Notebook – June 28, 2000
It wasn’t a perfect storm, but it was damn impressive.
I’m back online after being forced off by torrential downpours, vivid
lightning, rolling thunder. I call it TV weather. It’s the type of
weather you see in movies and TV shows that feature a haunted house, or
some disaster flick where the road is flooded out and the heroes have
to rescue a dog or an old lady. It’s weather you don’t see everyday, at
least here in the Northeast. I’m sure people in the Midwest and South
would beg to differ. I sat on my couch, watching television, and out to
window above the set, across the street near the water, I could see
real, honest-to-goodness, sky-to-earth lightning bolts! And they stayed
in the sky for several seconds. This wasn’t hit and run lightning. This
stuck around for awhile to let everyone know who’s boss. And I don’t
mean Tony Danza.
For some reason, don’t ask me why, I caught myself watching the
E! special on plastic surgery (what’s so “entertainment” about this I
don’t know – they weren’t even celebs). One guy had a flap of skin
transplanted from the side of his head to the front, to cover his
baldness. Now he looks like Glen Campbell. One woman has had over a
dozen surgeries in order to (and I’m not kidding) look like Barbie. Her
reasoning? Because Barbie seems to “have all the friends,” not to
mention those great outfits and beauty.
I wanted to reach into the television, grab her and scream, “She also
seems to be EIGHT INCHES TALL and has a boyfriend with no genitalia!!!”
Some new stuff here at the site: a new poll, and links to a
couple of new articles, one on starting your own magazine and the other
a review of the June issue of GQ. GQ is one of those magazines that
always has a couple of great articles per issue, but also a lot of
stuff I can’t use. The ads all seem to feature clothing that would fit
only tall guys. Guys with abs and girlfriends and bank account amounts
so large he doesn’t even bother balancing his checkbook every month.
But why the hell am I even talking about it when you can read about it here?
Smithereens on the TV right now. They’re using “Blood and Roses”
in a new commercial. They probably use just the guitar riff, because I
doubt the lyrics would fit whatever product they are selling. Unless,
of course, it’s FTD and they are selling roses, or the National Blood
Bank looking for donors.* Odd coincidence: yesterday I bumped into an
old girlfriend of mine. We dated, sort of, about 14 or 15 years ago,
during my “pizza days” as a cook at the town’s best pizza place.
Anyway, one night we went out to a local bar to listen to the band,
have a couple of beers, have a good time. But there’s just so much loud
music and beer you can stand before it shifts from “good time” to
“wanna go?” As we started to head towards the front door, a melee
enveloped her. I tried to grab her, but her hand slipped from mine and
she fell into the crowd. Laughing, too, and I guess it was kinda funny. Eventually the bouncers and police broke things up. The next day in the paper I read who had started the fight.
The lead singer of The Smithereens. Yesterday I see her again and today
I hear their big hit again, for the first time in years. Strange.
And, oh, the above “perfect storm” reference: the movie of
the same name opens Friday. No, I don’t have a financial stake in it,
but go see it anyway. It was filmed in my hometown, right down the
street from my apartment. I’m in the movie, too. But I use my stage
*I just saw the commerical again. It’s for the new Nissan Maxima. No blood, no roses.
Notebook – June 19, 2000
Have you ever watched a movie or listened to an album or read a book that was incredibly well praised?
A classic everyone seems to love? A near-perfect piece of art that
receives four stars from every reviewer, publication, and fan?
And then you see that movie or listen to that album or read that book and you feel…zilch. Zero. Nada.
That happened this week after I watched Hitchcock’s Rear Window on AMC (part of their A.H. marathon all weekend).
