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M*A*S*H marks 30th anniversary of historic finale

I remember the finale of M*A*S*H like it was yesterday, instead of turning 30 years old this very day.

On Feb. 28, 1983, I sat in front of the TV at home with my hand on the VCR control, dutifully hitting "pause" in the recording so that my Mom would have a commercial-free version of her favorite show's final episode.  It wasn't even a remote control; it was wired, keeping me within 3 feet of our behemoth TV. I don't remember caring one way or the other that the show was ending; it felt like a chore having the watch it week after week. (I was clearly young and stupid in 1983.)

Years later in college, I found the aging VHS tape (packed in a box with newer copies of Beverly Hills Cop and Caddyshack) and popped it into the same machine that had recorded it. And finally I got it. And by the time we see "GOODBYE" written in stones near the chopper pad, I was in full-on weeping mode.

Here are some other recollections and trivia about the show:

THE LENGTH: The episode, titled Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, was 2 1/2 hours long. It was the show's 251st episode and conclused the series' 11th season. …

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Thursday's lost and found: The Insiders 'Ghost On a Beach'

The Insiders emerged from Chicago in 1987 with the title song from their album Ghost On a Beach. The album sold more than 100,000 copies and the single was a Top 10 hit on the Mainstream Rock Charts, however, record company troubles with Epic hampered the growth of The Insiders career just as quickly as it started to bloom.

The album is hard to find and expensive on the secondary market, however it is truly one of the lost treasures of ‘80’s American rock with great guitar hooks and harmonies reminiscent of the Everly Brothers.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Harlem Shake vs. Harlem Shuffle vs. Harlem Nights

Harlem Shake? It's all the buzz now on the Internet, but surprisingly it's not some lame sequel to an '80s movie. (That actually might be preferable.) Instead it apparently is a song by Baauer, whoever the heck that is. Still, when I hear "Harlem," the 9-year-old version of me wants to shout Globetrotters. The '80s version of me, however, wants to compare it to the Harlems of the '80s.

HARLEM SHAKE
Pros: Refers to dance from Harlem introduced in 1981. Even Nascar star Jeff Gordon, who ought to be stuck in the '80s, does it with his pit crew.
Cons: Like most songs today, it barely qualifies as actual music.
Ruling: Like the Macarena, this too shall pass.

HARLEM SHUFFLE
Pros: Originally a song recorded in 1963 by Bob & Earl, it had new fame in 1986 when the Rolling Stones covered it on their album Dirty Work.
Cons: Sampled in House of Pain's 1992 hit Jump Around. Plus, of all the Stones songs of the '80s, this might be the most irritating. (And I say that knowing how bad Emotional Rescue was.)
Ruling: At least the MTV video was amazing. …

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Bobby Brown sentenced to 55 days in jail for DUI

This time, it was the judge's prerogative. Oh, come on. Can't I have a little fun? I supposed I shouldn't be cruel when it comes to a DUI sentence. Sorry, Bobby Brown. We still rock wit'cha.

The former New Edition frontman and solo '80s star was sentenced to 55 days in an L.A. jail on Tuesday for a drunken driving case. According to reports, Brown pleaded no contest to charges he was under the influence and driving on a suspended license when he was arrested in October.

He has until March 20 to report to jail. 

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Wednesday's gem: The Rainmakers' 'Small Circles'

Before I was old enough to get into clubs, a Kansas City band called Steve, Bob and Rich use to cause a stir when they came to town. They soon changed their name to The Rainmakers and released their self-titled album that was cited by Newsweek as the best debut album of 1986.

The album showcased the witty lyrics of Bob Walkenhorst and gained a fan of author Stephen King, who included his lyrics in his book The Tommyknockers. It has been said that The Rainmakers sound like what would happen if fellow Missourians Mark Twain and Chuck Berry started a band and are mentioned by name in their fantastic song Downstream.

