All posts by William Stone

About William Stone

"No human being has the right -- under ANY circumstances -- to initiate force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation."

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-03-19

It’s all-comedy all-the-time on this Sunday’s Tales From SYL Ranch.

Tales From SYL Ranch can be heard Sundays from 20:00 – 22:00 UTC at // //

(If you’re not in UTC, either do the math or ask Siri/Google.)

About three-fourths of the show is my informal “best of” “Weird Al” Yankovic. His career stretches back to the early 1980s. The task became narrowing it down to about an hour-and-a-half.

They’re all gems. In fact, I had to cut some I liked for time, so it’s really the best of Al’s best.

Update:  “Weird Al” dropped a new collection, Medium Rarities, this week.  The timing was entirely unintentional.  However, I’ve changed the playlist accordingly.

“It’s Still Billy Joel” has been downgraded from “rare” to “medium rare.”   “Chicken Pot Pie” is still “very rare” and is from my personal collection.

The Holy Grail of “Weird Al” fans, “Belvedere Cruising,” has downgraded all the way to “medium rare.”   It’s the song that got Al his break on the Doctor Demento show; which in turn propelled him to stardom.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy Radio Show

Then I have a new, permanent addition to the podcast. Henceforth, I will be running The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy radio program.

Younger listeners may not be aware of the Hitchhiker’s Guide strange history. It began as a BBC Radio series, then a couple of books, then more radio, then TV, then more books, then a movie, and then more radio.

I’ll be playing all five radio series, starting with series one, episode one on Sunday. I’ll be running them for about four years.

Tales From SYL Ranch can be heard Sundays from 20:00 – 22:00 UTC at // //

And the following two weeks , you’ll hear my voice for the first time — and you will ultimately be grateful for the respite of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy.

I’m going to do a two-part “Old Fan’s Commentary” of Star Trek – The Motion Picture.

I’m doing this not because I have any great backstage knowledge.  I’ll talk about what I know, but that’s not the point.  This is a fan commentary.  I’m going to talk about Star Trek fandom in the 1970s, and how it was for a teen-aged Trekkkie to see the film for the first time.

I’ll be commenting on the Director’s Edition, so if you want to follow along, get out your DVDs, stream from your favorite service, or … well, you know.

Tales From SYL Ranch can be heard Sundays from 20:00 – 22:00 UTC at // //

For reference, here’s the full playlist. With the exception of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, they’re all “Weird Al” Yankovic songs.

  1. Don’t Download This Song
  2. Belvedere Cruising
  3. Another One Rides The Bus
  4. I Love Rocky Road
  5. Ricky
  6. Eat It
  7. Nature Trail To Hell
  8. Chicken Pot Pie
  9. Like A Surgeon
  10. The Brady Bunch
  11. It’s Still Billy Joel To Me
  12. Theme From Rocky XIII: The Rye Or the Kaiser
  13. Amish Paradise
  14. I Lost On Jeopardy
  15. Gump
  16. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 1: Primary Phase – Fit the First
  17. One More Minute
  18. Girls Just Want To Have Lunch
  19. Ebay
  20. Perform This Way
  21. Albuquerque
  22. Party In The CIA
  23. Ode To A Superhero
  24. Bohemian Polka

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-03-12

Inspired by last week’s episode of X-Minus One, “The Green Hills Of Earth”, Tales From SYL Ranch goes full OTR (Old-Time Radio) this week.

Tales From SYL Ranch can be heard live Sundays, 20:00-22:00 UTC on // //

I have four great episodes from two different shows queued-up.

While researching episodes, I uncovered a real X-Minus One treat!

OTR sound quality varies wildly. Sometimes a studio master survived long enough to be transferred to vinyl more-or-less intact. Sometimes the only thing that survived was a wire recording whose microphone was placed at the radio’s speaker — and then transferred to vinyl decades later.

They’re never in stereo. The concept didn’t exist when these shows were made.

However, when I decided on the episodes to use, I made sure to do a thorough Google search. Previously-lost episodes (or better quality ones) appear from time to time.

Then I was stunned. Someone released a number of episodes that have been lovingly (and probably manually) …

Stereo processed!

That’s right, both X-Minus One episodes are in glorious stereo for the first time, and it will knock your frakking space-boots off!

I had to include some Dragnet. Jack Webb was a straight-up radiophonic genius. He employed five foley artists, an unheard-of number at the time.

Where other shows might resort to narration to describe a fight, Dragnet rarely does. If it happens, it will be a line like, “Watch it, Joe!” followed by the unmistakable sound of an oil drum being pushed-down down a flight of stairs.

