Posts Tagged ‘television’

Jaquandor asks: Do you have an opinion of Guy Fieri? I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to hate him, but…I don’t.

Oh, THAT guy? No, I don’t have any impression. I mean I know what he looks like, the fellow who seems as though he were in a boy band a quarter of a century ago and never changed his look.

But if I’ve seen him on one of those cooking shows, I don’t specifically recall. Collectively, I tend not to watch them because they tend to want to stress out their contestants – here are ten random ingredients; make something delicious in an hour – which I don’t enjoy watching. Seeing people stressing out stresses ME out.

OH, I just saw him feeding people on northern California who are dealing with the massive fires. He seems to be a decent fellow.

And that is my general feeling about most reality shows, whether it be those HGTV home improvement shows (the hosts find rot in the foundation AFTER the contestants’ home is purchased!) or dance competitions or other talent events. It’s just not my thing.

My wife watches some HGTV shows and Dancing with the Stars. I did managed to catch Darcy Lynne on America’s Got Talent, which my wife also views, and was suitably impressed.

Then again, I’m not watching many current comedies or dramas either. I’m so glad I went on JEOPARDY! when I did, back in 1998. Recently there was a category on current TV that I totally bombed on. I was at least familiar with House of Cards (I know Kevin Spacey from the movies) and Breaking Bad (Bryan Cranston was in Malcolm in the Middle, which I didn’t watch either, now that I think of it), but obviously not well enough. Yet I got a question the next day about Orange Is the New Black, which I’ve also never seen.

There are a bunch of shows in the new season that, even a decade ago, I might have tried out. I even bought the Fall Preview Issue of TV Guide. But after having a whole bunch of that Vietnam series recorded but unwatched – since rectified – I realized that even shows starring people I used to watch (Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer) isn’t enough for me to view a new series (Ten Days in the Valley).

Jaquandor wants to know:

What do you think of the trend today for a teevee blaring news to be present in nearly every public or open-to-the-public space there is nowadays? Every doctor waiting room, every super market cafe, even some of our favorite restaurants — teevees in all, and they are ALWAYS set to either CNN or FOX News. This bugs me. How about you?

Well, yes, it’s true that the phenomenon has grown. There was a time, particularly in airports, when the default network was CNN, because it was “neutral.” But now, it’s more often FOX. And I ALWAYS remember.

Nice diner in Catskill, about 45 miles south of here – FOX News. The Burger King in the same town – FOX News.

The Bible Guys breakfast in Albany at a local diner – FOX News. I wonder if the owners figured that, since we were a religious-minded group, that FOX would be amenable to us; it was most assuredly not, and we asked them to turn it off.

FOX in the morning, BTW, is particularly awful, actually. I’m especially annoyed with that dumb blond – what’s his name, Doocy?

Some venues, figuring that ANY news is controversial these days, have opted for HGTV, the home and garden network, which I see it at my allergist’s office – and I have to wait 30 minutes AFTER my monthly shot.

So I see folks getting their homes renovated a LOT. I saw a couple recent articles explaining that not everything was as it seemed on air. Here’s a piece that will tell you more than you ever need to know about the network. I really got to dislike Christina and Tarek of Flip or Flop, especially him, but am actually sorry their marriage broke up.

There’s a pizza place in Albany that used to show the local news, but now airs movies, some of them not amenable with wanting to eat.

I went to a now-defunct barbershop near my house, and they were showing some shoot-em-up movie with vulgar language on DVR when children were present.

I wonder if they feel they need to compete with all the handheld devices their customers undoubtedly own.

When I was growing up, I always watched the Emmy Awards. It was my opportunity to see my favorite television performers in the surreal moment of being off-script.

But I haven’t watched them in a number of years, and I know why: I’ve never seen most of the programs being honored. A lot of them have been on HBO, which I’ve never subscribed to, and an increasing number on services such as Netflix.

And the Emmy ratings were lower than they were any year except 2016, so it’s not just me. I’m sure the Handmaid’s Tale miniseries was tremendous – I read the book 20 years ago – but the buzz about the TV program is all secondhand to me.

Even the shows that are on basic cable, which I could watch, I don’t. I happened to catch an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia recently – it was on after the Daily Show – and I hated it so much, I couldn’t finish it.

And speaking of hate, Ken Levine, who has won three Emmys for writing Cheers, did his usual snarky review of the event, both as a podcast and in his blog, and apparently he got a lot of backlash. He was critical of Emmy announcer Jermaine Fowler, who is black, and some folks decided that Levine must be racist.

Well, I heard a couple of Fowler’s bits, and I thought they were fine, for WWE (wrestling), or being a home team announcer for a basketball or football game. (Someone else suggested that Fowler should cover sports, and there were those who perceived THAT to be a racist comment, because they were presumably implying that blacks should stay in their lane.)