In 1987, the Rainmakers released the single Small Circles, a perfect piece of pop that sounded like a hit, but never came close. After some time apart, the Rainmakers still get together several times a year and play sold out shows in the Midwest.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Lost and found: Have a little faith in John Hiatt

In 1985, John Hiatt hit rock bottom. His music sales were in the toilet, he was an alcoholic and his wife and mother of his one-year old daughter committed suicide. By 1987, Hiatt cleaned up his act, found love again and in four days recorded and released the comeback album Bring the Family.

The songs on the album continue to live on in movies and cover versions. Bonnie Riatt scored a big hit remaking Thing Called Love. Alone in the Dark is the background song for Jamie Lee Curtis’ big striptease in True Lies. Hootie and the Blowfish’s album title of Cracked Rear View is borrowed from a line in Learning How To Love You. However, the most familiar song is Have a Little Faith In Me, which has been covered countless times and is included in at least eleven movies and TV episodes according to IMDB, including prominent moments in Benny & Joon and Phenomenon.

Hiatt is a machine and continues to pound out albums, including 2012’s Mystic Pinball.  …

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Rick Springfield and son returning to 'General Hospital'

Rick Springfield is about to check into General Hospital again. And this time he's bringing his kid. For real.

The 63-year-old singer will reprise his role as Dr. Noah Drake for several episodes in April, People magazine reports. It's just in time for the soap opera to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Joining him is his real-life son, Liam Springthorpe (Rick's real last name), who will play an undercover cop.

Springthorpe says they won't appear in any scenes together.

"I think it makes it much more pleasing and applicable for me because I think at least for me personally, I have always tried to keep a bit of distance from … my father's path, and respectfully so," Springthorpe told People.

BTW, People Celebrates General Hospital hits newsstands nationwide on March 1. (But I know you're already secretly a subscriber, so just keep watching your mailbox.)


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Bon Jovi ticket sales need a shot of (bad) medicine; discounts offered for Tampa show

Bon Jovi has been coasting on his good hair, tight jeans and aging hits for a while now. So I guess we shouldn't be shocked to see that Travel Zoo is offering discounts on seats to his March 1 show at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Tickets that normally go for $30 (still a deal by today's standards) are now just $20 on Travel Zoo. And the promotion DEFINITELY makes a point of saying that "the concert will feature classic hits (yay!) and new music (boo!) from the March 2013 album What About Now."

Actually, I shouldn't boo new material. After all, it gives us a chance to sit down, check our phone messages and get another beer. That's pretty much exactly what happened the last time Bon Jovi played the Forum.

Still, in case you're wondering how many hits he'll be playing, here's the latest setlist:

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Ace Frehley's New York home in foreclosure

Ace Frehley is definitely not back (BACK!), back in the New York groove. The former KISS guitarist could be homeless not that his Westchester, NY, home is in foreclosure.

It seems the 61-year-old "spaceman" (not the be confused with the Star Child) hasn't been making mortgage payments for two years. (That just makes Ace one of us -- underwater in a homeowner nightmare of a pickle.)

According to reports, Frehley owes $703,000 on his $735,000 three-bedroom, three-bathroom home. He also owes $20k in property taxes. 

It's not known if Frehley still lives in the property; lately he's been hanging in Vegas at a Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp. Perhaps now is a good time to find a KISS slot machine, Ace, and try your luck.

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Janet Jackson marries for third time to Qatar billionaire

Janet Jackson is officially married -- again. What a minute. We thought she was still married to '80s hero James DeBarge! (Nope, that was annulled WAY back in 1985.)

The new future ex-husband's name is Wissam Al Mana, and reports describe him as a "billionaire businessman." (Those are probably the best kind.)  And oddly enough, their marriage isn't new but was something that happened last year. It was only confirmed by Janet on her official website today: 

"The rumours regarding an extravagant wedding are simply not true," she writes. "Last year we were married in a quiet, private, and beautiful ceremony. Our wedding gifts to one another were contributions to our respective favourite children’s charities. We would appreciate that our privacy is respected and that we are allowed this time for celebration and joy. With love, Wissam and Janet"

In case you're wondering about the unusual name, Wissam is from Qatar. This is Janet's third marriage.

