Dramedy

I’ve been having this three-year dialogue with a newspaper writer of radio and television issues. Back in June 2002, he noted that the word “dramedy” first came into use in describing “Ally McBeal” in 1997 in the media. This set off an alarm in my brain, which happens every time I read something in the newspaper or see something on TV or hear something on the radio that I know to be incorrect. (So you can just imagine what happens when I hear deliberate lies, which is why I don’t often listen to talk radio, or Presidential press conferences.)

I went into the archives of HIS newspaper and found this headline:
NEW HALF-HOUR ‘DRAMEDIES’ SPELL PROMISE
09/18/1987

It cited Hooperman, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, and Slap Maxwell as dramedies.

He wrote back:

“You are the man.
The man with a lot of free time, but the man nonetheless.
I will remember this down the road. Thanks.”

(Actually, it didn’t take that long. I wouldn’t have looked it up had I not already pretty well known the outcome.)

So, I was actually mildly distressed when he made the SAME ERROR a couple weeks ago.

Naturally, as a librarian, an information specialist, I could not sit by idly.

“I bring this up YET AGAIN because you made mention in your column of ‘dramedy’ starting in 1997 with Ally Mac, which JUST AIN’T the case.”

Being the thorough sort, I even gave him a link to check out.

After he acknowledged his error, I wrote: “I won’t bug you again until the next time you mess up.” To which he said, “OK, I’ll hear from you tomorrow.”

Once something sees print, information is often taken as fact by somebody else. “The sun revolves around the earth.” “Cooperstown is the birthplace of baseball.” “There were WMDs in Iraq.” Read it, or hear it often enough, and people will actually start to believe it.

So all of you whose websites or blogs I’ve offered friendly corrections from time to time, please don’t take it the wrong way. It’s a librarian disease, and there is no cure, except accuracy.

Conversely, if I make an error in fact, I’d l’d like to know about it so I can fix it. Really. (If I make what you feel is an error in opinion, you can tell me about that too, but it may not, OK, probably won’t change anything.)

Romeo, Romeo

Carol, Lydia, and I sojourned down to the Mid-Hudson valley a couple hours south of Albany for the weekend.

FRIDAY- If you’ve read the column at Frez Sez for August 9 – complete with (shudder), photographs (or should that be (shutter)?), you will already know what the first stop was: visiting Fred Hembeck and Lynn Moss! Given the fact that I have mentioned Fred in this blog any number of times, I may have failed to say that I probably haven’t SEEN him in the flesh since…well, I don’t know. I MAY have run into him at Midnight Comics in 1992, but even that would have been 13 years ago. And it was probably much longer.

Lynn, I’m almost certain that I haven’t seen since my FantaCo days, and that was 1988. If she wasn’t at the FantaCon that year, it might have even been 1983, the previous FantaCon and the year after they moved from Troy to the Mid-Hudson.

Of course, they haven’t met Carol or Lydia.

We arrived in the mid-afternoon (our goal was earlier, but ever since we had a child, we are, inexplicably, ALWAYS LATE.) We got to meet the famous Julie, one of the stars of Fred’s column Fred Sez. She’s bright and pleasant and a talented artist; the source of these skills is a puzzlement. (Kidding, Fred!) Unfortunately, MY child, Lydia, proceeded to move some things around, such as some models for some still life; I hope Julie forgives.

Lydia was infinitely interested in the bunny Romeo. She’s never seen such a creature, so she thoroughly enjoyed petting the rabbit.

I should note that a couple days before, I get this lengthy e-mail from Fred describing the disarray of his abode. It was not as bad as he made it sound, and was a lot neater than places I lived pre-Carol. It was, as someone I knew called it, “lived in,” particularly the area where Fred creates his artistic magic. I recognized some of the comics pulled out for his recent writings (Dr. Graves, Little Dot).

Early on, Carol and Lynn discover that Lynn knows Carol’s brother Dan from work!

As Fred wrote, one of the peculiar aspects of parts of the conversation was that I would say something, and often Fred and/or Lynn would say, “Oh, yeah, you mentioned that in your blog.” Fred would make a comment and I’d cite Fred’s even longer body of electronic musings. Fortunately, we DID have things to talk about that we hadn’t written about, and since Carol doesn’t often read my blog and I doubt EVER reads Fred’s (sorry, guy), it was all new to her.

Since Fred and Lynn have a nearly 15-year old (birthday the same month as Michael Jackson, her former musical hero – now she’s into Pink Floyd), the house isn’t what you called babyproof, so Carol & I took turns chasing around Lydia lest she tumble down the couple steps into the living room or den. Lydia seemed to love going around and around and around…

Fred dropped off Julie at a friend’s house. Later we had a lovely lasagna dinner prepared by Lynn. Afterwards, the storm that had come through passed and we went into the pool.

My favorite conversation with Fred took place then. It was a lot of pop culture references for which we could use verbal shorthand. In fact, the BEST part was when we discussed…oh, wait, I can’t talk about THAT. Fred is going to use it for his blog! It has to do with entertainment, but not comic books.