How bad was it? I found myself more engrossed in the FOX Family Channel comedy Time Share,
with Timothy Dalton (call your agent) and Natassia Kinkski. Despite the
cookie-cutter plot, the oh my God they’re all dancing to a rock and
roll oldie sequence, and the by the numbers ending (will they get
together? Please tell me they do!), it was more enjoyable than watching
Stewart look out the window at his neighbors, ol’ Hitch moving his
camera back and forth to show the individual dramas unfolding, blah,
blah, blah. Sure, I’ll give him the innovation and intriguing premise
two thumbs up, but execution was a snore. I kept switching back to
during commercials, and every time Stewart was either looking out the
window at a dog, getting a massage, or asleep in his wheelchair. Bring
on Norman Bates and Cary Grant and those birds!
I opened my mail today, and inside my credit card bill was an ad
for a talking alarm clock. “Now just $9.95!” What price was this thing
before? Did it even really have a price before? It bills itself as “a
unique gift for friends or family!” Yes, if you hate your friends and
never want to talk to your family again. Oh, it has all the normal
functions you’d expect in a clock: it tells you the time, has a snooze
button, hourly chime. But it also comes with a voice! It actually tells
you the time, literally. But, oh, yes, wait, there’s more! It doesn’t
just say “6AM,” it says things like “cockadoodle-doo!” and “cuckoo!”
Yes, give me that as a gift and it will last 2 nights, and then it’s
time for the old baseball bat. But it would make a great companion
piece to that wall clock they used to advertise, the one that told time
with different bird sounds.
If we need a clock that talks to us, it better have something important
to say. Something that will force us to wake up in the morning. “Good
morning. Don’t forget, that report on the Johnson merger is going to
due at 11AM today. If you don’t have it ready, your boss is going to
fire your sorry ass and you won’t be able to buy that new DVD player
you’ve had your eye on. Wake up!!”
While we’re on the topic of ads, can someone please tell me
what the hell is going on in the ad on the back of this week’s TV Guide
(the one with Sex and the City
on the cover)? It’s an ad for Kraft Fat-Free Dressing, and shows two
guys sitting next to each other on an airplane. The guy on the right is
reading a newspaper. The guy on the left is either a.) asleep, or b.)
moaning from something he is doing with the hand that is strategically
placed out of the picture, if you catch my meaning. The caption says
“Around here, the dressing is Kraft Free.” Huh? What is going on here?
I usually consider myself rather astute at deciphering ads, but this
one has me baffled. The odd look on the guy, the placement of his hand,
the placement of the other Kraft bottles, and that caption. E-mail me with your answer.
Oddly enough, salad for dinner tonight. Maybe I’ll go get some dressing…
Notebook – June 5, 2000
A very short Notebook this week, as I have a gazillion things to do.
That’s it. See ya next week.
Oh, OK, I’ll write a LITTLE more. By the way, I just counted and it
really is a gazillion things I have to do tonight. That’s not just some
ridiculously large number I picked out of thin air to overdramatize the
amount of work I have to do. It’s all very scientific.
I have an article on zine writing due. Actually, I finished it
last week and thought I had sent it to my editor. Turns out I forgot to
cut and paste the article into the e-mail (insert Homer “Doh!” here).
But that turned out to be a good thing: I found I didn’t like one of
the sections so now I’m going to redo it a bit. John, if you’re reading
this, that’s why you haven’t gotten it yet.
I’m also the TV editor at The TV Studio,
the new TV community at iUniverse. Go there and Sign Up for iUniverse.
Then when you’re done you’ll go back to The TV Studio and join that
community. No, I won’t sell your name to any odd lists or sites. I’ll
send a newsletter with all the latest TV news, interviews, reviews,
previews, and a bunch of other things that end in “ews.”
The novel is coming along quite nicely. By this time next year,
all of you will be reading the book on the beach, and people will come
by and compliment you on your great taste in literature. Either that or
they will kick sand in your face, grab their children, and run down the
beach in terror. Actually, either reaction is fine with me. As long as
there’s SOME reaction.
Time for more writing and watching TV. Hey, I have to watch TV. It’s my job. It’s soooo hard to make people understand that.