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John Waite on Facebook: I ain't missing the '80s at all

John Waite was a hit machine back in the '80s with tunes like Change, Missing You and If Anybody Had a Heart. But these days, it seems he's definitely ready to put that all behind him.

"I need to be in a bar band. Just play," Waite wrote on his Facebook page today. "I absolutly f---ing hate all this Classic Rock sh--!! Its just music. Why do all the old farts have to come out of the closet and embarras every one!! Being 80s? Who cares? Write something new !!!"

I'm guessing maybe John had an ugly encounter at a recent gig to prompt the outburst, and that's fair enough. There's nothing more aggravating than over-served fans yelling out song titles to performers who'd rather showcase their newer work. And to his credit, if you look at John's recent setlists, he's still playing the hits.

And if you didn't know, John's never been shy about hiding his contempt -- either real or just a little dramatized -- for days of yesteryear. He has previously slammed his bandmates in Bad English. And when I interviewed him a few years ago for Stuck in the '80s, I asked if he still connected with the '80s. …

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Pizza in the movies: Havin' a snack ... and learning about Cuba

Was pizza ever as hot as it was in the '80s? From the snack bar at Super Skate to the movies we watched while we're weren't couple-skating to REO Speedwagon, pizza was THE snack item of the decade.

How many pizza movies can you name? Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Do the Right Thing. Hell, even Mystic Pizza.

Rather than make a coherent argument myself, some friends have done it for me. Witness the power of this fully operational pizza movie montage, featuring a cheesy supercut of DOZENS of great pizza moments in film. Click here to watch the video.

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Lost and found: Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers

Americana Rock was huge in the ‘80s. If it wasn’t John Mellencamp singing about Pink Houses, then it was Bruce Springsteen reminiscing about his Glory Days. However, not all heartland artists are remembered as well as Bob Seger, so this week we shine a light on those artists that flew under the radar.

Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers were appointed by Rolling Stone and others to be the next big thing after the release of their 1988 album Rumble. Somewhere between Gun 'N Roses, Nirvana and rap music, Americana Rock took a seat near the back of the bus, but we’ll always have If We Never Meet Again that peaked at No. 48 on the charts.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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Carrie Fisher: Long lost Slave Leia pic, Star Wars VII and crazy cruise rumors

If you're a fan of Carrie Fisher in her Slave Leia costume -- and really, who isn't? -- then enjoy this "long lost photo" of Carrie off camera during the filming of Return of the Jedi. The photo was recently discovered and is making the rounds on the Internet at the usual geek sites. And I say "geek" with all the love in my heart.

Hopefully we'll be seeing Fisher again as Leia. The rumor mill reports that she might reunite with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford for Star Wars VII. (John Williams could also return to do the music.)

There's also an ugly report out there that a "Carrie Fisher Cruise" got a little out of control. One website, the Christian Post, pulled together reports that the actress, who has battled drug problems, was seen swimming fully clothed in Half Moon Bay, one of the stops of the Holland America ship she was traveling on with fans. Jeesh. I'd rather see Carrie doing that than hobnobbing with Ewoks again.

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Friday lost and found: The Sunnyboys' 'You Need a Friend'

Perhaps the most egregious mistake on Lost and Found so far has been the absence of Australian videos. I will shout from the rooftops for my love of Australia in the ‘80s and vow to rectify my shortcomings by featuring The Sunnyboys' You Need a Friend.

Hailing from Sydney, The Sunnyboys named themselves after an Australian orange-flavored ice treat that was popular in the ‘80s. The Sunnyboys scored a few hits in their native land, including You Need a Friend, which landed them a 1982 appearance on Countdown (Australia’s equivalent to American Bandstand). The band never reached the states and have broken up and reunited multiple times.

- Kevin Wuench, guest blogger

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