Webb’s foley artists could carry you through a fistfight without a line being uttered. You knew when Friday threw a punch. You knew when the antagonist threw a bottle at Friday or his partner. There’s never the slightest doubt in your mind what’s happening.

That’s true genius.

There is also Webb’s well-known obsession for technical accuracy. He had two Los Angeles detectives for technical advice, and of course the scripts were culled from real LAPD cases.

Jack Webb invented the police procedural in 1948 with his film, He Walked By Night .

Webb made the mold and every cop show since has been using it.

Just listen to the introduction:

Tell me you’re not hearing Law & Order, CSI, or any other cop show for the last 69 years.

That’s right: they’ve all been ripping-off Jack Webb for 69 years. Law and Order is shameless.

Moreover, these are great episodes. The sound quality isn’t up to the X-Minus Ones, but it hardly matters. Webb’s genius shines from the first minute when Friday steps into a phone booth.

The story is a two-parter. In Part 1 of “The Big Man,” Friday goes undercover for seven months as part of a narcotics investigation. Part 2 is another few months working the same case from a different angle.

Webb loved radio so much that he concurrently produced a Dragnet TV and radio show, with different weekly episodes on each.

“The Big Man” was ultimately adapted for television, but only the last minute or two survives. That’s because at the conclusion of the TV episode, Friday was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant.

That’s how good this episode is.

Did you know that Dragnet was a franchise? Concurrent with the TV and radio series, a 1954 Dragnet film was released in theaters. A novel, The Case Of the Courteous Killer, was published.

The book is very meta, inasmuch as the LAPD detectives Webb used for technical advice (Vance Brasher and Marty Wynn) are characters in the novel.

Years later, Webb remounted Dragnet for TV. He very shortly began spinning off other shows in the “Dragnet-verse.”

Adam-12 is probably the best-known, with Emergency! close on its heels. There was also The D.A., which starred Robert Conrad as district attorney Paul Ryan.

All four shows occasionally crossed-over. In one episode of Dragnet, Adam-12‘s Reed and Malloy are questioned by Friday and Gannon regarding a police brutality incident. In an episode of Adam-12, Paul Ryan is called to a crime scene to offer legal advice about possibly tainting evidence.

In one particularly noteworthy episode of Emergency! characters from that show, Adam-12, and The D.A. all pass each other in a hallway, each working a different aspect of the same case.

(And of course Malloy, the well-known ladies’ man of Adam-12, hits on Dixie McCall, the knockout head nurse of Emergency!)

All that began with what you’ll hear tomorrow in, “The Big Man.”

Listen to Tales From SYL Ranch Sunday from 20:00-22:00 UTC on// //

(I don’t know what time that’s going to be wherever you are. Google it.)

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-03-05

An early document about filk songs.
An early document about filk songs.

On Sunday’s Tales From SYL Ranch, we bring you a generous collection of filk songs.

Wikipedia defines filk music as a musical culture, genre, and community tied to science fiction/fantasy fandom and a type of fan labor. The genre has been active since the early 1950s, and played primarily since the mid-1970s.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says that filk music is the greatest achievement in the history of lifekind.  It is creative, often amusing, and a balm for the soul.

I’ve filled the entire two hours, such that there isn’t any room for even introductions.

The tracklist is:

  • “Banned From Argo” by Leslie Fish and the Dehorn Crew.  This is from my private collection, from a 1977 LP.  The sound quality leaves everything to be desired.
  • “The Saga Begins Live” by “Weird Al” Yankovic
  • “PanGalactic Gargle Blaster Blues” by Diana Gallagher
  • “The Hero Of Canton” by Bandit Jack Potty
  • “The Chef They Call Jayne” by Tom Smith
  • “I’m On Firefly” by Tom Smith
  • “The Engineer’s Hymn” by Bill Boyd
  • “Where, Oh Where, Has C’Thulhu Gone” by Leslie Fish
  • “Bones’ Song” by Bill Mills
  • “Luke, Don’t Kiss Your Sister” by Captain Bran
  • “He’s Dead, Jim” by Julia Ecklar
  • “Waking Up Jedi” by Tom Smith
  • X-Minus One:  “The Green Hills Of Earth”
  • “Highly Illogical” by Leonard Nimoy
  • “The Tribble Is a Fuzzy Beast” by Leslie Fish
  • “The U.S.S. Make Shit Up” by Voltaire
  • “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by William Shatner
  • “Dragoncon” by Leslie Fish
  • “Mister Anderson” – Tony Fabris
  • “The Ballad of Apollo 13” by Julia Ecklar
  • “What’s Up Spock?” by Luke Ski
  • “The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins” by Leonard Nimoy
  • “Theme From Star Trek” by Nichelle Nichols
  • “Black Powder & Alcohol” by Leslie Fish
  • “Yoda Live” by “Weird Al” Yankovic

Be aware that due to the massive volume of filk songs, I’m only presenting a tiny fraction. I’ve come so close to filling two hours that I don’t even have time for introductions.

