Category: Television

The Other Half of Balki


I didn’t remember his name

No, that’s not true


Mark Linn-Baker


What a funny, unforgettable name

I didn’t care to remember it

I suppose

He didn’t matter to me


Really this Mark Linn-Baker was just there

Archived in my brain

Alongside Dana Plato, Ken Kercheval

Lisa Whelchel, Roxie Roker

And the rest of the litany of not quite stars

That worked so hard to barely imprint themselves

On my consciousness


The lot of them barely identifiable

as individual entities

Except as who they pretended to be

And like me

that’s the only important reality


The masks we wear for better or worse

Define us and allow us

To define each other


Whether the me you think you know

Or Mark Linn-Baker,

Cousin Larry

The other half of Balki



© Gayle Force Press 2015




World B. Free


Twenty years ago

I went with my dad

To an old stadium

Gone and dearly departed

If not regretfully

To see my Indiana Pacers who

I loved stridently

At home

In the new Curtis Mathes set that

How were we to know

Lasted far too long


But there in person

For the first time

Was a different kind of feeling

Since they were bad

And most of my focus

Started and stopped on a man named

World B. Free

Although I’m not sure how much of

This poem

Is true

I have no doubt

About World B. Free


It started with his hair

Though it was not exceptional

Except in its lack of exception

Stuck in a time

I may never understand

But all the rest fit too

How much he loved the game

Even when it was an awful game

And tried without ever looking

As if he were trying

Mostly though

The shooting

Like little orange only rainbows

Up and down

With no gold at the end

Only more orange

And then at its beginning

The look that might have been a smile

If he’d known no one could watch


At the end of the game

It seems that no one did

Because watching him play

Might have kept someone from skipping school

Or me from stealing gum

Off the too short racks

Meant to taunt me

At the store

But lots of kids did that

And their parents drank too much

Cheated with a stewardess

Then left

Not because of the children

Even though they’d seen World B. Free

On the court downtown


When I asked later on

My dad said he used to be called Lloyd

That may well be

But he was always World B. to me



 © Gayle Force Press 2002



The Other Half of Balki


I didn’t remember his name

No, that’s not true


Mark Linn-Baker


What a funny, unforgettable name

I didn’t care to remember it I

He didn’t matter to me


Really Mark Linn-Baker was just there

Archived in my brain

Alongside Tracey Gold and Ken Kercheval,

Todd Bridges and Lisa Whelchel,

Roxie Roker and the rest of the litany

Of not quite stars

That worked so hard to barely input themselves

On my consciousness


The lot of them hardly identifiable

As individual entities

Only who they pretended to be

Which for them, like me,

Was the only important reality


The masks we wear for better

And for worse

Define us and allow us

To define each other

Whether the me you think you know

Or Mark Linn-Baker


You remember him, right

Cousin Larry


The other half of Balki




© Gayle
Force Press 2002




February 15 Muhammad Ali


This Black History Month I’m Grateful for Muhammad Ali



“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will
accomplish nothing in life.”


-Muhammad Ali  



I want to spend today’s blog post reflecting on a man who
transcended virtually all the expectations of his life. While a young boxing
champion, the man born Cassius Clay made the first high profile conversion to
Islam. After being brought into the Nation of Islam by Malcolm X*, the newly
christened Muhammad Ali was immediately condemned as an un-American radical. Most
in the mainstream media refused to use his chosen name for years.



When drafted
to enter the Vietnam War, Ali became the most celebrated American to refuse
induction. Ali famously declared that he had no quarrel with the Vietcong.
Although Ali was offered the possibility of spending his military service as a
traveling entertainer, he continued to refuse to participate and risked jail
time for his stance. Although he was not imprisoned, he was stripped of his
championship and not allowed to work as a boxer.