Then I got to go to THE BASEMENT, where rows of comics and comic-related material resided, some stacked quite neatly. But the man needs more shelves!

We had a wonderful time but needed to leave to go to our hotel room near Poughkeepsie and put the child to bed.

SATURDAY: We went to a swimming party at Darla’s in Pleasant Valley. This was a group of old friends, some of which I’d known since college, and the rest were connected to my college buds. Lydia was fascinated by the cat, also named Romeo, but the feline just ran away. Lots of good food. A mellow time.

SUNDAY: We left the hotel and drove over to my college town of New Paltz. Well, the place has a NP mailing address, but is actually closer to Rifton. In any case, I visited my friends Mark and Paula. They were at the party yesterday but arrived late, and we didn’t have much of a chance to talk with them then. Mark is one of the few people I can tell you the date I met him: September 12, 1971, the first day of college. We’ve been friends ever since. He’s the one who got me into comic books. Paula is his high school sweetheart. They went their separate ways after high school, but got back together in the early 1990s and got married. They have a 10-year old daughter Adrienne.

We had lunch, and the talk old friends have. I nagged Mark into seriously thinking about a blog (he’s a lot more opinionated than I), and suggested possible topics for it.

We drove home, happy to have experienced the trip, and happy to be home (except that, apparently, the power had gone out AGAIN…)

Media Notes

ATAS Reverses Restrictions on Emmy Speeches
James Hibberd, TV Week

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences board of governors voted Monday night to not restrict the speeches of writers and directors winning awards during the Sept. 18 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast.
The decision reverses an April announcement that nominees in the six prime-time writing and directing categories would have to prepare pre-taped remarks, which would be played as the winner walked to the stage. Sources said writers and directors upset about the decision had made threats, including not preparing tapes, preparing tapes that mocked the Emmys and boycotting the telecast.
“Some of the initial assumptions were not accurate in light of the way the show was being constructed,” the academy said in a statement. “In effect, the amount of time being saved was not as much as originally thought, and the costs incurred would be in excess of original projections.”
The reversed plan was the result of viewer focus-group research seeking ways to make the awards more exciting.
The 2004 broadcast was seen by 14 million total viewers, the second-lowest-rated Emmy awards in history. Last month, Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich was tapped to executive produce the ceremony, taking the reins from veteran Emmys producer Don Mischer.
***
Peter Jennings: Reporter, 8-10 p.m. (EDT), Wednesday, August 10 on ABC-TV.
***
David Brickman will be doing his fifth art criticism spot on WAMC (90.3 fm) Thursday, August 11 at 11:07 a.m. The topic will be the local art scene as represented by several summer art shows in Albany. By the way, for the out-of-towners it is possible to listen online at wamc.org (live only – not archived)

“Living with cancer…”

Five years ago, 10 August 2000, my father, Leslie Harold Green died of prostate cancer.
Actually, the death certificate, which cites me as the “reporter” (whatever that means), says that he died of heart failure which was caused by a stroke which was precipated by prostate cancer (or some such.)

The first time Dad told us he had the disease was in early 1998. My sister Leslie, who lives in San Diego, and I were both visiting the Greens in Charlotte. I remember that my sister was very upset, but I wasn’t all that much, and she was upset that I wasn’t upset. My reaction was probably based on the fact that HE didn’t seem all that upset.

In fact, he seemed pleased by the fact that he had this disease, but that he was still in control. At Carol’s and my wedding (15 May 1999), he did all the floral arrangements and decorations. He seemed to relish in telling my new mother-in-law about it almost nonchalantly that evening.

And he also did the decorations for my parents’ 50th anniversary party (12 March 2000), perhaps needing to take a break a little more often, but still going well. More than once, I heard him say to church folks and others: “I’m living with prostate cancer, not dying from it.” That always got an “amen” from the congregation. I wasn’t quite sure what the heck that meant, and I felt as though I were missing the punchline somehow.

My father was active in many, many things, including being the organizer and primary chef for the breakfast program at his church. Sister Leslie was talking to our mother on Leslie’s birthday (23 July 2000), but my father, having made breakfast for four dozen people that morning, indicated that he was too tired to talk with her. This set off alarm bells for her. Leslie was always my father’s favorite child. This is not a complaint, it’s a fact that even she has admitted to. I mean, she’s NAMED after him, for crying out loud. So, if he’s too tired to talk with her on her birthday, something’s seriously amiss.

The next week, even though she’d been in Charlotte earlier in that month, she flew from San Diego to Raleigh, then drove to Charlotte, arriving the very night he went into the hospital with some bleeding.

So, my mother, Leslie, and sister Marcia stayed with my father on a rotating basis. I talked with one of them on the phone every day.

That first weekend, my father thought that he was well enough to go home, so he got up and started taking out his IV tubes. This set off alarms at the nurses’ station, where they had to insist that he return to his room. He was a bad patient.

Then, on Thursday, August 3, my father has a massive stroke, and I knew I had to go to Charlotte.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t want to go to Charlotte. It wasn’t because we were backed up at work (though we were) or that one of us was already on vacation (though she was). I didn’t want to go to Charlotte because I figured if I went down there, my father would die. (Conversely, I figured that if I stayed up in Albany, he’d hang on for a while.)

