Zombie Apocalypse for Product Placement

From our Dead Brand Walking desk

The hardtracking staff doesn’t want to say we told you so, but . . . we told you so.

Product placement is starting to wear out its welcome.

From PRI’s Marketplace:

Product placement lessons from ‘The Walking Dead’

The long partnership between a band of survivors in the zombie apocalypse and their Hyundai SUV has ended.

The advertising deal between Hyundai and the AMC series The TWD product placementWalking Dead – which had 17 million people tune in for its season five premiere earlier this month – is over. That gleaming, never-out-of-gas, never-dented vehicle is no more.

Hyundai says it is very happy with its partnership, and it’s gotten a lot of attention on TV and online from Generation Y. But alas, the car maker had to end its product placement deal because the show went in another direction creatively, and the characters have been doing a lot more walking and a lot less driving.

So what drove Hyundai out? Maybe mocking YouTube videos like this one . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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My Mazeroski Moment (Or, How the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates Helped Make Me Grow Up)

The Pop History Dig is a terrific website that chronicles signature events and figures of 20th century popular culture. And the latest submission by encyclopedic author Jack Doyle  is one close to the hardworking staff’s heart.

“The Mazeroski Moment”

1960 World Series

It was the ultimate in baseball – the final, showdown Game 7 of a World Series. The place was Forbes Field, a classic baseball park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was October 13th, 1960, Aerial-2-Forbes-Field-320that time of year when the last warm days of summer begin to meet crisper fall afternoons. Excitement was already in the air generally, both in Pittsburgh and throughout the nation, as a presidential election race was underway and a young man named John F. Kennedy was offering the country something new. Later that evening, in fact, Kennedy and his Republican opponent, vice president Richard Nixon, would debate on national television for the third time. But the business at hand in Pittsburgh that afternoon wasn’t politics; it was baseball.

Yes it was.

The hardrooting staff, which has been a Made Yankee Fan in Boston for 40 years, remembers that day like it was yesterday. But Doyle renders it like it’s today.

Cut to the chase:

Now it was the bottom of the ninth inning, with home team Pittsburgh coming to bat. One run, scored at any time that inning, was all the Pirates needed to win the World Series. Yankee pitcher, Ralph Terry, who had made the final Pirate out in the eighth inning, returned to the mound for the bottom of the ninth . . . The first man he faced was Pirate second baseman, Bill Mazeroski. Maz was having a pretty decent Series (in fact, he would go 8-for-25 over the seven games and bat .320 for the Series ), and although he had hit one home run earlier in the Series, in Game 1, he was still not regarded as a home run threat. During the 1960 season Maz had hit 11 home runs.


Terry’s first pitch to Mazeroski was a fast ball down the middle but high, for a ball. Next came a pitch lower in the hitting zone which Mazeroski unloaded on with a good swing. The ball popped off the bat and soared high into the afternoon sky heading toward and then over the left field wall. Bill Mazeroski had just made his Pittsburgh Pirates the 1960 champions of baseball.

The great Mel Allen’s call:

…There’s a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going, gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10–9 and win the World Series!

The-whole-thing-was-nuts graf:

Years later, Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying that losing the 1960 World Series was the biggest disappointment of his career, the only loss, amateur or professional, over which he cried actual tears.

Hey, if The Mick could cry, why not me too?

Some years later I wrote this commentary for WGBH radio.

ANCHOR: Last week, the New York Yankees played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Steel City for the first time since their 1960 World Series seven-game classic. Here’s John Carroll’s Take.

It was the damnedest thing I’d ever seen, and I was 11 years old by that time. The 1960 World Series was entirely bipolar: The New York Yankees won 3 laughers by a combined 35 runs, while the Pittsburgh Pirates won 3 squeakers by a combined 6 runs. Everyone knew which team was superior.

Even so, there was still Game Seven to play at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Because Yankee manager Casey Stengel had completely botched his pitching rotation, it was journeyman Bob Turley – not money-in-the-bank Whitey Ford – who took the mound for the decisive game.

