Friday, September 30, 2011

If I Tweeted - September 2011


I don't, but, if I did, this is what you would have seen this month.

#LenSpeaks  My 401K just sunk faster than the 1964 Phillies, the 2007 Mets, and....ta da, the 2011 Boston Red Sox.

#LenSpeaks  Do all these stimulus plans come with the same doctors' warnings you hear about Cialis and Viagra?

#LenSpeaks  Actor Morgan Freeman thinks that the Tea Party is racist.  I think most of his movies suck.  There!  We're even.

#LenSpeaks  Rick Perry looks like some guy who's trying to convince you that you're getting a good deal with that 1972 Gremlin.

#LenSpeaks  If Michelle Obama is so worried about obesity in America, what does she really think of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie?  For Pete's sake, his body has two different area codes.

#LenSpeaks  I'm waiting for the celebrity edition of "Dancing with the Stars."

#LenSpeaks  So, that dumbbell Tony Bennett thinks we were the ones who provoked the 9/11 attacks.  Uh huh.  He obviously left another body part in San Francisco.

#LenSpeaks  Tony Bennett is perhaps one of the most overrated singers in history.  My grandmother was right.  She didn't like him and neither do I.

#LenSpeaks  Does every one of those air shows always wind up with a deadly crash?

#LenSpeaks  Every Presidential campaign debate needs to end with a pie fight.

#LenSpeaks  I keep hearing that Greece is on its last legs.  Personally, I never cared for the Broadway musical or the movie. 

#LenSpeaks  Clayton Kershaw finishes the season with the NL triple crown of pitching: wins, ERA, and strikeouts. To quote Vin Scully: if that doesn't lock down the Cy Young award, "there will be some questions that have to be answered."

#LenSpeaks  Baseball star Manny Ramirez arrested for punching out wife. Manny being Meany.

#LenSpeaks  Manny's arrest was a surprise to me.  He couldn't hit anything last year.

#LenSpeaks  OMG. I was in NY and listened to the Dodgers-Giants game on XM radio. It was the Giants feed and Jon Miller was awful the last three innings. Getting things wrong. Stumbling over his words. Was this a stroke in progress? Thank God for Vin Scully.

#LenSpeaks  The Michael Jackson case has finally hit the courtroom.  Is there even a defense?  Who keeps that much anesthesia in their house?
 
#LenSpeaks  Jackson was on so many drugs that his autopsy report must have looked like the backroom at Rexall.

#LenSpeaks  The trial attorneys showed a photo of a dead Jackson lying on a hospital gurney.  His loopy fans revolted...saying he sure get more dignity.

#LenSpeaks  Hey, a known drug addict and pedophile can only get so much dignity.

#LenSpeaks   Because, at Michael's house, you could always tell when it was bedtime.   The big hand was on the little hand.

#LenSpeaks   One more....why did Michael Jackson run out to Walmart?  He heard boys underwear was 1/2 off. 

#LenSpeaks   So can we assume that Dr. Conrad Murray is not going to be the new surgeon general?

#LenSpeaks    Hallmark now marketing sympathy cards for those who are laid off from their jobs.  That alone could bring the economy back.

#LenSpeaks    If the card company was smart, they would also start producing cards for politicians who are voted out of office because too many people are being laid off.

#LenSpeaks    Larry King is giving up his Dodger season tickets because he hates giving his money to owner Frank McCourt.  Okay, one creep out of the stadium, one to go.

#LenSpeaks    I've seen some recent photos of Larry King and he's starting to look like a chimp who got hold of somebody's "Just For Men."

#LenSpeaks  The Chabad telethon was held this month.  At least, that's what I thought it was.  Unless, of course, somebody is now televising a new show called "Dancing with the Rabbis."

#LenSpeaks  Some of the dopiest fans in baseball are Arizona Diamondback fans.  Matt Kemp is a MVP and Triple Crown candidate.  Fans boo his every move.

#LenSpeaks  Of course, this was the same fanbase that broke out into a chant of "Beat LA" two minutes after an unconscious Hiroki Kuroda was carted off in an ambulance.

#LenSpeaks  That's why the state of Arizona deserves to be overrun by Mexicans.

Dinner last night:  Tortellini with chicken and pesto.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Morons of the Month for September 2011

The best thing about this month's morons is that I can re-purpose them into other entries if I so choose.  They could also be...

Assholes of the Month for September 2011, or...

Shitheads of the Month for September 2011, or...

People We Most Need to Deport to Bolivia of the Month for September 2011.

But, for now, let's just salute them here for being the jerks they are.  Because, indeed, both of these schmucks can be addressed under a single umbrella designation.

"The Over-educated, Whining, Miserable Ultra-Liberal."

You know the type?  Those folks who are so incredibly intolerant of your opinion and are so convinced that they are smarter than you.  Whether it be politics or the weather or the Yankee pitching rotation for the playoffs, only their idea counts as fact.  All others?  Stand in line behind me.  And wipe my shoes before you leave. 

Smug, arrogant, and unrelenting.  Espousing the rights of the downtrodden and the oppressed.  Meanwhile, none of them would be caught dead being even remotely north of 59th Street in Manhattan.  Hypocrisy on steroids that Roger Clemens wouldn't even take.

Our first candidate is...ta, da...Paul Krugman.  Op-ed columnist of the New York Times, which is fast becoming a newspaper that you read only for recipes and Broadway theater listings.

Krugman's picture alone is enough to scare you.  He reminds me of one of those snotty neighbors who sneers at you in the elevator of a luxury high rise on Sutton Place.  Just because your sneakers are dirty.

Yep, Krugman is one of those over-educated louts who is allowed to flap his gums and type his vitriole simply because he's got a fancy university pedigree.  B.A. from Yale.  PhD from MIT.  Taught at both those schools as well as Stanford.  Glory be!  He even has a Nobel Prize, but, given Barack Obama got one after just six weeks in office, that honor is really no more impressive than getting one of those Peoples' Choice Awards from the late Army Archerd.

Krugman is an unabashed defender of the welfare state, which means he doesn't live within fifty miles of anybody who actually resides in a welfare state.  Supposedly a genius on economics, Krugman writes virtually unchecked dribble that is frequently disputed in circles where brainpower actually exists.  Even Paul's second wife is over-educated as well and she's allegedly this renowned author of economic textbooks.  The fact that her main job right now is that of a yoga instructor is a bit baffling.  Nevertheless, you get the snapshot. 

