Monday, October 12, 2020

Reporting from captivity...

 I notice more people wearing masks lately.   But then, I’m in a Blue State.

Remember when those motorized Bird scooters were our biggest health hazard?

After seven months of binging, many of my friends are suggesting foreign series — Swedish murder mysteries, Israeli love stories, Australian soaps, etc.  They all seem to be on sub channels of other services.  Acorn TV and the like.  I didn't know these channels existed. 

I’m still not ready to go to restaurants.  

Highlights of last week — I got my flu shot. And I VOTED.  

I’m just as happy there’s no presidential debate this week, aren’t you?   JEOPARDY won't be pre-empted.  

My prediction:  Ken Jennings will ultimately replace Alex Trebek as host.  And by the way, GREAT choice. 

I hate the cheating Houston Astros.  I know that might piss off some readers in Texas but many Texans have already left me for hating the ALL-TIME national cheater.  

Great guest coming up later this week on my podcast.  Hint:  He's a writer. 

Congrats to the Lakers.  Driving around LA, I haven’t seen one Laker flag.  In the past, when sports were more than just a TV show,  if the Lakers were in the Finals every car had a Laker flag flying. 

Not much excitement over the Dodgers in the NLDS either.  But winning the World Series this year is like winning a Golden Globe instead of an Oscar.  It’s just not the same.  

Usually when a major sport crowns a champion the president of the United States calls.  To my knowledge he didn't, although how would we know?  No one on the Lakers would ever take his call. 

Zoom technology is going to be so much better during the next pandemic.  

THE RIGHT STUFF on Disney+ is pretty good.  

Why do rednecks refer to COVID as The COVID?   "Yep, he's got the COVID alright."

Can I pitch a TV ad for Joe Biden?  For 28 seconds you just show CALM. New England in the fall with colorful leaves floating down, waves lazily lapping a Hawaiian beach shore, birds chirping.  No announcer, no talking points, just… CALM.  And the last two seconds show the Biden-Harris logo.  I can’t think of a more effective and inviting ad.  

UPDATE: An unknown blog reader made an example:  Thanks much.

Once this pandemic is over and we can safely travel again, I bet there will be far fewer business trips.   Zoom is here to stay.  

Has it even occurred to you that the new Fall TV season is normally underway by now.

Stay safe.  Wear a mask.  Save lives, maybe even yours.  Vote to get our country back. 


Mark said...

That is a brilliant campaign ad for Joe Biden. I hope he steals it from you.

Anonymous said...

Who'd you vote for?

FFS said...

Blue State. Red State. Here in Canada the colour scheme for the Liberals (both the name of the party and their philosophy) is RED! The Conservatives use blue on their campaign signs. I guess both would be considered socialists using the standards of the American right who live in inexplicable fear of universal health care.

David said...

Regarding "Why do rednecks refer to COVID as The COVID?" I was going to say "Ignorance" until I realised that, until now, I hadn't realised the correct spelling was COVID, rather than Covid or covid.

Rudy said...


Markus said...

Zoom technology or Zoom principle is here to stay, maybe to the point of sometimes calling it "zooming" in the same way that using a search engine is "googling" no matter what. Zoom itself though is a bonfire from a computer security point of view, and soon will be replaced by something a lot better and safer and less questionable (there already are all sorts of alternative services and solutions out there).

And yeah, THE RIGHT STUFF indeed is pretty good, just never make the mistake of taking it for real or for depicting actual history as it happened. As the saying goes in spaceflight enthusiast circles, they got the names of the astronauts and the shape of the capsule right, and that's about it. The rest is basically fiction blowing the lid of the idea of "artistic license". (Much unlike Tom Wolfe's book that it's based on, which is largely accurate.)

iamr4man said...

Have you been watching sports? I’m sure you must have an opinion on the crowd noice thing. My own take is sometimes it seems natural and sometimes it seems really artificial and intrusive. Kind of like a laugh track on a comedy show. What’s your take?

Mike Barer said...

The hardest thing about blogging (reference to Covid) is when to capitalize.

zadig said...

It's all caps because it's really an acronym:

Irritating to

Further proof that the virus was designed to bring down the current admin. Thanks, Obama.

Anonymous said...

Make room on your baseball cheat sheet for Alex Rodriguez. Why he's allowed on ESPN remains a mystery to me.