But my wife Carol & I got tickets to fly to the Queen City. (Here’s a piece of advice, if you’re ever in that situation; compare the price the airline gives you for their “compassionate rate” with what you might find from Priceline.com or its competitors. I’ll bet the latter is cheaper, and you don’t have the hassle of the paperwork, in this case, getting a note from my father’s physician, Dr. Friedman, that said, yes, Les Green is really, really sick.)

Carol & I went right from the airport to the hospital on Monday, August 7. Even though he had some paralysis on one side, I could usually understand what he was saying. That night, Carol and I stayed in his room.

The next morning, Marcia was on the phone and made some lighthearted tease at Dad’s expense. Dad heard this, even though the phone was to my ear, and said fairly clearly, “not funny,” but he was obviously thought it was. Carol & I stayed with him that morning, then that afternoon, my mother.

My mother, Leslie, Carol and I met with an aid worker to determine what our options were if he were to live for a while: home care, hospice. My sisters stayed with him Tuesday night.

Carol & I were in on Wednesday morning. Dad became far less responsive since I had last seen him, pretty much in a comalike state, and on Wednesday night, Dr. Friedman said that it was likely that he would die within a week.

That evening, I turned on a baseball game, and explained the action to my father. I think the sound was down, so I was doing a play-by-play for a couple innings. I told him about Jason Giambi, the long-haired player for the Oakland A’s who had “graced” the cover of Sports Illustrated within the previous year. It took me back to when Dad would explain in-person baseball and televised football to me when I was a kid.

There were men from church who worked with my father on the breakfast program, and Dad called them “The Guys.” They came by and were surprised by his rapid decline since they had last seen him.

Wednesday night, we went home and Marcia stayed.

Thursday morning, I was working on an obituary for my father. Leslie had gone to relieve Marcia. Then at about 11:45 a.m., Marcia called from the hospital and said that my father was in the “death throes.” There were two vehicles in the household and both were at the hospital.

At my mother’s suggestion, I knocked on the door of a neighbor of theirs who I didn’t know. He worked nights. He did, in fact, give my mother and me a ride to the hospital after he got dressed. But by the time we got there, my father had passed away.

In due course, we identified a funeral parlor, which we went to Friday morning. That weekend, there were tons of people at the Green household, often bringing over food.

The service that we planned went off quite well. Leslie sang, Leslie & I sang, stories were told. We felt as though we had to comfort OTHERS in their grief. We had on our game faces; Dad would have been proud, I think.

That Monday, we (my mother, Leslie & her daughter Becky, Marcia & her daughter Alex, and Carol and I) all rode in a limo to a military cemetery some 30 or 40 miles away, our one indulgence. (We weren’t that sure where it was, and didn’t know what condition we’d be in.) It was a small, stark ceremony run by old war veterans, and it was oddly affecting. The Sunday service WE did; this service was DONE FOR US, and somehow more emotional.

Carol & I left soon thereafter for Albany. We had tenants moving into an apartment we owned, and there was work to be done. And I didn’t really cry until, a couple weeks after his death, the associate pastor of my church, Donna Elia, called me at work to extend her condolences. It’s a good thing to have a private office.

That fall, I returned to choir, and I asked my buddy Peggy how her summer was, and she said, “Not so great. My father died.” I said, “Mine, too.” Then she said, “In August.” I replied, “Me too.” “On the 10th.” “Me too.” “At 3 p.m.” “Mine was about 12:15 p.m.” It’s created some sort of special bond between Peggy and me. So, I know she’s remembering five years ago, too.

Mixed Bag CD Blog Review-Andrea

NAME: Andrea Faetanini
BLOG NAME: Entertainment for Geeks
NAME OF CD: Playgeek
NUMBER OF CUTS: 27
RUNNING TIME: 78:42
COVER ART: Photo of one my favorite lamented shows (can you guess?)- “Freaks and Geeks”
SONG LIST: Her post of June 14
ALREADY REVIEWED BY: Nat Pike on June 15; Gordon on June 29
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Andrea’s disc is louder in places than some of the others. It also has humorous bits, some of which worked better (Python, Shaun & Ed) than others. Andrea e-mailed the group noting “weird distort-y thing going on” during some tracks which frankly didn’t bother me. I enjoyed this album quite a bit.
THINGS I PARTICULARLY LOVED: The Postal Service, Nerf Herder, Ted Leo, and Duran Duran (!) – I love the original, but this ain’t bad.
ON THE OTHER HAND: I don’t think Hero of Canton would appeal to me, even without distortion. Actually the only real sag for me was this and the A Team right before it.
OFFICE FRIENDLY: Considering the subtitle, “The F***est Uppest Mix CD”, not much more than you’d hear in a PG-13 movie.
ONLY VAGUELY RELATED: On mixed CDs Fred Hembeck has made for me, he introduced me to two songs that appear on this disc, the Buffy theme and the Who cut.