Bullet Bob lasted all of one inning – giving up three runs on two hits and a walk. But the Yankees clawed back –largely through the efforts of left fielder Yogi Berra, who drove in four runs on one hit and a walk.






But in the fateful bottom of the eighth, Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek was hit in the throat by a bad-hop grounder that should’ve been a double-play ball. Instead, the Bucs went on to score five runs and take a 9-7 lead into the ninth.

The Yankees once again clawed back to tie the game. But leading off the bottom of the ninth, light-hitting second baseman Bill Mazeroski did this:

SFX: 1960 MAZ HOME RUN 0008




Mazeroski’s clout went down as one of the most dramatic moments in sports history, not to mention my young life.

Years later, the Missus asked me in an offhand way what my all-time favorite team was. She had come across a mail-order company that sold reproductions of the hometown paper’s front page the day after a World Series win, and she wanted to get me one for my birthday.

I told her the 1960 New York Yankees.

Shortly thereafter, the Missus received the October 14, 1960 UnknownPittsburgh Post-Gazette front page with the headline “BUCS ARE CHAMPS” in umpteen-point all-caps boldface. The Missus was, understandably, somewhat confused. She called the mail-order company and said, “No, I wanted the 1960 World Series front page.”

The mail-order gal replied, “Honey, you got the 1960 World Series front page.”

The Missus continued to be somewhat confused, so she asked me how I could be that attached to a losing team.

Because of the way they lost, I said. The 1960 Yankees were the team that taught me exactly how heart-stopping baseball could be. And in the end, that was even better than winning.

But man, it hurt. (Luckily, the next year worked out better.)

Subsequently, the Missus bought me this Official Souvenir Program, with the Game 7 box score filled in.




And this Game 7 ticket.




God love her.

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Let Timmy Pitch (Again)!

The Tim Lincecum Freeze Out finally ended last night (with the Royals leading the Giants 7-2 in Game 2 of the World’s Serious) and Timmy was looking sharp. He breezed through a one-two-three 7th inning and set down the first two Royals batters in the 8th.

Then this, via cbsSports.com:

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum leaves due to lower back issue

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum left Wednesday’s game against the Royals due to a lower back injury.

Lincecum tossed 1 2/3 innings before leaving the contest. After going 2-2 against Salvador Perez, Lincecum called the trainer out to the mound. He appeared to slip on the mound during the pitch. After some discussion, Lincecum was removed from the game. Following the game, the team announced Lincecum is dealing with a lower back injury.

That ungainly exit occurred right after the Fox broadcast blabbers talked about Lincecum elbowing his way back into the mix of Giants relievers.


It’s no secret the hardlysmoking staff has a soft spot for Lincecum. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of Timmy this postseason.

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Let Timmy Pitch!

The Tim Lincecum Freeze-Out is getting a bit tiresome, yeah?

First, some statistics (via the San Jose Mercury News):




Players on the [San Francisco] Giants’ Division Series and NLCS rosters who appeared in a game in those series. The sole exception in both cases was two-time Cy Young-winning pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Along the way, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this to the Associated Press:

‘‘I’ve been thinking about Timmy, trust me . . . Timmy’s done a lot for us, and we know that.’’

So last night the Giants blew out the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in Game 1 of the World’s Serious and here’s the boxscore (via ESPN).

Pitchers’ stats:

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Seriously, Bruce? You’re “thinking about Timmy” but he doesn’t get into a 7-1 blowout?

Blowout this, eh?

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Tip o’ the Pinhead to Zippy (Talking Statues Edition)

Bill Griffith’s Zippy the Pinhead is the strip comics-lovers love not to understand.

But yesterday’s installment didn’t tax the brain too much.


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We officially dub him Zippy the Eighth.

Special bonus: That asterisk in the second panel leads to this Talking Statues site. Representative sample:



And here’s a CNN report from two months ago:



Thanks, Zippy. We are having fun now.