Much as I dislike Biden-Harris and their race-based decision making, I have voted for them as well. If Trump ran against Mussolini, I would have a hard time deciding.

I can't remember the last time I voted FOR someone.


Troy McClure said...

Ken, you need to check out the YouTube channel of a comedy actor called Brent Terhune. He plays a parody of a redneck Trump supporter and his videos are absolutely hilarious and the perfect tonic.

There are three running gags in the videos that always crack me up. One is he refers to Trump as "Still my president and still YOUR president!" Second, he refers to the virus as Corona 19. And third, he ends every video by breaking into coughs.

norm said...

Yeah Laugh tracks.....which were stolen from the "Live" I Love Lucy show audiences.

Alyson said...

That's a great ad campaign. Now I'd like to see it. Just 30 seconds of CALM.

Troy McClure said...

David, for some reason, the orange turd himself pronounces it "CO-VED."

Michael Shriro said...

On "The Covid," why do people in Los Angeles refer to highways as "The" as in "The 101" or "The 405." In "Doctor T and the Women" which takes place in Dallas, a character refers to a local freeway as "The LBJ." No one does that in Dallas. It's Central Expressway or Central, LBJ Freeway, LBJ or 635, or Stemmons Freeway or 35. The only exception might be the tollroads.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Has anybody seen that new PSA in which Wayne Knight reprises his role as Newman to urge people to vote, while also lashing out at Trump and the government for trying to sabotage the postal service? It's great. I see where a lot of people are wanting John Ratzenberger to do the same as Cliff, but as I understand it, John is actually a Trump supporter.

Unknown said...

Here you go, I went out and grabbed some quick drone shots. If anyone can recommend a 30 second royalty free clip of music that would be great.

Earl Boebert said...

Highly recommend Britbox and Acorn for quality shows. For mystery fans there are few things on American TV as good as "Waking the Dead" or "Vera." "The Last Detective" is more comedy than mystery and a treasure of character-based humor. "Detectorists" is likewise. I'm not big on British sitcoms but the panel shows like "QI" and "Mock the Week" are a hoot. Closed captioning is advised to deal with the accents.

Over here, Peacock is running some of the best. "Columbo" is as comfortable as an old sweater, "Rockford Files" ("Leave your name and your number and we'll get back to you") still holds up well and Johnny Carson continually demonstrates that the sign of a consummate pro is that they make it look easy.

Yet Another Ken said...

The interstates are numbered ending in 5 going west to east; ending in zero south to north. 5, 15, 25; 10, 20, 30, etc. The 5 and 10 intersect in Los Angeles. The phrase "take five" means something else, and "take ten" is also low enough to be counting items. "Take ten of what to Covina?" So they are The 5 and The 10. That’s my theory.

VP81955 said...

So Los Angeles ends its six-year title drought in the "big four" sports. What -- Angelenos don't remember the Kings winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, their second in three seasons? Then again, not only don't they remember, they likely don't care.

LA sports is a two-dimensional city of front-runners...Dodgers/Lakers, Dodgers/Lakers. This is like what Washington used to be when it was obsessed with the team formerly known as the Redskins and nothing else. Thankfully, the Capitals and Nationals changed things in recent years, and now D.C. is arguably a better all-around sports town than LA -- maybe not up to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit or Boston, cities with a longer sports heritage, but certainly up in that neighborhood.

sanford said...

As hockey fan I realized hockey should have started already. We have an AHL team in Milwaukee and we go to a lot of games. And while it is not a big deal for an AHL team to win the Cup as it is for an NHL team to win the Stanley Cup, our team had a great chance to do it as they were the best team in the league when play stopped. I watched the baseball game last night after watching 60 minutes. 3:50 for a 2 to one game is intolerable. I went to an 18 inning game 2 years ago that was better. When I was growing up in the 50's there were games back then that would have lasted 4 hours in today's baseball. Not so much of a complaint but I wonder how this creeped up on the game. Even football game have gotten longer. Yesterdays Dallas-Giants game went over 3 hours. Of course having to tend to Prescott didn't help. I am not blaming him. What a terrible injury. Even last nights game went over 3 hours I didn't watch so I don't know if there were some delays for injuries or reviews. Even basketball seems longer. It takes at least 15 minutes to play the last couple of minutes of a close game.

Mark said...

"Once this pandemic is over and we can safely travel again, I bet there will be far fewer business trips. Zoom is here to stay."