He's much more intelligent than anybody else on the planet.  Mark his words.

But, it wasn't a matter of dollars and nonsense that gets Krugman this monthly honor from yours truly.  Nope, it was his New York Times column of September 11 that really rankled the common folk.  And deservedly so.  Written under the banner of "The Conscience of a Liberal,"  Krugman chose the worst possible day and time (10th anniversary of that horror) to pick another one of his fights. 

It wasn't a long piece, but it sure did pack a punch.

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

Huh?

More specifically...are you fucking kidding me?????

Forget the fact that I have just sullied this blog permanently by including those vile and despicable words.  They needed to be reprinted here to expose Paul Krugman as the bully that he is.  Once again, we have somebody who has all the answers to what happened on that horrific day.  Forget the almost 3,000 people that died.  Ignore the millions of lives that changed.  For Krugman, it's all about the opportunity to cash in one more time with an unabashed pounding of those he doesn't agree with politically.

Say and think what you want about folks like Guiliani and Bush and anybody else who was in charge that day, they did help us to get through it.  And let's not discount the albeit brief period of patriotism that enveloped our nation for the days immediately after the tragedy.  To say they "cashed in" is perhaps  the most rephrensible words in print since Adolf Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf."

Meanwhile, Krugman's biggest dilemma on that day was that he might have had some difficulty getting a cab on the Upper East Side.  Or maybe he had to delay his next trip out to the Hamptons.

Yes, we live in a democracy.  Yes, we have freedom of speech.  But, with folks like Paul Krugman, the power of the Constitution is a double-edged sword.  Because he unfortunately has the right to write trash like this.

And, then, there's our second moron for September...

Filmmaker and professor Thom Andersen.

Who, you say?

This guy, I say.

Still have no clue who he is?  Well, neither did I a few weeks back.  And I barely lived to tell the tale.

It was an innocent Saturday night and some friends and I were looking for a cinematic diversion.  Hmmm, there seems to be an interesting documentary at Santa Monica's terrific Aero Theater.  "Los Angeles Plays Itself."  A three-hour film that is not on DVD and rarely screened anywhere for that matter.  All about Los Angeles and the part it has played in the history of movies.  All brought to us by the guy in the photo above.  The jerk with the bedhead.

Sounds great, doesn't it?  That's what I thought, too. 

I couldn't wait for it to be over. 

The movie started off in a most innocuous way.  Lots of movie clips of real-life Los Angeles locations.  But, as the first half of the film unspooled, I noticed a little quirk about the clips being shown.  Most were not mainstream productions.  And, if they were, they focused on either the destruction of the city and/or some sinister underbelly.  Was this really a homage to Hollywood history?  Or was there another agenda at work here altogether?

After a fifteen-minute intermission, we got the sad answer.

The second half of Andersen's movie was nothing but a relentless bashing of the city.  And, at its heart, was a socialistic theme that was two salamis short of Benito Mussolini.  Any one in power in Los Angeles?  Bad.  Police Department?  Really, really bad.  Anybody rioting or stealing?  Well, obviously, they had a good reason for doing so.

Frame after frame, we listened to Andersen yammer on about this terrible place he lives in.  And, frame after frame, he came off more and more as somebody with an axe to grind.  Perhaps, his bitterness comes from an inability to get film work himself in good ole mainstream Hollywood.  As the saying goes, those that can't will teach.  But, if these are the lessons you're getting in his classroom, it's time to dump his curriculum from the school. 

And, let's not forget a raging double standard at play here for Mr. Andersen.  His documentary is not available on DVD because he did not pay the rights fees to use many of the clips he shows.  And those monies would go to some perhaps lowly filmmakers.  Some of those same poverty-stricken people he wants us, his audience, to embrace unconditionally.

At the end of this borderline Communist indoctrination, the dummies in the Aero audience applauded.  But, then again, in super-liberal and snooty Santa Monica, they always will.  These are people whose idea of oppression is when their housekeeper asks for Saturdays off.

Meanwhile, I had been completely snookered by Andersen and I was irate.  Here's another sterling example of somebody exploiting his education and intelligence under the guise of "freedom of speech."

I don't deny Thom Andersen's right to say what he wants.  I don't deny Paul Krugman's right to write what he wants.

I do deny them the notion that all other opinions should be immediately dismissed simply because they were not conjured up in their over-stuffed heads.  Especially when those notions they espouse can be easily riddled with damning double standards and fact checks.

Lots of diplomas on the wall do not necessarily mean you are solely right.  They simply mean that you have much more wall space than the rest of us.

Dinner last night:  Belgian waffle---breakfast for dinner---at Barney's Beanery.



.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Date in History - September 28

Happy birthday, Thomas Crapper and no, he did not.  Invent the toilet, that is.  But, he did....well, you'll see.

551 BC:  PHILOSOPHER CONFUCIUS IS BORN.

So now we have something to write on those little pieces of paper that get stuffed into cookies.

48 BC:  POMPEY THE GREAT IS ASSASSINATED ON THE ORDER OF KING PTOLEMY OF EGYPT.

Pompey the Great is now Pompey the Dead.

365:  ROMAN USURPER PROCOPIUS BRIBES TWO LEGIONS PASSING BY CONSTANTINOPLE AND PROCLAIMS HIMSELF ROMAN EMPEROR.

Talk about being pushy.

935:   SAINT WENCESLAS IS MURDERED BY HIS BROTHER, BOLESLAUS I OF BOHEMIA. 

What happened to the good king we sing about at Christmas time?

1066:  WILLIAM THE BASTARD INVADES ENGLAND BEGINNING THE NORMAN CONQUEST.

Hence, the name.

1238:  MUSLIN VALENCIA SURRENDERS TO THE BESIEGING KING JAMES I OF ARAGON THE CONQUEROR.

Gee, this sure is a tough day to be a king.

1542:  NAVIGATOR JOAO RODRIGUES CABRILHO OF PORTUGAL ARRIVES AT WHAT IS NOW SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.

He was quite disappointed when he found the zoo was closed for maintenance.

1708:  PETER THE GREAT DEFEATS THE SWEDES AT THE BATTLE OF LESNAYA.

There's an awful lot of guys in history who thought they were Great.

1787:  THE NEWLY COMPLETED UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION IS VOTED ON BY THE U.S. CONGRESS TO BE SENT TO THE STATES FOR APPROVAL.