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Quote o’ the Day (Nelson Rockefeller/Thomas Aquinas Edition)

In his generally admiring Wall Street Journal review of Richard Norton Smith’s greatly admiring biography of Nelson Rockefeller, On His Own Terms, Robert K. Landers noted this in reference to Rockefeller’s “hidden trait [of] dyslexia”:

His difficulty reading persuaded him that, as he said, “the best way to read a book is to get the author to tell you about it.” When he was governor of New York and trying to fathom the moral complexities of abortion, he saw a reference to Thomas Aquinas in a newspaper editorial and asked a staffer to arrange a meeting with the eminent theologian.


No wonder Pres. Eisenhower said of Rockefeller, “He is too used to borrowing brains instead of using his own.”


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Dead Blogging ‘A Disappearing Number’ at Central Square Theater

Well the Missus and I trundled over to Central Square yesterday to catch the Catalyst Collaborative production of A Disappearing Number and, say, it was . . . swellish.

From their website:

In 1913 a clerk in rural India, Ramanujan, sends a letter to the renowned Cambridge mathematician, G.H. Hardy, containing an extraordinary series of theorems. What ensues is a adn-secondary-imagelegendary, intellectually passionate, seven-year collaboration. Interwoven with the present-day story of Ruth, a British math professor, and her husband, an Indian-American businessman. Drama, comedy, Indian dance and music weave an immersive experience the New York Times called “mesmerizing”, a love-story that combines the clashes of culture, the sensuality of ideas, while illuminating the mystery of mathematics.

Unfortunately, we found the local production slightly less than mesmerizing – too long, too mathematical, and too . . . long. (Two hours, no intermission.)

That said, the performances by Harsh J. Gagoomal (as the physicist/narrator Aninda) and Christine Hamel (as the mathematician Ruth) are terrific, and the staging is ingenious and eye-catching throughout.

So, we say, catch it.

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On Second Thought, To Ello with Them

UnknownFor several weeks now, the hardhoping staff has been yearning for a smile from Ello, the Mean Girl of Social Media.

But . . . nothing.

Then, this (via MediaPost):

Interest in Ello Craters

Well, that didn’t take long. The new social media hotness, Ello, is no longer new or hotness, and is now more a moderately aged “meh,” judging by the number of searches for “Ello” from Google Trends . . .

The Guardian notes that the volume of searches for Ello climbed from nothing before September 23, to reach its first peak on September 26, followed by a small dip before reaching an all-time peak on September 30 — but has now plunged back to just about where it was before September 23.

Were-we-nuts? graf:

Even at its peak interest, Ello received no more than a tenth the volume of searches for “Twitter,” which in turn lags far behind Facebook.

Anyway, we’re over it now.

Goodbye, Ello. We don’t care that we hardly knew ye.

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That’s Just So Mean! (Martha Chokeley Edition)

Massachusetts Attorney General and gubernatorial wannabe Martha Coakley just can’t escape her past (see: 2010 U.S. Senate special election).

Thus – inevitably – this piece by Ben Schreckinger appeared in the latest edition of Politico Magazine.



Martha Chokeley

Is the worst candidate in Massachusetts about to lose again?

You could call her the Bill Buckner of politics, if she even knew who the Red Sox were.

She’s a Democrat who managed to blow a huge statewide lead to a Republican in deep-blue Massachusetts in epic fashion. And now she’s blown it again. Or at least that will be the epitaph on Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s political career come November if Charlie Baker edges her in the governor’s race.

That’s a big if, of course.

But still.


(Copy and photo both.)

Meanwhile, plug “Martha Chokeley” into the Googletron and you get 660 search results, including:

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 1.44.13 AM

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 1.45.15 AM


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NYT Slowbituary: David Greenglass, Ratted Out the Rosenbergs

From Page One of today’s New York Times:

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 11.40.33 AM

Interesting that Greenglass’s death went unreported for over three months.

Mr. Greenglass died on July 1, a family member confirmed. He was 92. His family did not announce his death; The New York Times learned of it in a call to the nursing home where he had been living under his assumed name.

Even more interesting: Michael and Robert Meeropol, the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were just here in Boston last week for a panel discussion at Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

And they talked about David Greenglass. But forgot to mention that he was dead.


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