Ted. said...

I recommend eating at restaurants that have uncrowded outdoor dining facilities. There are psychological benefits just to getting out of the house and doing something, and they're increasingly important the longer this thing goes on. If you choose restaurants that you know follow proper hygiene policies, it seems quite safe -- I've even been taking some of my older relatives who seldom get outside.

tb said...

You've seen the 10-second Biden commercial, right? A clip of Trump saying "If I lose, I'll go away and you'll never hear from me again", and then "I'm Joe Biden and I approve of this message". I thought it was pretty funny

MikeKPa. said...

I'm kind of glad all my sports teams are bad this year. What's a championship without a parade?

No said...

Why do rednecks refer to COVID as The COVID? "Yep, he's got the COVID alright."

Probably for the same reason that The Joker calls Batman "The Batman". He just doesn't realize how real the threat is to him.

John said...

My wife and I cut the cord over 2 years ago and have never been happier. We spend about 75% of our TV time now watching Acorn and Britbox. Acorn has a lot of excellent Australian and New Zealand shows, along with very good British content. Britbox has a good selection of older British mysteries along with recently aired programs from the BBC and ITV. Well worth looking into.

Kendall said...

I've got a Friday question. What does a director actually do in an animated series like The Simpsons? Go over storyboards? Tell the animators which shots he wants? Give notes to the voice actors?

Anonymous said...

I once worked with a highly unscrupulous writer who asked me to sit in on some brainstorming with her and another writer (who hired her). We were naming something. Whe I came up with a winner of a name, she added "The" and co-opted it as her own, claiming that adding the article was what made it work.

jcs said...

One of my favourite sitcom jokes about relationships is this one from CHEERS:

Frasier Crane: "Lilith Sternin is a good woman: strong, durable, reliable."
Norm Peterson: "She'd make a hell of a radial tire, actually."

To me this joke works on so many levels due to the characters involved and their backstories. It's funny and it stings. Is there a single writer I have to thank profusely for these lines or was this room written?

Anonymous said...

On a sort of related note, how come Brits say that someone is "in hospital" instead of "in the hospital"? (I've run out of American shows to watch too)
Also, why do we get "the flu", but not get "the influenza"?
And finally here's a lame joke that I once read either in a book or online (or in a book online): Question:"What do Alexander the Great and Winnie the Pooh have in common?" Answer:"They both have the same middle name."

Mike Bloodworth said...

Why do they call it "The COVID?" For the same reason us non-rednecks do. It's funny. I've been referring to COVID-19 as "The COVID" almost from the beginning.

Both the Lakers and the Dodgers abandoned me when they went to their cable only TV packages. It's kind of like when a girl breaks up with you. You hate her, yet you still want to have sex with her. Congratulations/Fμ@# you. Although, some Lakers fans did manage to get out and do a little rioting down by The Staples Center.
Related: You know there are Celtics fans screaming for an asterisk on this championship.

I have been voting by mail for years. But this election I'll be voting in person. I don't want any question marks regarding my ballot.
And yes. I WILL be wearing a mask. I always do.

I'm not comfortable going to restaurants either. Inside or outside. It's too bad because I miss going to "Happy Hour" with my friends and seeing the hot manager at the Outback Steakhouse. I also miss the post class meals at Little Tony's.

When the pandemic is over the scooters will return and in greater numbers.

Regarding "Jeopardy," you want a white, binary male to host the show?! That's very unprogressive of you.

I have more, but I've already taken up too much of your time.

Go Dodgers!


Mike Doran said...

Here in Chicagoland, we've got four major expressways, all named for celebrities and all taking a definite article:
- Going northwest from Downtown, there's The John F. Kennedy Expressway (AKA The Kennedy or The JFK);
- Westward from The Loop, there's The Dwight Eisenhower Expressway (AKA The Eisenhower or The Ike).
- Going Southwest from Downtown, there's The Adlai Stevenson Expressway (AKA The Stevenson).
- Going straight south from Downtown, there's The Dan Ryan Expressway, (AKA The Dan Ryan or simply The Ryan).

We locals usually include 'Dan' for the benefit of out-of-towners who recognize the first three names, but wouldn't know the long-time Democratic Chairman of Cook County and of the County Board Of Commissioners.
"Dan Ryan, that's the name to remember!
Dan Ryan, on the fourth of November!
Any better man isn't possible to find!
So remember to vote for DAN RYAN!"