Back in the days when we actually had united states.

1836:  INVENTOR THOMAS CRAPPER IS BORN.

...but he did invent the ball cock that is used in flush toilets.  And that's a funny name, too.

1844:  OSCAR I OF SWEDEN-NORWAY IS CROWNED KING OF SWEDEN.

But apparently wasn't Great.

1867:  TORONTO BECOMES THE CAPITAL OF ONTARIO.

And the Maple Leafs couldn't be far behind.

1868:  BATTLE OF ALCOLEA CAUSES QUEEN ISABELLA II OF SPAIN TO FLEE TO FRANCE.

Trying to avoid becoming Isabella the Sick.

1895:  SCIENTIST LOUIS PASTEUR DIES.

Don't cry over spilled....

1901:  BROADCAST PIONEER WILLIAM S. PALEY IS BORN.

It's funny that, on the very same day....

1901:  TV HOST ED SULLIVAN IS BORN.

Who wound up making oodles of money for his fellow birthday mate.

1909:  CARTOONIST AL CAPP IS BORN.

H'ppy b'rthdy.

1918:  ACTOR ARNOLD STANG IS BORN.

He was the voice of Top Cat.  And also ate an awful lot of Chunky Candy.

1919:  ACTRESS DORIS SINGLETON IS BORN.

Carolyn Appleby from I Love Lucy!!!!

1928:  THE U.K. PARLIAMENT PASSES THE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OUTLAWING CANNABIS.

Buzz killers.

1928:  SIR ALEXANDER FLEMING NOTICES A BACTERIA-KILLING MOLD GROWING IN HIS LABORATORY, DISCOVERING WHAT LATER BECAME KNOWN AS PENCILLIN.

That's what he gets for buying week-old bread.

1934:  ACTRESS BRIGITTE BARDOT IS BORN.

Now we're talking.

1939:  WARSAW SURRENDERS TO NAZI GERMANY DURING WORLD WAR II.

You really didn't expect them to put up much of a fight, did you?

1951:  CBS MAKES THE FIRST COLOR TELEVISIONS AVAILABLE FOR SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

So how come all the first color TV programs were on NBC???

1960:  MALI AND SENEGAL JOIN THE UNITED NATIONS.

Who lowered the annual dues?

1964:  ACTOR HARPO MARX DIES.

His last words?   ............................................

1971:  THE PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM PASSES THE MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT BANNING THE MEDICINAL USE OF CANNABIS.

And even more buzz killing.

1978:  POPE JOHN PAUL I DIES.

He barely had a chance to unpack.

1991:  JAZZ MUSICIAN MILES DAVIS DIES.

Miles is now six feet under.

2003:  TENNIS PLAYER ALTHEA GIBSON DIES.

Game, set, match.

2003:  DIRECTOR ELIA KAZAN DIES.

He was on the waterfront, but now is a bit further inland.

2004:  DESIGNER GEOFFREY BEENE DIES.

No longer in fashion.

2004:  RADIO DISC JOCKEY SCOTT MUNI DIES.

This guy was a real scumbag.  I'm just saying...

Dinner last night:  Chili.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Batting 1.000

How many times have you heard this or even said it yourself?

"The movie wasn't as good as the book."

Well, here's a rarity for you.  The mind-numbingly dull book "Moneyball" has been turned into an exciting, brilliant, and clearly Oscar-worthy movie. 

Surprise.

I read the book by Michael Lewis when it was all the rage back in 2003.  It took me weeks, perhaps even a whole baseball season, to get through it.  Loaded with stats and computer talk, I felt like I was back in my high school calculus class.  I didn't understand that and I certainly couldn't comprehend a thing in this tome which detailed the 2002 Oakland Athletics' season as executed by a couple of computer geeks.

I am now one of those oldtime baseball fans who is uber-fond for the good ole days.  When I used to hear my dad wax poetically about New York Yankee teams of the 40s and 50s, I would scoff.  Now, as young'ins talk baseball with me and throw out statistical barometers like WARs and WHips, I discover that I am no longer the scoffer, but the scoffee.

This is not to say that I haven't been sucked into the stat world in the past.  The genesis of what happens in "Moneyball" comes from some ultimate digithead named Bill James, who, back in the late 80s, took these "sabermetrics" and published them in annual team analyses called Baseball Abstract. 

My good friend, the Bibster, got me turned on to these books and we'd anxiously wait each spring to hear what James' computer program had to say about our favorite team.  One pass through the book would have my head spinning and crammed with lots of useless numbers.  The more I got into these sabermetrics, the more I realized that there was one key element of the game of baseball that could never ever be measured.

Heart.

Frankly, Bill James could never have explained in numbers how the 1969 New York Mets managed to go from last place to winning the World Series with a team batting average barely over .230.  His analyses could not possibly tell us how a secondary Dodger team in 1988 beat all the odds and rode to the World Series with their star outfielder playing on one leg.  All the EXCEL formulae in the universe cannot relate to us how a Boston Red Sox team in 2004 came from three games down to beat the usually unbeatable New York Yankees in the League Championship Series simply because Dave Roberts stole second base.

There are countless other stories like that throughout the ages.  None of them explained by numbers.  All of them backed up by examples of heart, courage, and the good will of the baseball gods.

Whether you buy into sabermetrics or not, "Moneyball" is still a terrific cinematic adaptation of an otherwise meandering book.  Primarily because, amid all the stats that the Oakland Athletics' management used to rebuild their team, the script allowed us to see the heart behind those involved. 

Billy Beane, a former New York Met farmhand and a virtual failure on the field himself, is the general manager of the Oakland team.  In order to compete with teams like the Yankees who have a team salary that rivals the national debt, he employs stats like "on-base percentage" to populate his roster and hopefully manage to still field a winning team.  Billy hooks up with a youngish geek named Peter Brand, who helps him in his quest.  Brand's character is based on the real-life baseball executive Paul DePodesta, who refused to allow producers to use his real name.  Together, they share in the downs and ups of the Athletics' 2002 season.  Because, in baseball as in real life, there are downs and ups.

I've often said that, if you understand baseball, you can deal with life with all its successes and adversities.  "Moneyball" is a marvelous validation of my notion.  Even when you think you have all the answers, you don't.  When you think you're mired in shit, something rises you above the fray.  But, don't get too cocky because, unless you work hard, you may not stay aloft for very long. 