For many years, Ali’s name was associated with Jane Fonda’s
as Vietnam era traitors. It took much longer for Ali’s stance to be recognized
for the act of willing sacrifice that it truly was. Ali eventually was allowed
to return to boxing where he became the first three time heavyweight champion.
More importantly, Ali used his fame and celebrity to support a wide variety of
social causes. As the most famous Muslim in the world, Ali had an extraordinary
following and level of credibility globally. Ali has been honored with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom and in the 1996 Summer Olympics, his lighting of
the Olympic Torch became one of the iconic images of the decade.



Ali’s work as an advocate for peace was generally
understated but recently, ESPN produced a documentary
detailing Ali’s role in freeing American hostages held in Iraq before the
Persian Gulf War. At this stage in his life, Ali’s physical impairments had
already manifested and he risked his health in a profound way on this trip. As
one of the most famous people in the world, Muhammad Ali could have chosen to
bask in luxury and adulation. Instead, he’s continually worked to promote peace
and justice.  He’s become an icon worthy
of the label.



Today I am grateful for Muhammad Ali. You should be too.




*- check back Thursday


Here's a poem I wrote for Ali:



The Greatest


King of all the world

From sinner to savior to saint

And shrill to sagacious to silent

Always beautifully, willfully,




© Gayle Force
Press 2003



Super Bowl Blogging-4th Quarter

Super Bowl Blogging-4th  Quarter



First play and Mendenhall coughs it up. I’m wondering if that’ll be the play of the game. So surreal.


The crowd seems hyped but the Packers don’t. That would be disconcerting if I were a Packer fan.


What’s up with Jordy Nelson? All my images of sure handed, slow footed, White possession receivers are being distorted.

Especially now that he races across the field like a gazelle. Who are you, Jordy Nelson?


Why does AROD keep hopping? He’s done it on 5 or 6 occasions since the 2nd quarter. It looked stupid when Pete Sampras did it but he at least made winning plays out of it.


Yep, Mendenhall fumbles and 3 minutes later the Pack has a nice lead and has finally re-captured the momentum.


It’s great that in the Super Bowl, there are so many video cameras that people holding television cameras are often on camera.


Activity Dogs have to be gone from commercials too.


Painfully tacky, adult oriented commercials co-exist seamlessly with movie ads designed for 4 year olds. Is anyone even trying?


Flozell. Is mother Flo(rence) and father Zell? Is father Flo(yd) and mother Zel(da)?  I really wanna know.


GB 28- PIT 17. This seems like the perfect time for a Big Ben comeback for the ages and Hall of Fame immortality.

SHIT! I wasn't expecting Green Bay to stop playing defense.


I suppose if Ben wins another title this year, he’ll at least have to spend lots of time and energy answering uncomfortable questions. So, there’s that…


WOW. 3 points down after that awesome 2 point conversion.


HA! Pretending that Go Daddy has limits (that the FCC) hasn’t established I mean.


Waaay too many people eat during the Super Bowl for VW to have done a Beetle ad with real beetles. The Idiot Wind is blowing.


If the Packers get any more nervous they’ll have to carry security blankets.


Down the field aggression works for Green Bay! Well, when they catch the ball at least.


The Steelers really could have benefitted from having additional timeouts.


31-25, just over 2 minutes left, trailing time receiving a kickoff. Wouldn’t most of us have been happy if we knew this would be the situation for this year’s Super Bowl?


Another personal foul? In the Super Bowl? Almost comical. Of course, I don’t have any money riding on the outcome so…


Hasn’t Kim Kardashian moved from football to basketball?


Lots of time being spent on meager gains by the Steelers. I don’t understand. 50 seconds and 20 yards?


Pre-route contact? Nah. Not in the Super Bowl.


Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. Now, I can only hope for next years Colts-Vikings grudge match.


What a fun game this was.


Let’s hope Rashard Mendenhall gets treated well. He’s gonna need it.


Super Bowl Blogging-3rd Quarter


Super Bowl Blogging-3rd Quarter



Wow, James Jones dropped a sure fire long gainer and potential touchdown. Instead, Green Bay punts. Ouch.


