much rather be in a Waymo car anyway--or maybe something like a vintage car; but don't let anyone fool you into thinking that older cars were somehow safer than current models, because they aren't. And you certainly don't want to be distracted on the subway, since you don't want to run the risk of someone stealing your Beats, or worse. Stay safe, everybody!

Episode #982: Never Leave The Mall
First Broadcast: 2/26/24
Repeated: 5/13/24
If you've been to the Lower East Side lately, you may have noticed the food hall named Essex Market that occupies the entire block at the street level of the building that has an entrance (among many) at the southeast corner of Essex and Delancey Streets. There, you can find Shopsin's, Dhamaka, Unregular Pizza, and many other vendors that sell various kinds of food and groceries. Underneath Essex Market, one flight down, is the Market Line, which contains another level of vendors, and at one point was envisioned to become as large as three city blocks underground, but now won't be anything in the near future since the entire Market Line will close up and go out of business as of April 1, 2024. So, what should take its place? To Kim, a roller disco was the obvious answer--and not just a roller disco themed bar like All Night Skate in Brooklyn. If that doesn't grab you, what about indoor archery? Maybe a large vintage clothing store, like the late Canal Jean, or Unique Clothing Warehouse? Or maybe just a giant lounge based on airplane chic? Even a Spirit Halloween store would be better than just letting that space sit vacant for who knows how long. If nothing else, maybe keep it in mind in case of a zombie apocalypse--you never know!

Episode #983: Chart Your Own Path
First Broadcast: 3/11/24
This week, we remember Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl who became a beloved local (dare I say national?) celebrity when he escaped from his vandalized cage in the Central Park Zoo in February, 2023; and, a little over one year later, died after he collided with a building on February 23, 2024. What is it about this particular bird that resonated so much with people both inside and outside New York City? Perhaps his story embodies the path that many New Yorkers (and, by extension, Americans across the country) themselves imagine taking: Escaping your confined space to explore a big city, learning how to make it on your own where so many others fail, and becoming a success on one of the biggest stages in the world--it's the American dream, frankly. Will there eventually be a statue in Flaco's honor in the park? Will Flaco be forever remembered in law by passage of the "FLACO Act" in the New York State legislature? We don't know yet, but if anyone wants to nominate a deceased owl for mayor, I think I have a good candidate. P.S.: Is it possible that Hollywood might see some labor action later this year by both IATSE and the Teamsters? It's too early to tell, but if you're with the AMPTP, it's probably best to listen to what both of those unions have to say.

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