Baseball and life intertwined together one more time.

There is a character in the film that espouses my philosophy about an over-reliance on statistics by baseball executives.  He, too, reminds Billy Beane of the intangibles that cannot be measured.  The guy winds up being fired, but is ultimately and silently vindicated by the end of the film.  Even if you can't tell a fastball from a knuckleball, you can't help but understand the universal message that "Moneyball" wonderfully conveys with each and every frame.

Forget that "Benjamin Button" nonsense he was in.  "Moneyball" is the movie that puts Brad Pitt on the map as an actor.  Pitt captures perfectly the pain and suffering that must be the standard operating procedure of every baseball general manager.  Along with the torture at work, he juggles life as a divorced parent trying to be there for his young daughter.  In a sports movie, the homelife subplot always seems to get in the way.  In "Moneyball," the intricate family connections only help to give us the multi-leveled aspects of our lead character's DNA.

I've never liked Jonah Hill, but he is perfect as Brand/DePodesta.  Met fans will enjoy Philip Seymour Hoffman's point-on performance as the Athletics' snarly and vapid manager Art Howe.  Howe went on to manage the Mets for two years and was one of the worst skippers in that team's history.  He has not had a job since.  Hoffman, however, will work again.  And, Pitt, Hill, and Hoffman can also definitely get their tuxedos ready for the next Oscar night.  All three will be nominated.  They can ride together in the limousine with the movie's producer, director, and screenwriters.  "Moneyball," thanks to all their efforts, gets it that right.

While all the real footage and locations are spot-on accurate, I took the time to look up Billy Beane's actual playing statistics when I got home.  In the film, his character is depicted as having an ignoble debut for the Mets in a game at Dodger Stadium.  Except, according to Retrosheet, Beane never once appeared as a Met against the Dodgers.  A small ripple in an otherwise smooth ocean of riches.

At the end, we learn that Billy Beane is still with the Oakland Athletics and still trying to be the last guy standing by the end of October.  We learn nothing about what happened to Peter Brand's character, but Dodger fans know that the real-life DePodesta wound up as general manager of their team for a lamentable two years.  His statistical approach didn't work there and wound up with his quick dismissal.  He is now trolling around the New York Met front office, still trying to convince people that baseball is played on a spreadsheet.

It's not.  It's a children's game played by adults.  And, despite what anybody thinks, it can be simultaneously logical and inexplicable.  "Moneyball" shows us both sides of the spectrum and, as a result, just might be the best movie of the year.

Dinner last night:  Barbecue spare ribs and cole slaw from Gelson's.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Morning Video Laugh - September 26, 2011

When it rains, it pours.



Dinner last night:  Beef and garlic sauce from First Szechwan Wok.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Sunday Memory Drawer - TV Shows I Watched When I Was a Kid



Well, this is a strange photo.  At least strange to me.

A family gathered together at the end of a long day.  Enjoying the best and the worst that television has to offer.

Yeah, this never happened in my house when I was a kid.

Okay, if my mother was watching television, she did have a cigarette going just like the lady above.  P.S., my mom was usually wearing a housedress and certainly didn't get all dolled up to go to the living room.

My dad in a suit?  And the next question I would ask is "who died?"

And, frankly, we never really watched television as a family unit.  Rarely were we all in the same room at the same time.  My father worked nights.  As soon as I hit the fourth grade, my mom went back to work.  And she worked evenings as well. 

When my grandfather died, the house---and the television---was comandeered by two people only. 

Me and Grandma.

The nightly routine was set in stone.  We'd eat dinner around 430PM.  Once the dishes were cleared, she'd head into the living room and catch up on the world with Walter Cronkite.  I'd use that time to do my homework on her kitchen table, usually while listening to WABC or WMCA on the radio.

I was always done promptly at 730PM.  Why?  That's when my prime time television grid kicked into high gear every week.  I had shows to watch and stars to behold. 

Usually, Grandma and I were in total sync on what we would enjoy together.  There were some shows that she'd turn up her nose at.  Usually dismissed with a single phrase.

"Silly."

"Too confusing."

"If I couldn't do better than that, I wouldn't try."

For those programs that were not Grandma-friendly,  I'd head upstairs to our end of the house and watch them by myself.  Whatever the case, my evening television viewing was as intricate a procedure as NASA sending an astronaut into orbit.  To this day, I can remember certain shows as if they were produced just yesterday.
Hazel:  Grandma and I watched this Shirley Booth sitcom together.  It was indeed an alien world to us since she did all the cooking and cleaning herself.  Who were these ordinary people, the Baxters, that could afford to have a live-in housekeeper?  That certainly wasn't the case in this household.  I always marveled at the fact that this was one of three shows that NBC broadcast in color.  Chevrolet was one of Hazel's sponsors and wanted the color hues to show off the new cars.  It's not like it was really necessary to see the color of Hazel's bowling shirt.

The Wonderful World of Color:  Broadcast on Sunday night, this Disney anthology was one of the only shows that I viewed with my mother.  It opened with that beautiful kaleidoscope.  "The world is a carousel of color..." 

Not in my house on our black and white set.  I'd always ask the question.  And always get the same response.


"We're not made of money."
Peyton Place:  Yes, I did watch this.  With Grandma.  I've written about this before.  The show was a big hit and probably the very first prime time soap with up to three airings a week.  Murder, teen pregnancies, and other sordid goings-on dominated the plot lines.  Most of it went completely over my head.  But, it was delicious nonetheless.  And I was watching it with adult supervision.  Heck, she was using this to teach me about life and the difference between good and bad.  I remember the episode when Betty Harrington, as played by Barbara Parkins, turned up unmarried and pregnant.  Grandma summed it up succinctly.

"Tramp."

And so she was.
The Lucy Show;  This was the first time I got to enjoy Lucille Ball in a first run production.  Heck, I was already immersed in I Love Lucy reruns, but now this was the show everybody and I was seeing for the first time.  The very first season was the best when Lucy and Vivian Vance wound up stuck in a shower or on a roof or in a coal bin.  Grandma seemed to enjoy it, but then would always seem to recoil a bit at the end of the show.

"Lucy acts too silly sometimes."

Yeah, but then she wouldn't be Lucy, would she?
The Andy Griffith Show:  One of my true favorites as a kid.  It landed at #15 in my list of Top 25 Favorite TV Shows.  Yet, it presented me with a weekly dilemma.  As I wrote previously...