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-02-26

Star Trek Power Records
I think this is a Neal Adams cover!

It’s a serious trip to the groove-yard of forgotten favorites.

In the 1970s, Power Records produced a series of Star Trek audio dramas for children. The stories were released in several different combinations and sometimes included a comic book of the story.

In all, there were eleven episodes. They’re not great, but not horrible. Most were written by Alan Dean Foster. He has numerous novels to his credit. In the 1970s, he novelized the Star Trek animated series in greatly-expanded form. Most recently Foster wrote the Abrams film novelizations.

You have to overlook a few things. The first is the fact that none of the original cast were involved. Most of the actors at least try to sound like the original cast.

You also have to overlook that none of the sound effects nor music are from the original series. Sometimes it’s rather jarring.

These aren’t all the audio drama that Power Records produced. I’ve had to cut a couple for time and will play them in the future.

Sunday’s tracks, in order, are:

  • Passage to Moauve
  • In Vino Veritas
  • The Crier in Emptiness
  • The Time Stealer
  • To Starve a Fleaver
  • The Logistics Of Stampede
  • A Mirror For Futility
  • A Milo Yiannopoulos ZAP rant (I’m going to lose libertarian friends over this one)

I have also nicknamed the primary TTS voices on the show “Mike” and “Michelle.” Heinlein fans know why.

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-02-19

Battle Beyond the Stars
Roger Corman’s SF Opus Magnum

This Sunday’s “Tales From SYL Ranch” (which is live 20:00-22:00 UTC on is a “reaction show” — but not the kind you think.

One of my favorite indie film companies, Red Letter Media, does a show called “Best Of the Worst“.  The premise is that four of them watch three terrible movies. They then have a round-table discussion where they dissect the awfulness in detail.

(Red Letter Media is responsible for the Plinkett Reviews. If you haven’t watched them, set aside about three hours for the Star Wars reviews. It’s a ride-and-a-half.  Your brain will love you for the rest of your life.)

“Best Of the Worst” is not RiffTrax. They train a camera on themselves and talk during the film, but they don’t include it in the show unless it’s particularly amusing. Instead, they just dissect terrible movies.

They’re really terrible. They’re not so bad they’re good … they’re just bad.

Usually, they’re just stultifyingly boring.  I should know: I saw most of them when they came out.

Because I’m an old man.  And not a fake old man like Mr. Plinkett, but a real old man like Abe Vigoda.

Space Raiders
A plot revolving around re-used special effects.

I generally agree with their reviews, however in the last episode they went wildly off the mark.  They reviewed a “film” called Space Raiders. This was a Roger Corman production.

If you’re not familiar with him, Corman is a well-known Hollywood producer/director who has about a thousand schlock films to his credit.

In 1980, he released a film called Battle Beyond the Stars. It had a real budget with real effects and real models. They weren’t up to Star Wars standards, but for a Corman film it was an Opus Magnum.

Corman being Corman, he then went on to use the music and visual effects in multiple films during the 1980s.

He shamelessly ripped-off the effects shots. He put them in over and over.

Space Rangers was a film written around a bunch of special effects.

Not having seen Battle Beyond the Stars, the RLM crew were impressed. This much money was astonishing for Corman.

What they didn’t know was that the only new shots in Space Rangers were a few matte paintings.

The Boob Ship
The “Boob Ship” was designed by James Cameron!

Battle Beyond the Stars has an interesting score. It was composed by Maestro James Horner.

It sounds like a strange cross between Star Trek – The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I think Corman told Horner he wanted something that sounded like Jerry Goldsmith.

You can easily see why Star Trek II director Nicholas Meyer was attracted to Horner.

The score is one of the most track-complete in my collection. There are different takes, alternate music never used, and some that’s in crappy mono.

In fact, the score is so complete that it runs longer than the length of the show. I’ve had to pull a few tracks — but nothing that really takes away from your enjoyment.

So Sunday, with limited interruption, is the entire score for Battle Beyond the Stars.

(There’s one political rant, though this time a reading of Scott Adams’ blog, “Imaginary News.”)

Join us on “Tales From SYL Ranch” 20:00-22:00 UTC on to find out what happens when Roger Corman has James Horner money!

