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Stuck In The Middle - A Gen X Podcast

  • UHF Television

    12 JUN. 2024 · Time to adjust the old rabbit ears, Slackers! This week is dedicated to the old ultra high frequency television channels of our youth. Kids these days have no idea what VHF or UHF even mean, because even broadcast TV went digital in 2009! But we had two dials, one on top and one on the bottom. The cool stuff was always on the lower dial and in New England we had channels like 25, 38, and 56. Some of my fondest memories are of watching TV on Saturday afternoons - after the cartoons were over - and seeing the “Creature Double Feature” or later, “Kung Fu Theater”.  The “Creature Double Feature” gave us Japanese monster movies (kaiju) like Godzilla and Gamera, or classic horror from Universal and Hammer Studios. Think Christopher Lee’s Dracula. And lots of Roger Corman flicks. “Kung Fu Theater” brought the best of Chinese martial arts to America. Remember Pai Mei from Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”? Do you remember that same character from the martial arts movies in the late 70’s & 80’s? Check out the Shaw Brothers “Shaolin” films. And with the advent of cable TV, similar shows were broadcast nationally with “Commander USA’s Groovie Movies” and Elvira’s “Movie Macabre”. Such a fun time to be a kid and getting to watch some really absurd, totally surreal filmmaking!
    53m 9s
  • Late Night Talk Shows

    5 JUN. 2024 · Here’s Johnny, Slackers! Starting all the way back in 1954 with the Steve Allen led “The Tonight Show”, there has been a steady succession of late night talk shows - and hosts. What is so surprising is how much behind the scenes drama occurred, particularly when it comes to that “Tonight Show” gig. Starting with the retirement of Johnny Carson, much has been said about the internal struggles at NBC, ultimately leading to the departure of Dave Letterman from the network after not getting the “Tonight Show - which of course went to Jay Leno. Similar themes have played out over and over again at NBC, but also at CBS where Letterman launched his direct competitor to the “Tonight Show” called “The Late Show”.   Names like Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon, and many others have sat in the host’s chair throughout the years - and that’s just NBC & CBS! Don't worry, FOX, ABC, TBS, and others, will be covered!
    1h 2m 16s
  • Browsing r/GenX

    29 MAY. 2024 · Hey, Slackers! This is one of those, “I couldn’t decide on a topic” episodes - so why not take a look at the latest posts on r/GenX? If there is a social media platform that feels both morbidly right and intuitively wrong for Gen X, Reddit is the one! I tried to keep it light - because you can go down some dark paths on that site - and it was mission accomplished.  Some nostalgia, personal anecdotes, music, movies, a little bit of everything, really. Just what you would expect from r/GenX!
    1h 4m 26s
  • BON JOVI

    22 MAY. 2024 · Raise your hands, Slackers! After being prompted by a listener to check out Thank you, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story, this week I give my thoughts on this legendary band and try to answer the question, “were they a hair band or just lumped in with them”? This is actually a really good question, and to be honest, it’s hard to ignore the time in which they broke through, the sound of albums like Slippery When Wet and New Jersey, and the bands they toured with, when making that assessment. I think a case can be made that they were a hair band, but they didn’t stay a hair band. While some bands tried to radically change their sound and image, Bon Jovi managed to shift ever so slightly within the framework of their existing catalog and sound. These subtle shifts kept fans interested, maintained the band’s integrity, and allowed for them to continue producing platinum albums, with massive tours. There are only a few bona fide stadium level acts these days, and by sheer hard work and determination, Bon Jovi has remained one of the top tier rock acts for over 30 years. Not bad for a “hair band” out of New Jersey!
    1h 5m 44s
  • Jingle Time!

    15 MAY. 2024 · I don't wanna grow up, Slackers! This week is dedicated to the some of the best jingles from the 70s & 80s. I don't know about you, but I consider jingle writing to be an art form. Some of these are instantly recognizable and many actually occupy a place in my jaded little heart.  From the Toys R Us theme to the the classic "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke", many of these jingles have stood the test of time. Sure, they were written to help sell some consumer goods, but when the songs are this catchy, I can't help but have a certain sentimental reaction. I mean, doesn't your balogna have a first & last name!? And who doesn't love short shorts? Some of the commercials featured actors that would go on to have classic roles on stage and screen - everyone starts somewhere - but the Jaleel White sighting threw me for a loop! Anyway, check it out. I really enjoyed this one!
    53m 56s
  • The MAD MAX Franchise