Here comes an odd admission.

I used to have a crush on Ronny Howard. Oh, not in a sexual way, since I was not even in double digits of age at the time. But, I really wanted to be his friend. Well, maybe Opie Taylor's friend. So, I could live in Mayberry, hang out with the kid, and do everything you can do on a summer's day in your average American small town. With Andy, Barney, Floyd, Gomer, Goober, Helen, Thelma Lou, Aunt Bee, and Otis.

My weekly desire to be a part of this world resulted in a fairly regular battle with the Warden of Bedtime, namely my mother. You see, for a while, "The Andy Griffith Show" aired on Monday nights at 930PM. The problem was that, in those formative Wonder years, my bedtime on school nights was 830PM. After much negotiation, my mother added an amendment to the Parental Constitution and extended my bedtime on Monday night to 10PM. Sweet. Of course, there was the fine print disclaimer that often now follows most TV ads for pharmaceuticals. I could stay up to watch Andy provided I had gotten to bed at the regular time on Sunday night.

It didn't take me long to figure out that I had been snookered on this one. Because, indeed, we were always visiting some relative on Sunday and usually never got home until 9PM or later. The biggest fly in the household ointment was if we had traveled to visit my aunt and uncle in Deer Park, Long Island. Over an hour away. This is not the way you learn to love your relatives. If we had gone out to Suffolk County, I would be relentless in my behavior. Starting around 5PM, I would start the patented whine.

"Can we go soon?"

"Can we go home now?"

"I'm tired."

It became a race to get home so I could hit the hay by 830PM. After a while, my bedtime on Monday was permanently unrestricted. Perhaps they were tired of hearing me bitch, moan, and groan at some family gathering. And I didn't really lose that much sleep since I always managed to catch up on the ZZZZs in class the next day. It also helped that CBS eventually bumped Andy up to 9PM.


The Beverly Hillbillies:  Another delight that Grandma and I watched together.  Grandma got a big kick out of Granny's "rheumatiz medicine."  She likened it to her favorite elixir for what ailed her---blackberry brandy.

"Oooh, my stomach's feeling queasy.  I need a little blackberry brandy."

For years afterward, I would think that all liquor had medicinal purposes.
Green Acres:  I didn't really appreciate the brilliant absurdity of this Paul Henning masterpiece until I was an adult.  Back then, Grandma and I just soaked in the stupidity of the crazy residents of, as Eva Gabor would say, "Hootersville."    At the conclusion of the show every week, we would almost apologize to ourselves for watching another episode.  Let's face it, one of the characters was a pig named Arnold Ziffel.
Petticoat Junction:  And the Hooterville trilogy is complete.  This was one show that reminds me of a strange quirk my grandmother had with regard to her TV favorites.  Sometimes, she would talk to the screen as if the cast was actually in the room with her.  When the lazy Edgar Buchanan character would shirk his responsibilities and try to take a nap, Grandma would scold him.

"Oh, come on, Uncle Joe, do some work for a change."

Huh?
Bonanza:  A Sunday night ritual in millions of American homes and definitely ours as well.  I would watch downstairs with Grandma and, ironically, this western always signaled a tinge of sadness for me.  The weekend was over.  Aw, crap, there's school tomorrow and probably a spelling quiz.  For years, every time I would see Lorne Greene or Dan Blocker in something, I would immediately worry if I had done all my homework correctly. 

Bonanza, of course, was broadcast in color.  Another problem in my house, as referenced above.  But, as I've written previously....

Arguably, "Bonanza" did more to sell new color television sets than any appliance store salesperson could hope to do. When this show, with its lush filming of the Lake Tahoe area, was the only program broadcast in color, folks clamored to buy one so they too could be enveloped by the splendor of the scenery.

You can count my parents in that group. You cannot count my grandmother among those sales.

Actually, my parents took their own sweet time moving out of the black and white TV world. There was one token color television in our family. My aunt had one and we all descended on her living room if ever there was a "must see in color" program. The only problem with her set, which might have been one of the first off the assembly line, is that the colors were never coordinated properly. Grass was blue. Tree trunks were red. Faces were green.

Once my parents were content that the technology had all the bugs worked out, they were buyers. And so, on one March Saturday afternoon, this super clunky Zenith console got delivered to our home. And then, for the rest of the weekend, we watched everything and anything just to see what it looked like in color. And, unlike my aunt's set, people actually had flesh tones that didn't make them look like third degree burn victims. We absorbed it all. But the focus of that weekend was Sunday night at 9PM on NBC. When we finally could watch an episode of "Bonanza" on our very own color TV.

"Bonanza" was one of the few TV shows that got two floor viewing in my house. My grandmother was watching downstairs and we were tuned in upstairs. I would act as Kissinger. One week, I would watch it with my grandmother and then the next week with my parents. It was a tradition I held to for many years. But, with the purchase of that huge Zenith, I would be multi-conflicted. Black and white vs. color. A major dilemma.

My mother, in a rare display of multi-generational family unity, had a solution. Grandma could come up and watch "Bonanza" in color with us. So, on that first "colorful" Sunday, my grandmother mounted the three flights of stairs to our living room. She sat down and wasn't there more than five minutes into the program.

"This doesn't look right."

She gave a cursory wave at the dastardly television set and went back downstairs. And never returned on a Sunday at 9PM ever again. To the day she died, she was one of the few stalwarts in America who would not cave in to that crazy fad of color TVs.

So, I spent many a Sunday watching "Bonanza" in black and white. Nevertheless, it didn't diminish my love of this classic western. As I got older, the tradition held, but I came to appreciate that the better episodes were written and directed by co-star Michael Landon, who clearly was a gifted creative force. As soon as Dan "Hoss" Blocker died, the show pretty much lost its cohesiveness. But, given that, it still had an amazing run with close to 500 episodes.

Most folks remember the theme song to this day with the Cartwrights riding up across the meadow to a conveniently placed Eastman color camera. But, oddly enough, I much preferred the different opening and theme that they used for several of the final seasons. Most people don't remember this, but I do.



 I'm not sure which version of the opening my grandmother liked better. She probably didn't care.

As long as it was in black and white.