Note to Red Letter Media:

When are you going to screen the copies of 1974’s The Wrestler and Alongside Night that I sent you?  As always, my expertise in terrible movies remains at your disposal.

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-02-12

Rocky Horror Saved My Life
Rocky Horror Saved My Life

After a couple of weeks of symphonic scores (and increasingly shrill rants), we dive into warmer waters — only to discover a transvestite in the soup.

It’s Rocky Horror week on Tales From SYL Ranch.

It’s rather pointless to go through the tracklist.  The first hour is entirely Rocky Horror, with the songs in the order of the stage play/movie.

The versions of the songs are culled from a number of different sources.  “I Can Make You A Man,” for example, comes from the Original Roxy Cast.  If you’ve never heard this version, it makes far more sense than that which was filmed.

The mix also goes international in a couple of places.

Shock Treatment
Shock Treatment

Beyond the first hour is the few tracks of Shock Treatment that seem to stand to the test of time better than others.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Shock Treatment is a nominal sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It uses a few of the same characters (played by different actors) and ignores Rocky Horror entirely.

Today they’d call it a “soft reboot.”  It’s more aptly an ill-advised attempt to re-capture a cult film’s weirdness that went through so many production problems as to become a mess.

In any case, some of its better tracks are here.

Gordon's alive!
Gordon’s alive!

After that, it’s another cult classic: 1980’s Flash Gordon.

For die-hard Flash Gordon fans, there is an easter egg track at the very end.  It has nothing to do with Gordon being alive (that would be too easy).

There are a couple of rants. The longest is under two minutes.

As always, the last few minutes are Wookie noises.  Last week’s epic fifteen minutes was an accident that will not recur.

Join us for two hours of absolute pleasure with the savior of the universe!

Sunday from 20:00-22:00 UTC on //

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-02-05

I think I have the lineup for this Sunday’s “Tales From SYL Ranch.”

I have an 18-minute libertarian rant by me (or rather one of my surrogate TTS voices — you’ll probably never hear me, and I have a plan for this).

A 26-minute Suite From Star Trek – The Motion Picture.

More libertarian rants. More Star Trek.

You’re going to have to want to listen to libertarian rants from now on. I eased listeners into it last week, now I hit ’em good and hard.

I expect my listenership to hit 0 about halfway through 18-minute rant.

The current playlist:

  • “When Twilight Falls On NGC 891” from Dark Star
    This will henceforth be the opening couple of minutes to give people time to tune in.
  • “Johnny Fever Takes Over” from WKRP In Cincinatti
    The standard show-opener
  • Main Titles from Star Trek: The Original Series
  • Original //aNONradio// station ID
  • A warning of the libertarian rants to come
  • Original program ID
  • “To Boldly Go – End Titles – With Ping” from Star Trek (2009)
  • “Epilogue and End Titles” from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Original program ID
  • “Be Careful What You Wish For (Especially If It Is Hitler)” by Scott Adams
  • Original //aNONradio// station ID
  • Original The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy entry
  • “Stealing the Enterprise from Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
  • “End Credits” from Star Trek: First Contact
  • “An Open Letter To Starbucks” by William Stone III
  • “Kirk Does It Again” from Star Trek: The Original Series: “The Doomsday Machine”
  • “Please Stop the Violence” by William Stone III
  • “Main Titles” from Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • “Pranking” by William Stone III
  • “The Star Wars Effect” by William Stone III
    e aware that this track is 18:29.  It’s a long rant.
  • Original //aNONradio// station ID
  • “Suite From Star Trek – The Motion Picture
    Be advised that this track is just over 29 minutes long.
  • Original //aNONradio// station ID
  • “Vena’s Dance” from Star Trek: The Original Series: “The Cage”
  • Statement of the Zero Aggression Principle
  • Original //aNONradio station ID
  • The first ten minutes of The Star Wars Holiday Special
    This will henceforth be up to ten minutes, depending on how much filler I need.

Tales From SYL Ranch – 2017-01-29

I have what I think is a decent line-up for a premiere show.  I have to admit that it took more time than I thought to come up with two hours’ worth of material that hopefully flows.