(After all these years I still remember the music.)

Buttermilk Sky said...

Be careful when you vote -- "unofficial" ballot boxes have appeared in Los Angeles, Orange and Fresno counties. This takes "stealing elections" to a new level.

Roger Owen Green said...

My grandmother used to say "the arthuritis" for arthritis.
In the US you go to the hospital, but in the UK, you go to hospital. English is weird.

VP81955 said...

Mike Doran, every White Sox fan worth his or her salt knows the Dan Ryan (it's adjacent to the ballparks formerly known as Comiskey). Rich Renteria doesn't need to know it anymore after the Sox dismissed him as manager today...and supposedly one possible candidate is Tony La Russa, who may get a second shot at "winning ugly" (a term every South Sider fondly recalls).

Daniel said...

Watch the Canadian series "Slings & Arrows" on Acorn. One of the best TV series ever. Three seasons. Six episodes each. Extraordinary show.

Troy McClure said...

I just saw footage of Trump supporters gathering in Florida for his latest rally. Most of them aren't wearing masks.

In a few weeks, some of them will be just like Landon Spradlin, Karen Kolb Sehlke, Herman Cain, Tony Tenpenny, Juan Ciprian, Mark Urquiza, and Erin Hitchens.

Cap'n Bob said...

I-10 goes east out of California. I-70 is also east-west. And I-80. The El Camino Real is redundant. So is The La Brea Tar Pits. Only swing state votes mean anything as far as the election goes.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@Frank Beans, It's just a southern thing. I don't know why, exactly, but the older generations do it refering to almost any ailment you can imagine: the headache, the tummy ache, the diarrhea.

memocartoonist said...

re: TV - we've enjoyed the Danish show RITA (on Netflix) and MIDNIGHT DINER (also Netflix). I think you'd like them. RITA is five seasons and consistently good... MIDNIGHT DINER is more of an anthology series and has some highs and lows (and will make you hungry). :)

re: "The Covid".. yeah, AIDS was called "The AIDS" by the same crew and we "the Gays" made fun of that to no end ... these days I refer to "Facebook" as "the Facebook" as a holdover from those days. I don't know why, but it gives me a giggle.

re: Covid-19 - sigh well, we live in NYC along a street frequented by ambulances. We noticed in February when the sirens became more and more frequent .. it was really intense through March, April and most of May. It's been normal since the start of summer... but there's definitely been an uptick in the sirens again and it feels like February again. Since it seems a given that there will be massive uprisings no matter what the election results are going to be and with a surge, we have been storing non-perishables for weeks so we limit our supermarket runs. We don't live in a violent neighborhood but at this point I am not taking anything for granted. Paralyzed by fear? You betcha. How can one not see what is going on (Kenosha, Portland, and Michigan incidents are frikkin terrifying).

BTW I'm a constant reader of the column but mostly lurk. I appreciate your TV work (we binged Frasier last amazing, and I grew up on MASH) but it's this blog that speaks to today.

slgc said...

I agree with you about Ken Jennings. He is the best candidate possible to succeed Alex Trebek, in 50 years when that day comes.

Anonymous said...

@Mike Doran
What do you have against the Edens?

No said...

@Joseph Scarbrough

On reflection, I was thinking the same thing. That phrasing is common in many regions.

Mike Doran said...

I guess that I didn't make it clear that I was referring to the expressways that are actually in Chicago.
The Edens is northwest of the city proper; it hooks up with the Kennedy at that expy.'s far NW corner.

I'm South Side Irish, brought up with the White Sox, the Catholic Church, and the Democratic Party.
Somewhere down the line, I drifted from all three institutions, but a vestigial loyalty still asserts itself.
In my age group, we still venerate the memory of Bill Veeck.
I've been on the lookout for a photo of Veeck standing in line in the Capitol Rotunda when JFK was laying in state in '63 (for hours, on his peg leg, not long after more surgery made it larger and heavier)(But that's another story ...).

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

A miscellaneous note...the longtime television host Tom Kennedy died Oct. 7 at 93.

Although primarily a game show emcee ("You Don't Say," "Name That Tune"), Kennedy had an uncredited role as an unseen radio play-by-play football announcer in "The Army-Navy Game" episode of "M*A*S*H," aired Feb. 25, 1973.