Fair Exchange:  Never heard of it?  I am not surprised.  It wasn't on long and probably has not been seen since.  It was a CBS Friday night sitcom about a family in New York and another family in London.  They swapped teenage daughters.  Judy Carne, soon to be of "sock it to me" Laugh-In fame was one of the kids.  Sounds ridiculous, right?

For some bizarre reason, this little kid loved it.  I was undoubtedly the only one in America.  From my faint memory, this thing hit the bottom of the Nielsen ratings.

Even then, I was in tune with the TV business.  I heard that Fair Exchange had been cancelled and it would air its final episode the following week.  I was devastated.  My parakeet had died all over again. 

Bad became even worse on that final Friday of Fair Exchange.  We got hit with a major snow storm and my mother made the dreaded announcement around 730PM. 

"Come help me shovel the driveway so it's clear when your father comes home from work."

Er.........

Now, my presence was really not needed for snow removal.  I essentially would stand there and move little mounds of the white stuff while Mom did the heavy lifting.  So why can't I stay inside and watch my show?

Yeah, that argument worked. 

I stood outside in the cold and flaky air.  I watched my mother shovel snow as slowly as anybody has ever done it.  Jeez, can't you move that thing any faster?  I've got to see the last episode of Fair Exchange.

I never did.  The sadness that had enveloped me was devastating.  I felt as if I had not been there to watch a dear friend move away.  Heck, I wasn't home the day the parakeet flew out the kitchen window forever.  I was sickened.

I vowed that day to never get too attached to a television program ever again. 

You see how well that worked.

Dinner last night:  Chicken fingers at Go Burger.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Classic Movie Trailer of the Month - September 2011

Every year, I couldn't wait to hear what would be the official Walt Disney movie for Christmas.


Dinner last night:  Macaroni and cheese.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Humor From the Other Side of the Aisle

If Vaughn Meader could poke fun at the First Family, so can anybody...

Dinner last night:  The wonderful pre-game buffet at the Dodger Stadium for the final home game of the 2011 season.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Please Do Not Touch

Here's a Len rule of thumb which I recently ignored.

If a movie is advertised all summer long on Diamondvision at Dodger Stadium, I should skip it.

The over-hyped film this baseball summer was "Contagion."  I went to see it.  And, unlike a lot of the characters in the movie, I lived to talk about it.  Barely.

Literally and figuratively, "Contagion" is one that you should avoid like the plague.

Yeah, that's the first play on words in this review.  Bet your boots there will be more.

As Steven Soderbergh's movie started to unspool and you already knew this was all about a deadly germ attacking the masses, I suddenly became aware of sounds around me.  A cough two rows back.  A hack on the other side of the theater.  Someone who keeps sniffing behind me.   You suddenly realize how vulnerable we all are.  One of the characters makes a reference that a person touches their face countless times in a single hour.  I immediately feel an itch start up on my right cheek.  Oh, my God, this film is going to scare the Goobers out of me.

Er, not so much.  Ten minutes into "Contagion" and you realize this is just another gust of inflated air blowing from Hollywood.  And maybe the guy sniffing behind me is detecting the odor from the screen. 

In reality, "Contagion" is a disaster movie pretending to be a MSNBC documentary, which is a funny concept in itself.  There are loads of big-name, socially-conscious actors cavorting and then writhing on the screen, but, at the same time, Soderbergh tries to get the audience to believe they are doing "Masterpiece Theater" without Alistair Cooke.  That mix never works.

Irwin Allen is a movie director who really knew how to make this genre work with C-list laden, but delicious concoctions like "The Towering Inferno" and "The Poseidon Adventure."  Lots of back numbers from SAG reading, not acting dialogue that could have come from a sketch on "The Carol Burnett Show."  The result was always fun to watch because you knew the filmmakers got the same joke they were letting you in on.

At the end of his career, Allen went one calamity too far and put together a movie that was all about some deadly bees called "The Swarm."  The cast of this mess read like the New Year's Eve invite list for a party at Ruta Lee's house.  Check it out.

Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain, Olivia DeHavilland, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, Jose Ferrer, Patty Duke, Henry Fonda, Cameron Mitchell, Slim Pickens, Bradford Dillman, Fred MacMurray.

A Hollywood Who's Who that wound up in a celluloid What's That.  When I saw "The Swarm," I remember thinking that Irwin Allen had lost touch with his own invention as there was nothing even remotely campy about this film.  It may have been the worst movie I ever saw.

Why bring it up again now?  Because I would like to revisit it again, side-by-side with "Contagion" and see which one was worse.  Was it "The Swarm" for failing to deliver a funny movie?  Or "Contagion" for failing to deliver anything at all?

So, this deadly germ is mutating all over the place and people are dropping like bobbysoxers at a Frank Sinatra concert in 1946.  We meet all sorts of uninteresting characters who are played by the latest slate of Hollywood do-gooders led by Matt Damon and Kate Winslet.  Havoc is being wrought all over the world and, as we learn at the end of the movie, it's all because an infected bat was eating a banana and dropped it in a pig sty where it was eaten also by a pig who wound up being slaughtered to be spare ribs in a Chinese restaurant shepherded by a chef who doesn't wash his hands and then greets his patrons.

Got that?  Who lives?  Who dies?  Who cares? 

Kate Winslet hangs around long enough to discover that Nyquil isn't going to be the cure for what ails her.  Jude Law is some environmental kook who writes a blog and I was ashamed to be included in that same sub-category.  Lawrence Fishburne, a graduate from the "look-at-me-I'm-acting" academy, hams his way through another one and now everything he plays comes off like Thurgood Marshall with a peptic ulcer.  There are others in the cast, too numerous to mention, and all of them should be in serious litigation with their agents before long.

Now recast this with the likes of Charlie Sheen, Snooki, anybody Kardashian, and Nancy Pelosi and then you have my attention.  But, in Soderbergh's efforts to be overly important, the only victim is his audience.  Whereas a film like "Jaws" singlehandedly got people to stay out of the ocean water, all "Contagion" manages to do is a slight uptick in sales for Purell Hand Sanitizer.  Meanwhile, we are coached to avoid any future contact with the following: bats, bananas, pulled pork, and Gwyneth Paltrow, in that order.

"Contagion" is yet another perfect example of how Hollywood has completely forgotten how to have fun with its own craft.  A misguided swill that gets off the floor for ten seconds only to collapse on the floor with a resounding thud. Hopefully, it didn't disrupt the sleep of the neighbors downstairs.  It certainly didn't keep me up.