    8 MAY. 2024 · Witness me, Slackers! This week is a petal to the metal episode. No chit chat, no personal anecdotes from the week, nada - just straight out the gate just like the opening of every Mad Max movie. George Miller knows to keep all that pesky dialogue to a minimum and let the story unfold visually. From the very first installment, Max Rockatansky has been one of the most interesting cinematic characters, in large part because he says so little. Whether Max is played by Mel Gibson or Tom Hardy, so much is expressed via facial expressions and the chaos happening all around him. Paired with some memorable villains, and you get cinematic gold.  Speaking of villains, what a list of names: Toecutter. Night Rider. Lord Humongous. Wez. Aunty Entity. Ironbar. And of course, Immortan Joe. They just keep getting more and more over the top as the franchise progressed. And what’s truly remarkable is the fact that Max is actually the deuteragonist of Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s right, he’s the second most important character - the protagonist is one Imperator Furiosa, originally played to perfection by Charlize Theron, and soon to be embodied by Anya Taylor-Joy in the upcoming Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.  I don’t know about you, but I am pretty stoked to see another installment in the franchise - Max or no Max!
    1h 5m 12s
  • Tech Innovation In Our Lifetime

    1 MAY. 2024 · Is technology out to get us, Slackers? With the looming threat of AI, I wanted to take a look at all of the technological advancements that have happened just in our lifetime. Remember your first computer? Or your first cell phone? With the 1971 introduction of the Intel 4004 microprocessor, the pace in which tech has moved is terrifying. Even something that now seems so quaint, like the Sony Walkman, was the first big leap forward for personal, portable devices.  Apple and Microsoft have been at this since the 70's and still going strong today, while so many others have fallen by the wayside. Remember Netscape or when Compaq was the computer brand in the 90's? I remember my first real accounting job and falling in love with Lotus 1-2-3 - despite needing to save my data to a floppy disk and bring it to another machine that was running Windows 2.1 - just to produce our nightly reports! PCs. The Internet. Email. Cell phones. GPS systems. All of these entered into daily life within about 20 years. Now all of that those elements are available on phones that fit in the palms of our hands. Not to mention the fact that we now have self driving cars!  What does the future have in store?
    57m 40s
  • Nostalgia on Tour 2024

    24 ABR. 2024 · Rock & Roll, Slackers! After seeing some clips online of the band everyone loves to hate, Creed, I took a look at the full slate of 90’s nostalgia acts on the 2024 tour circuit. While the perennial big hitters like Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Green Day are once again hitting the road, a number of late 80’s/early 90’s acts are banding together for shows this summer. But it’s not just rock and metal artists. From the pop world there is New Kids On The Block (with Paula Abdul and DJ Jazzy Jeff), from Hip Hop there is Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, and the “I Love The 90’s Tour”, a who’s who of R&B & Country artists, and a number of female led tours, most notably Alanis Morissette and Sarah McLachlan.  Check out this episode for all the tours of 2024!
    1h 2m 39s
  • FANDOM

    17 ABR. 2024 · This week’s episode is all about fandom. It seems that by the time the mid to late 80’s arrived, being a fan of something - let’s say a genre of music - also lent itself to fashion choices & even the friends we made. If someone was wearing the shirt of your favorite band, there was a pretty good chance you could end up friends. But there is also the kind of fandom that leads to changes (temporary or permanent) in actual lifestyle.  Ever know an actual Goth? This wasn’t just some dude wearing stage makeup - these kids were living their everyday lives decked out in all black, with dark eye makeup, and black lipstick - to high school. That’s not just being a Cure fan - this was a lifestyle choice.  And I can’t shy away from the fact that I also made some horrendous fashion choices - particularly during the early 90’s - because if there is one thing grunge accomplished beyond shifting the musical landscape, it also “allowed” for an anything goes mentality when it came to personal aesthetics. That likely explains the dog collar I once sported - which was fully allowed to be worn where I worked. It was a different time…
    52m 49s
  • The PMRC

    10 ABR. 2024 · Warning, Parental Advisory, Slackers! Back in 1985, a group of politically connected women banded together to create the “Parent’s Music Resource Center”. Led by Tipper Gore, wife of future Vice President Al Gore, and Susan Baker, wife of then Treasury Secretary James Baker, the group sought to clamp down on what it perceived to be an increase of disturbing lyrical content in popular music.    The main focus was on lyrics containing references to sex, drugs, violence, and the occult. To drive home their point, the PMRC created a list dubbed “The Filthy 15” - an eclectic list of recording artists spanning multiple genres. Somehow, artists like Prince, Cyndi Lauper, & Madonna, were grouped with bands like Mercyful Fate, Venom, and Judas Priest. The opposition to PMRC came in the form of some strange bedfellow - three very different musicians in their own right - who believed strongly in freedom of artistic expression. In what has become a legendary Senate hearing, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, Frank Zappa, and John Denver, all hailing from vastly different backgrounds, made their case against the PMRC.    We also take a look at how some of the musicians on The Filthy 15 feel decades later - has age (and parenthood), moderated their views on censorship or do they still hold to the same ideals of their younger, wilder selves?
    1h 4m 34s
Welcome to Stuck in the Middle - the podcast about the music, movies, and culture of Generation X.
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