What I’m watching

I got a nice note from an old TV Squad reader. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. I don’t know the age of this reader and I don’t want to imply that they’re old just because I worded things badly. Not that there’s anything wrong with being old, and who’s to judge what “old” is? I just meant that TV Squad hasn’t been around for several years now and this person used to read it. Maybe instead I should say “someone who used to read TV Squad?”

ANYWAY, she wanted to know what TV shows I watch these days. I don’t write about television daily like I used to – thank God – but I still watch quite a bit of it. Here are the shows I never miss (in alphabetical order):

American Pickers
The Blacklist

CBS Sunday Morning
The Flash
Last Man Standing
Mad Men
The Middle
Person Of Interest
The Price Is Right
Sherlock (the PBS one)
Sleepy Hollow
The Strain

If I’m not watching one of those I’m probably watching Turner Classic Movies.

Mad Men

satevepostmadmenBefore the final season of Mad Men starts tonight, head on over to The Saturday Evening Post for links to interviews with the cast and creator, essays, videos, even some ideas for throwing a Mad Men-themed party (you’ll need cigarettes and fondue).

Oh, and Happy Easter! I have not eaten a marshmallow Peep in 30 years.

March is the new February

Yeah, I know, you never received February’s issue of The Letter (if I can even call them “issues”). I had planned to get one out at the end of February but I had a technical problem with the super-sophisticated software that produces each letter and there was a production mishap at the plant in California that delayed things (actually, I simply forgot to do it but the other excuses sound much more impressive). So the next letter will be for March and you should have it next week. We’ll be back on a monthly schedule again with this letter.

In the meantime, go over to my friend Jennifer Armstrong’s site and read her great how-to on the business of being a freelance writer (with a guest appearance by yours truly) as well as her follow-up on the economics of writing books. And speaking of books, buy her book that takes a look behind the scenes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted. A really great read.

Son Of Five Things About Media And Technology Right Now

(Part 4 of my ongoing series. Here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)

1. On his CNN show today, Brian Stelter had a Huffington Post reporter on talking about her grueling day of going without e-mail. She did this little experiment because Senator Lindsey Graham and others recently said that they don’t use e-mail. Could she do that too? So she went without e-mail (and social media) for an entire 24 hours! Somehow – somehow – she got through the day, even though she actually had to use her PHONE to get in touch with people! (Insert gasp here.)

Oh, I should probably mention a few things. First, she had an assistant who could e-mail for her. This assistant could even print out the e-mails to show the reporter, because I guess reading e-mail on a piece of paper isn’t really reading e-mails? Or something? (Her printer was broken so she couldn’t do this but she was going to.) Her assistant could also post on the reporter’s social media accounts. Oh, did I tell you the reporter could read her social media accounts if she wanted? She could also text and instant message people. Other than, she totally went a whole day without checking her e-mail and somehow survived.

Hey, I’m going to go a whole day without driving a car. I’ll just have my chauffeur drive me around.

2. It’s 2015, but apparently it’s still optional for publications to pay writers who did work for them (and it’s also OK to send those writers cease-and-desist orders).

3. I’ve noticed that a lot of TV news anchors are now holding tablets while they deliver the news. I guess it shows they’re cool, tech-savvy, always in-the-know! It’s also massively silly-looking and distracting. But I guess it’s the best way to keep track of all those tweets coming into your account from viewers giving their opinions on the stories you’re reporting on, because social media is the most important thing now.

4. Speaking of, I’ve been a bad Twitter quitter. After writing my anti-social media essay a while back, I’ve managed to stay off Twitter for 98% of the time (maybe it’s less – I’m not good at math) but I’ve certainly been a lurker, using it as a news feed and posting links to new articles I’ve written. And that’s probably the best way to use it if you can, though I’ve found I can’t. If you’re a journalist it’s hard to get away from it, because so many people in that profession base their professional and personal lives around social media now that you miss out on what’s going on (or at least finding out quickly).

But I don’t really consider myself a journalist, I’m a writer, and I want to stay away from it as much as I can and just write. Remember when there was a sense of mystery with writers and celebrities? A writer would write something (or a celeb would make a movie or TV show or release an album) and you might read or watch an interview with them, but then they’d go back to their lives. You wouldn’t constantly read a stream of what they were thinking/observing/experiencing/watching/eating. Remember when we actually wrote more than spending time on social media promoting ourselves and our writing? Remember when we didn’t have to be “on” all the time?

You don’t remember those things? Well, you must be under 30.

5. Words and phrases people have to stop using right now, no matter what your age:

“All the feels”


“Asking for a friend”

“That thing where…”

“____ I am in you”

“Because reasons”