So, does anybody know if "The Swarm" is out on DVD?

Dinner last night:  Turkey burger and potato salad.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This Date in History - September 21

Happy birthday, J.R. Ewing.  Thanks for clipping your eyebrows for the occasion.

19BC:  ROMAN POET VIRGIL DIES. 

He was born in 70BC and it really sucks when you have to use reverse math to figure how old he was.

1435:  AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN CHARLES VII OF FRANCE AND PHILIP THE GOOD ENDS THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE ENGLISH AND BURGUNDY IN THE HUNDRED YEARS' WAR.

The English had a partnership with burgundy?  I thought they drank nothing but tea.

1745:  A HANOVERIAN ARMY UNDER THE COMMAND OF SIR JOHN COPE IS DEFEATED IN TEN MINUTES BY THE JACOBITE FORMS OF PRINCE CHARLES EDWARD STUART.

Doesn't say much about Cope's leadership if he gets his ass kicked in ten minutes.

1780:  BENEDICT ARNOLD GIVES THE BRITISH THE PLANS TO WEST POINT.

Must have been harder to commit treason in the days before Wikileaks.

1792:  THE NATIONAL CONVENTION DECLARES FRANCE A REPUBLIC AND ABOLISHES THE MONARCHY.

Or should that be...repubic?

1827:  JOSEPH SMITH IS REPORTEDLY VISITED BY THE ANGEL MORONI, WHO GAVE HIM A RECORD OF GOLD PLATES, ONE-THIRD OF WHICH SMITH HAS TRANSLATED INTO "THE BOOK OF MORMON."

Possible newspaper headline:  Moron Visited By Moroni.

1866:  WRITER H.G. WELLS IS BORN.

He wrote the "Time Machine" so he could also be born in 1896, 1926, and 1956.

1897:  THE "YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS" EDITORIAL IS PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK SUN.

In the middle of September.  Virginia might have forgotten this three months later.

1912:  ANIMATOR CHUCK JONES IS BORN.

Can somebody tell me why September 21 is not a national holiday?

1931:  ACTOR LARRY HAGMAN IS BORN.

Mary Martin was his mom and she got to fly around on Broadway.  Well, so did he before he stopped drinking.

1934:  A LARGE TYPHOON HITS JAPAN, KILLING 3,036 PEOPLE.

So that's what pissed them off...

1937:  J.R.R. TOLKIEN'S "THE HOBBIT" IS PUBLISHED.

Never read the book, never saw the movie.

1938:  THE GREAT HURRICANE OF 1938 MAKES LANDFILL ON LONG ISLAND IN NEW YORK, KILLING 500-700 PEOPLE.

But that didn't necessarily piss them off as much.  Because, after all, Pearl Harbor was not attacked by Massapequa.

1944:  ACTRESS/AUTHOR FANNIE FLAGG IS BORN.

When she dies, will she be at half mast?

1950:  ACTOR BILL MURRAY IS BORN.

Who ya gonna call?

1953:  LT NO KUM-SOK, A NORTH KOREAN PILOT, DEFECTS TO SOUTH KOREA AND IS ASSOCIATED WITH OPERATION MOOLAH.

Mentioned only because of his name.  And perhaps his association to a legendary lady wrestler.

1964:  MALTA BECOMES INDEPENDENT FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM.

Because people from Malta are a force to be reckoned with?

1971:  BAHRAIN, BHUTAN, AND QATAR JOIN THE UNITED NATIONS.

Countries that are only important because they show up in crossword puzzles all the time.

1972:  PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT FERDINAND MARCOS SIGNS PROCLAMATION NO. 1081 PLACING THE ENTIRE COUNTRY UNDER MARTIAL LAW.

You think he was ticked off this day?  You should have been there the time he got his wife's credit statement from Payless Shoes.

1974:  ACTOR WALTER BRENNAN DIES.

No foolin', he was the Real McCoy.

1974:  AUTHOR JACQUELINE SUSANN DIES.

Once was more than enough.

1976:  SEYCHELLES JOINS THE UNITED NATIONS.

She sells seychelles by the seashore.  I guess they'll let anybody in.

1981:  BELIZE IS GRANTED FULL INDEPENDENCE FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM.

Well, it worked out okay for Malta.

1981:  SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR IS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED BY THE U.S. SENATE AS THE FIRST FEMALE SUPREME COURT JUDGE.

Like I said.  See above comment about Seychelles joining the U.N..

1989:  HURRICANE HUGO MAKES LANDFALL IN SOUTH CAROLINA.

Destroying thousands of homes and amounting to about sixteen dollars worth of damage.

1998:  ATHLETE FLORENCE GRIFFITH JOYNER DIES.

The race is over.

2007:  ACTRESS ALICE GHOSTLEY DIES.

Many people thought she was Paul Lynde's sister.  She wasn't.

2007:  TELEVISION PREACHER REX HUMBARD DIES.

Many people thought he was an idiot.  He was.

Dinner last night:  Vegetable risotto.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saul and Heshe Talk the 2011 Emmys

On the morning after the Emmy Awards, our two favorite Hollywood vets, Saul and Heshe chew the fat...as long as it's not on the pastrami.

"Oy."

"Oy is right.  Why do we watch this chazzerei every year?"

"Because we're schmucks who used to get invited.  But that was back when Carl Betz was still alive."

"If I'm napping at 7PM, it's officially called bedtime.  So, if they want me to watch the Emmys, make them earlier."

"12 Noon at Nate N'Al's.  I'm there."

"It's supposed to be about excellence in television.  So, how come it's always the worst show of the season."

"Did you see all the fancy schmancy dresses?  Red is the new black."

"I don't Barack Obama was the new black."

"Meanwhile, nobody ever filled out an evening gown like Sheree North.  Va-va-va-voom.  God bless."

"Kate Winslet was wearing red."

"Nice girl, but pick an accent please and stick with it.  Is she English?  Is she Irish?  Is she Polish?  Who can tell?"

"She won for Mildred Pierce.  Which, by the way, she's still no Joan Crawford.  Now there's somebody who knew how to slap somebody."

"I had a welt on my cheek for two months.  Hello."

"Who was that tall drink of water who was the host?"

"Jane Lynch.  That one from the glee club show.  All the kids are watching."

"She's a lesbian."

"I didn't know she was related to Danny Thomas."