Immediately followed up by a dubious 15 yard penalty. Double ouch.


Chimps and babies. Is it just me or shouldn’t those commercials have gone out with the Clinton Administration?


Man, momentum is huge! GB was so close to a 28-10 lead. Seemingly, 5 minutes after the drop, it’s 21-17. DAMN!


Nelson dropped another pass he could have caught. Uh oh, are the Packers feeling nervous? With the lead? Not a good sign for them.


All the momentum is on the Steelers side of the ball.


Timothy Hutton didn’t really do that Groupon commercial did he? How much crack must he be smoking?!? What a bitch!


Watching this game reminds me both a) why so many folks think  Big Ben is a great QB and b) why they’re wrong.


Charlotte Jones Anderson?!? Who the fuck is Charlotte Jones Anderson?!?


Massive, absurd overthrow by Ben. See 2 lines previous.


Clay Matthews almost made an insanely great play (instead of just an excellent one). And they say White men can’t jump…


4th and 15 from the Packer 34. A FG brings you within 1 point. I gotta go for the yardage. Send a message: We’re gonna win!


ISH. Horrible kick.


What does this city [Detroit] know about luxury?

They’ve been to Hell and back? To Hell, okay? Back? Not so much.

When your lead ambassador is Eminem, you've got lotsa work to do.


AROD running around a bit, throwing downfield, the Pack being aggressive. This is how you got to the Super Bowl!


All these injured guys are making visual indications of physical distress. No Cutlers here!


56 yd FGA is easily in range says Joe Buck. What a tool.


Uh, throwing a judo chop at someone’s helmet is stupid on many levels. Tramon Williams, this means you.


Green Bay seems entirely discombobulated. Almost frightened. Don’t be scared. Be happy.


Bad challenge, Mike McCarthy. Especially when you’ve already used two timeouts. Ish.


My bad, The Steelers have blown two timeouts, not the Pack. That helps.


How many times will we hear the word ‘correction’ tonight? I need to retain this for next year’s potential drinking games…


I’m thinking Janet Jackson for next year’s Super Bowl. MJ’s dead and there’ll be lots of interests because of NippleGate. Hmmm.




Super Bowl Blogging-2nd Quarter


Super Bowl Blogging-2nd Quarter


Sounds like the production team spent the whole time between commercials trying to make Joe Buck sound less ridiculous. Fail.


Sanders went behind the first down marker on his own. He shouldn’t have been awarded that first down.


Didn’t Shaun Suisham used to play for the Cowboys? How nice this must feel for him to play in JerryLand while the Cowboys have been out of contention for 3 months?


Elton John can’t be this desperate for money…


I saw John Travolta but thought it was Rod Blagoevich. Sad but true.


Wait a sec, is BMW being advertised as a pro-America company?


Coke, THOR and VW with sci-fi themed commercials consecutively.


Big Ben headlines are mentioned but unmentioned a) this was not the first allegation of sexual assault and b) the DA in the Georgia case was convinced Ben was guilty but the accuser was apparently so drunk she couldn’t be a strong witness. If that’s the only 15 seconds they spend on this, I’ll be disappointed.


Again, there’s conversation about Ben’s lack of mobility just before he takes off running. Hello guys, it’s not disabling him now so don’t force your square storyline into that round hole.


A chimp commercial. Really, in 2011? Who is Career Builder’s lead marketer, Homer Simpson?


2 INTs for Big Ben

Legacy is slipping away quickly.


Green Bay 21, Pittsburgh 3. Jake is Super excited.


Troy Aikman makes a great point about the Pack’s 3rd touchdown of the half. I was starting to wonder why he was in the booth.


Advertising FB access as a selling point for a car frightens me.


It feels odd to me that Marvel has flown so far ahead of DC in terms of its movies. DC has, arguably, the three most iconic comic heroes in Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. So, what happened?


Watching injured players walk down long hallways toward medical care makes me wonder why there aren’t golf carts at the ready.