Unless something changes, here’s what you’ll be hearing:

  • The ten minutes before the show is filler of the Star Wars Holiday Special.  You probably won’t hear it unless my stream gets cut-to early.
  • Original aNONradio Station ID
  • “The Following Is Transcribed” announcment
  • Original program ID
  • “When Twilight Falls On NGC 891” from the film Dark Star.
  • Weekly show-opener.
  • Star Wars Main Title – Complete”
  • “Princess Leia’s Theme” intruction
  • “Princess Leia’s Theme” from the film Star Wars
  • “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” from The Empire Strikes Back
  • Figrin D’an And The Modal Nodes perform at the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars
  • Original aNONradio station ID
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy entry on the 2016 Presidential Election
  • “Journey Of the Sorcerer” by the Eagles
  • Original aNONradio station ID
  • “The New Empire – Howell Theme”, a Doctor Who theme by Hardwire
  • Animal Stories:  “Truckin Rhino – The Full Story”, a rare version from the 1980s LP.  The current CD version edits the end of the story.
  • “Incoming Fighters” from Star Wars
  • “Han Solo And The Princess” from The Empire Strikes Back
  • “Sail Barge Assault (Alternate)” from Return Of the Jedi
  • “Destroying the Death Star” from Star Wars
  • “Throne Room and End Credits (Revenge Of The Sith Version)”
  • A brief statement on the universe as a computer simulation
  • “Main Titles” from the TV series Lost In Space as performed by the Cincinnati Pops
  • “Prelude And End Title March” from Superman (1978)
  • “Kent Family Theme” from Superman and Superman Returns
  • “The Flying Sequence” from Superman.
  • “The Big Rescue – Climax and Denouement” from Superman
  • Suite From Close Encounters Of the Third Kind
  • “The Raider’s March” from Raiders of the Lost Ark, performed by the Boston Pops and conducted by John Williams.
  • “John Williams Is the Man” performed by the Valhalla High School Concert Choir
  • Original aNONradio station ID
  • A word from Rob Hansen on feeding hatred
  • “Jerry Springer” by “Weird Al” Yankovic
  • “Main Titles” from Doctor Who as performed at the 2010 Proms
  • A word from Bill Stone on feeding hatred.
  • “Benson, Arizona” from Dark Star, performed by Dominik Hauser
  • A statement of the Zero Aggression Principle
  • Original aNONradio station ID
  • The first few minutes of The Star Wars Holiday Special.

As regards the Holiday Special, I decided that five minutes of Wookie noises would be marginally better than “Doolittle’s Solo” from Dark Star.  If there’s any interest, I’ll play the entire 90 minutes of the Holiday Special.

I’m not proud.

Tales From SYL Ranch is live on Sundays from 20:00 – 22:00 GMT at aNONradio (

Tales From SYL Ranch

Tales From SYL Ranch streams on aNONradio every Sunday from 20:00 – 22:00 UTC.

(For those of you in North America, that’s 2pm – 4pm Central time. If you’re not in Central time, I leave the math to you.)

Tales From SYL Ranch shares the same name as my phlog.  Yes, in 2017, I actively phlog. If you want to know why, read my phlog; or wait until I read it on the show some day.

If you’re cool, use Gopher to hit my phlog.  If you need a Web interface, I crudely front-end it at:

The show will be … “eclectic.”

Music will be heavy on film scores (John Williams is The Man), but will include “Weird Al” Yankovic, the occasional Shania Twain, and others.

I may spend two hours playing nothing but Doctor Who theme mixes. You’d be amazed how many there are.

I’m also a libertarian IT wonk. I’ve got some things to say about libertarianism, IT, and where they intersect.

Mostly (much like the late, lamented, Al-TV) I’ll be playing music that I want to listen to.

The show is not currently call-in. I’m dipping my toe into this water via a cunning script developed by an SDF user. As I get more comfortable with the tech, I’ll go live and invite callers.

aNONradio is hosted by my beloved I’ve had an account with SDF for nigh on to twenty yahren. If you’re not a member, sign up, it’s free.

If you’re an IT wonk and don’t know the command-line and shared systems, sign up right away. You can’t do all that cool “Mr. Robot” stuff if you don’t know the command line.

Go to and follow the instructions.

This week’s line-up is currently shaping up to be:

  • The first ten minutes of the audio from The Star Wars Holiday Special.
    It’s nothing but Wookie noises and cheap 70s synth.

    I’m only using it as the header, so you’ll be unlikely to hear it. If there’s some interest, I’ll play the entire ten minutes’ mess.  Heck, I’ll play the entire 90 minutes. I’m not proud.

  • Johnny Fever Takes Over
  • “Star Wars Main Title” (Complete)
  • Me yapping.
  • “Princess Leia’s Theme” (Album)
  • “Jerry Springer” (“Weird Al” Yankovic)
  • Me ranting about something or another.
  • ?
  • “John Williams Is the Man” (Valhalla High School Concert Choir)
  • Something silly for the footer. I haven’t decided what. Maybe South Park’s version of “The Aristocrats,” since it won’t be heard anyway.