"Knock, knock.  You got cole slaw in your ears?  She likes the ladies."

"So did Bob Hope.  Why do you think he took Joey Heatherton to Vietnam every Christmas?"

"Did you see any of these shows that won?"

"I tried Mad Men, but all that smoking.  Hoo boy.  Not even with a filter tip on their Pall Malls."

"They'll be really mad ten years later when the black spots start showing up on their lungs."

"So much for the shtupping of the private secretaries.  And they weren't all hellcats like that Ann Sothern."

"They gave out the Best Comedy Actress award like it was a beauty pageant.  Meanwhile, I didn't see any Mary Ann Mobleys in the bunch.''

"Mary Ann Mobley, nothing.  I would have taken a turn with Lee Meriwether."

"She wasn't there either.  But I didn't see her name when they listed all the dead people, so, knock wood, maybe she'll turn up in Art's Deli some night."

"Lots of alter kockers croaked this year.  I'm still kicking.  Thank you very much.  And, every once in a while, an erection.  God bless."

"With the pill or without."

"I got an old Photoplay magazine with Debra Paget on the cover.  That does the trick."

"What about that Julianna Marguiles?"

"Her, I would poke.  Except what she was wearing?  Solar panels?"

"That Katie Holmes was there.  I guess the dumbbell husband was out on Hollywood Boulevard handing out leaflets for Scientology."

"Schmuck."

"Schmuck."

"She was in that Kennedy show playing Jackie with the pillbox.  But, whoo, hoo, she can't act."

"She was so bad in that program JFK shot himself at the end."

"So Charlie Sheen showed up and wished his former show well."

"That's because his career is now worth two and a half dollars." 

"He should have been like his father.  A lunatic but a quiet one."

"Schmuck."

"Schmuck."

"And stop already with thanking everybody in the acceptance speeches.  Me?
I mention the wife and my proctologist...and not in that order."

"You got so many friends in the business now?  Guess what?  They dry up fast.   Where is Morey Amsterdam when you need him?"

"Dead."

"I didn't hear his name on the Emmys."

"He went buns up years ago.  Catch up.  The Hollywood Reporter is now available on the World Wide Web."

"I don't read it.  Too depressing.  All these young noodniks running the business into the ground."

"They should see what we saw.  They should know what we know." 

"They should fuck who we fucked."

"Shelley Winters."

"Me, too.  God bless."

Dinner last night:  Spaghetti and meatballs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Video Laugh - September 19, 2011

You may have seen this already, but it's worth more than one look.  Grandma and Grandpa trying to work a webcam.



Dinner last night:  Roast chicken, edamane, and corn.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Sunday Memory Drawer - TV Guide Fall Preview


We would wait anxiously for Wednesday.  As early as we could get to our local candy store or newspaper emporium, we would run.  It became a relentless quest every week.

"Bob's Candy Store doesn't have it yet."

"Did you try the guy near the cleaners?"

"He doesn't have it yet.  Let's hear down to 241st Street.  There are three stores down there."

For me, it was a thirst that needed to be quenched as soon as possible.  I would not rest until...

I had, in my grubby, young hands, the next week's TV Guide.

When you're young and in grade school, you live for two things every single evening.  The completion of your nightly homework.  And your personally chosen primetime television schedule. 

As soon as every Wednesday arrived and you'd see who was adorning the cover of next week's TV Guide, you could breathe a little easier.  Life was going to be okay.  At least, for another seven days.

When we would go to my aunt's house a few blocks away, she would marvel at her own TV Guide.  Sent in the mail.  Isn't that easier than buying it in the store?

And what day does your mailed TV Guide arrive?

"Thursday, sometimes Friday."

Audible scream.  Me.  That's way too late.  I needed to start planning my TV viewing sooner than that.

I'd read that TV Guide all the way home from the store.  I probably dodged death by fender more than once as I had my nose buried while crossing major thoroughfares.  You automobiles can wait.  I need to see if Paul Lynde is making a guest appearance on the Dean Martin Show next Thursday.

I had a grid in my school notebook.  It showed me night-by-night what was on my television docket.  It was meticulously planned out.  When shows seamlessly flowed to one another.  When I actually had to change the channels.  Which shows would I have to watch on my own and which ones were programs that I enjoyed with my grandmother.  This information was perhaps twice as important as any of the school lessons on the other pages.

The pinnacle of TV Guide issues every year happened on the very first Wednesday of September.

The Fall Preview!!!

It was time to learn about all the new shows that the three, yes, count 'em, three networks had to offer to the unsuspecting public.  I'd systematically read through all of the descriptions and formulate my own opinions.  I needed to determine if any of these new programs stood a chance of cracking my own viewership grid.  And God forbid if they were at the same time as one of my favorites.

Once I digested it all, I needed to present my findings to my grandmother.  I watched almost seventy percent of prime time with her.  If I was sold on a  TV show, she needed to be on board.  I'd sit and copiously read to her all the descriptions from the Fall Preview.

The Time Tunnel.  Two guys go back into time every week.

"Sounds silly."

The Outer Limits.  Scary different tales every week.

"Too spooky for me."

Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters.

"Nice girls.  We should watch that."

And so it went.  The yearly process.  As regular as Thanksgiving dinner and income tax day.

Most weeknights and on Sundays, I could be found downstairs in Grandma's part of the house.  Me in the rocking chair and her in that big, comfy easy chair.  But, on Saturday nights, I was cast adrift.  Literally.

We had two television sets in our house.  One upstairs in the lair of my parents and me.  One downstairs in Grandparentville.  Plenty of chance for diverse sampling, right?

Wrong.

My Saturday grid was shanghai-ed by two television consoles that both needed to be tuned to...

Lawrence Welk.

And a one and a two and a "Len is screwed..."

Meanwhile, while I'm hearing some Champagne Lady sing in all corners of our house, I am thinking about my shows and what I'm missing.  I Dream of Jeannie.  Get Smart.  My Three Sons.

I must have protested a lot.  Miraculously, one Christmas, I wound up with my own portable black and white TV for my room only.  A very, very nice way for my folks to tell me to "get lost."

I will do so.  Gladly.

Finally, I could address my primetime grid completely.  All seven nights a week.  Mine.

Next week, I'll tell you about some of those shows which were personal favorites when seated in the rocking chair next to Grandma.

Dinner last night:  Bacon burger at Go Burger.