Green Bay secondary injuries may combine with Steelers desperation to provoke a massive second half shootout. Hmm, that could be good.


Actually, it looks like the injured guys are walking through a sports bar toward medical care. That’s much better.


The last Steelers drive was really impressive. Ben and Hines Ward have clearly played together for a long time. It’s odd seeing the high speed, frazzled looking offense playing against the Packers because Brett Favre was a master of that style.


This has not been the kind of first half I expected, largely due to Pittsburgh sloppiness, but it’s been lots of fun!












Super Bowl Blogging-1st Quarter

Super Bowl Blogging-1st Quarter


Why defer possession? Is that about gamesmanship or attempting to stave off nervousness?


Ah, momentum swings quickly.  The Steelers fans got so excited at the muffed punt then 2 minutes later, the Pack is at midfield and feeling great.


I don’t really care that much about Aaron Rodgers’ family history and how hard it was to be a late first round draft pick. Such tales of misery should wait for the second half.


I can already imagine the squawking from Packers fans about the near miss catch by Nelson on the first drive, followed by the near miss at pinning the Steelers near the goal line. So close, yet so far away…


The best advertising minds in the country came up with this tripe? I am glad to see that Kenny G still looks like, uh, Kenny G…


How many different ways will announcers obliquely refer to Ben Roethlisberger’s ‘troubles’ or ‘year’ or ‘difficulties’? I hope folks are using this as a drinking game…


Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel in the same movie? Wow, what a great chance to see the baddest ambiguously ethnic action stars in the same movie!


A Rod and Cameron Diaz? Are they the least Latin Latino stars in the US? Hey, I’m just asking? (Even the Anthem Killer did a Spanish language album a few years ago.)


If Aaron Rodgers is wearing a different helmet because he’s been concussed a couple times, shouldn’t everyone wear that different (presumably better) helmet?


Great pass to Nelson. It would have been hard for Nelson to drop that one.


When will people start calling Aaron Rodgers ‘A-Rod’? Andy Roddick was never gonna get it but perhaps…

I love that play callers get lots of credit in the NFL. On the touchdown play, the receiver WAS NOT OPEN! The play worked because AROD (see, no hyphen) threw a PERFECT pass. Not because of any schematic genius.


Cowboys vs. Aliens followed by Roman Gods vs. Indians? WTF? (No, not ‘win the future’.)


So, has Big Ben been 'unredeemed' now?


15 yard celebration penalty. Nope, you’re not allowed to celebrate the biggest play of your life in the No Fun League.


Boz Scaggs? Who knew?


Wow, Eminem sells tea? Wait a sec, did I write that? Yep. Eminem sells tea. Isn’t that the 4th sign of the Apocalypse?


Emmanuel Sanders? What a fun name.


It’s still hard for me to hear the words “good protection” associated with Big Ben.


Within 10 seconds, Joe Buck says something about Big Ben like…

~ ’He looks like he can hardly move.

Now, he can move!’

C’mon Joe Buck, you’re better than that!





Super Bowl Blogging 2011- Part 1



I didn't hate Christina Aguilera until tonight. Now, I never want to hear her again. She butchered the Star Spangled Banner in a phenomenally painful way. Marvin Gaye made the anthem soar, swoon and shine during the NBA All-Star game in LA (I think in 1983). It made me want to hear the song over and over. This performance makes me want to hit X-tina. Hard.


So far, this pre-game (only since 6) has been atrocious. The Walter Payton Award was great but super quick. The rest has sucked. I also couldn't help thinking: "I wonder how many years it will be before Big Ben wins this award?"


Is Michael Douglas dying? Did I get that right? <sigh> Sad, I know.


Deion Sanders' tie looks like a candy cane. He's probably still fast enough to have run 20 yards while the coin was in the air.


Rachel doesn't like football but she thinks it's absurd that the networks force players and coaches to chat just before kickoff. She's right.