McLean Stevenson co-wrote the episode with Sid Dorfman.

Breadbaker said...

When we moved, at the very beginning of the pandemic, we decided to cut the cord and see how long we could survive without any standard cable channels. We have Amazon Prime because we just moved in the middle of a pandemic and we needed the free two-day shipping anyway. We have over-the-air TV. We ordered Disney Plus for a month to watch their version of Hamilton and then used the rest of the month to gorge on Disney films that would become culturally relevant when our nearly one year old granddaughter starts to watch Frozen et al. Roku TV comes with our TV, and we watch Buzzr TV on it and on Amazon (old, old game shows; Alex Trebek in Classic Concentration is wonderful because he looks so young and alive).

So far, we've survived quite well, and have explored some fascinating things in the back catalog of Amazon Prime. If you like cooking shows, the Great British Menu has been on far longer than the Great British Baking Show, and has many, many seasons available. My Kitchen Rules is an Australian and then a New Zealand show. I do recommend the Israeli dramas Srugim, about five Modern Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem (colloquially called "No Sex and the City"), and "The Baker and the Beauty", which was made into a short-lived US show earlier this year, but the Israeli version is excellent. We also watched documentaries about Orthodox Jews in Australia and Vietnam and one about Jewish influence in early Bollywood (most Hindu and Muslim women were unwilling to play romantic roles in the early days, so they recruited Jewish women whose families traced themselves back 2000 years in India).

Anonymous said...

“Both the Lakers and the Dodgers abandoned me when they went to their cable only TV packages. “

The Chicago Cubs team - formerly owned by the racist Wrigleys, and
broadcast on radio and TV by the reactionary Tribune’s WGN Radio/TV
- a media group run by Col R.R. McCormick (whose WGN radio gave us Amos and Andy)-
was eventually bought by the Trib, then sold to the fascist Ricketts family
with the Cable TV-Only package going to the equally fascist Sinclair Broadcasting group-
who’ve bought up local stations so as to propagandize local news.

They’re liike Murdoch’s FOX before them, rich owners using sports not
only to line their pockets but also as a Trojan Horse to fund their far right political agendas,
weaponizing racism snd suppressing the vote without blinking an eye.

Unknown said...

"An unknown blog reader" I know who I am :D

I also setup this website a couple of weeks ago. Just hard facts, not political spin.

I had to use a zero in his name, as let's face it, that's what he is.


Greg said...

Lifelong Astros fan in Texas here. Not a Trump fan. Deleting your bookmark from my browser.

Anonymous said...

To the dearly-departed Greg, and those who might agree with him:

Members of Comiskey’s (criminally underpaid) Chicago Black Sox
took bribes for throwing games and were banned for life.
Pete Rose was banned from the HOF for betting on games while
working as a manager.

Following these past decisions on cheating and corruption,
tell us why all the Astros players weren't
banned, other than to protect the MLB for its millionaire+ owners.

Dave H said...

I am still watching tons of old TV shows. Some have aged better than others. Not a fan of One Day At A Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times (Jimmy Walker is so annoying), The Fact's of Life.

I have been watching Three's Company and it's so bad. It's interesting what was so popular back then. It's completely sexist, homophobic and just dumb. There is a episode where Mr. Furley tries to cure Jack of being gay. Wtf? The highlight of the show is John Ritter. He was great at what he was given to do as dumb as it was.

I still really enjoy Cheers but I do prefer The Sam And Diane Years. It was Gold. And Woody and Frasier were perfect additions. And the Lady who played Cliff's Mom was hilarious. I was not a big fan of Rebecca. The rest was awesome.

I still enjoy Taxi, Seinfeld. There are some guilty pleasure shows like The Partridge Family for the early 70's look and music.

One thing I notice about all of them is memorable opening theme songs. You could sing along or hum along to all of them. I am not a big fan of the old Hawaii Five O show but it may have the best opening of a TV show ever. Lol You get pumped up when you see that big wave coming and that zoom in shot of Jack Lord. Great.

That may be a good question of the week if it hasn't been asked yet. What are your favorite TV theme songs of all time? There is a lot to choose from.

One final thing, I was watching a Trump supporter being interviewed at one of Trumps "spread the virus and Hate" rallies and he was asked why he wasn't wearing a mask. He said "the sooner we get this virus the quicker it will go way". When this is all over studies should be done on people who support this guy.