I have real ambivalence about former White House press secretary Sean Spicer showing up at the Emmys. On one hand, he was a lying [place your favorite profanity here] in his previous position. On the other hand, his sudden appearance caught the audience by surprise, notably Melissa McCarthy, who portrayed him on Saturday Night Live, and Veep’s Anna Chlumsky, whose reaction became a Facebook GIF. I’m just pleased that none of the networks – CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and even FOX – are going to hire him.

As that list of shows that I “should” watch grows and grows, my chances of watching future Emmy Awards shrinks. The good stuff I’ll catch on YouTube clips.


The first time I became really aware with Glen Campbell was when he became the host of something called the Summer Brothers Smother Show, the summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in late June through early September 1968. It even featured the Smothers’ Presidential “candidate” Pat Paulsen. I watched it and liked it.

He had already had a couple crossover hits: Gentle on My Mind was penned by John Hartford, a regular on the show. By the Time I Get To Phoenix was written, as many of Glen’s recordings were, by Jimmy Webb. Plus he had a couple country hits.

Then he starred in the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour from January 1969 to June 1972, which I also viewed. It coincided with more hits such as Wichita Lineman, which has possibly THE most romantic couplet in pop music. Also Galveston, the Texas city I visited in 1995 or 1996 and kept singing in my head.

Sometime around this time, I learned that he had filled in for Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys tours for six months in the 1960s, and I thought that was cool.

I never saw him in the movie TRUE GRIT with John Wayne, for which the Duke won an Oscar. And I stopped paying attention to him as he went through what my buddy Johnny Bacardi called “his excessive wild man ’70s and ’80s-up phases, coke, and Tanya Tucker and all that nonsense.” But like Johnny, I learned he was part of the legendary Wrecking Crew of session musicians, and I developed a huge, newfound respect for him.

In this 2007 interview, Glen Campbell discusses his forgetfulness, which he attributed to his wild lifestyle of the past. But in 2011, it was announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

Then he, along with three of his six children, went on one final tour, recorded for the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which I thought was extraordinary.

On Facebook, Jimmy Webb wrote: “I watched him in awe executing his flawless rendition of ‘“The William Tell Overture’ on his classical guitar in his Vegas show. Jazz he loved. He claimed he learned the most about playing the guitar from Django Reinhardt.”

Glen Campbell died at the age of 81. Here’s an interview with Alice Cooper talking about his late good friend.

Listen to

Turn Around Look at Me, pop #62 in 1961, his first charted hit
Brenda, the B-side

Gentle on My Mind, pop #62 in 1967, #39 in 1968; country #30 in 1967, #44 in 1968

By the Time I Get To Phoenix, pop #26, country #2 in 1968

Wichita Lineman, pop #3, country #1 for two weeks
“And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.” – Jimmy Webb

Galveston, pop #4, country #1 for three weeks in 1969

Rhinestone Cowboy, pop #1 for two weeks, country #1 for three weeks, his signature song

Some Dustbury links, including Adios, recorded in 2015 but released in July 2017.

The National Parks Service offers a Senior Pass for those who visit national parks, a lifetime card for those 62 and over. I have one, and I assuredly recommend it. But the government is raising the price from $10 to $80 as of August 28, 2017.

The NPS, unsurprisingly, is experiencing a backlog of Senior Pass orders. “If you need your pass in less than three months, consider purchasing your pass at the first site you visit,” which will also avoid the $10 processing fee.
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I know I saw True West, the Sam Shepard play, fairly early after its 1980 debut. I think it was at Union College in Schenectady, but I can’t swear to that.

Shepard, unfortunately, died at the age of 73, a result of complications from ALS. And I got only sadder reading My Buddy by Patti Smith.

Critics for The New York Times on Sam Shepard’s Plays, Books, and Movies.

This quote was attributed to him: “Democracy’s a very fragile thing. You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it’s no longer democracy, is it?”
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There was a CBS lawyer drama called Doubt in February of 2017 on CBS. Two episodes aired and it was canceled, actually before I saw it. Now the remaining shows are being burned off over the summer, but only some are being broadcast. So if you happen to have On Demand, the listings will show for July 1, 8A, 8B, 15, 22A, 22B, 29. The B shows never aired, so if you had watched the episodes that were on TV on the 22nd and 29th, you’d see the beginning of the 29th ep, hear “Previously on ‘Doubt,” and wonder, “When did THAT happen?”
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Were You There When They Crucified Our Lord? by Linda Bonney Olin is now live on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions, for those of you who don’t think Christianity is that weird. I should note that 1) Linda is the wife of my wife’s cousin Bill, and 2) I was one of the people who proofread the book.
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Ever notice how people put info on social media and you want to know more? “A 3-9 putout” in a baseball game, or “If true, he should resign.” Which game, and how did it happen? If WHAT is true? WHO should resign? OK, I can guess who.

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