|April 6, 2006
A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
- . . . Last weekend, spring was sprunging all over Washington. It was time to be outside. Everybody was down at the Tidal Basin looking at the cherry blossoms and boy, were they beautiful! Full array. It was a sight to see.
- . . . But the people, the crowds … I decided to go early Saturday morning – 7 a.m. – and you wouldn’t believe the hundreds of people there already. Does anybody ever sleep anymore? No matter what time of day, the hoards are there. Decided not to try and park and walk along the water because it would’ve been too much of a hassle. So just did a drive-by.
- . . . The day brought out all sorts. One guy was riding his bike and sitting in a basket attached to the handle bars was his pet bird in a cage. I guess it was a good day to air him out.
- Barbara Harrison of News4 Washington is working out with another celebrity. Leading into a break in the morning program earlier this week, Barbara asked viewers to stay tuned for “my run through the cherry blossoms with Mayor (D.C.) Anthony Williams.” He’s part of her new series called Fitness on the Fast Track. Before that she had one called Losing The Last 10 Pounds.
- . . . She exercises with the stars of Washington and the World. Before Willaims it was Condoleezza Rice in the State Department gym and after her it was with First Lady Laura Bush, power-walking on the White House lawn. But it’s all in the name of fitness so I guess it’s for a good cause.
- NEW LOOK. The New York Times Web site has one. Softer, not as black and white and scripty looking. The headlines are now in a light blue and the story blurbs underneath are in black. They say the look has been refreshed. That’s accurate. Plus they’re accenting, as many other sites have been doing, multimedia (video, photo galleries) and feature a new Most Popular page which shows Most E-Mailed articles, Most Blogged articles, Most Searched articles (key words) and Most Popular Movies.
- . . . Friendly and useful journalism, I guess.
- Mr. Big Stuff reports that “Condoleezza Rice Gibbons” (where is Leeza Gibbons these days?) pronounces the word allies with the accent on the second syllable, instead of on the first. Well that could be annoying.
- BASIC INSTINCT 2: Stunk, at least at the box office. Came in 10th.
- . . . I was surprised. Thought there’d be more interest but hey, I was wrong.
- . . . Movie did not strike a similar pose as Sharon Stone did in that infamous shot in the first Basic (1992). But she did show natural born self in the new one several times: her upper body exposed in a couple scenes and a full distant side-shot of her standing with an open robe on, ready for the Jacuzzi. Her character, crime novelist Catherine Tramell, enjoys steamy, rough sex and her dialogue is very sharp, blunt and profane with certain words her favorites.
- . . . She gets in trouble because of a car accident in which a passenger gets killed and is later appointed a psychiatrist by Scotland Yard. She lures the curious doctor (David Morrissey) and there’s lots of sexual tension that is released from time to time.
- Charlotte Rampling’s in it and it’s good to see her. She’s a good actress and also played a shrink in the movie.
- . . . It was an okay movie but … it was hard to take seriously. Stone was too tough-acting to be believable and seemed too over-the-top, almost like it was done purposely but it doesn’t some off well. Confusing? Yes, I admit. The movie’s definitely a renter.
- SHE’S LEAVING HOME. Katie Couric announced she’s leaving the Today show after 15 years. They showed a clip of the opening of the first show she did in which the announcer called her Katherine Couric. Then she was paired with Bryant Gumbel and he and she commented about what name she should go by. She said she didn’t know whether she liked being called Katherine or Katie but I guess Katie stuck.
- . . . They then switched to real time with Katie sitting on the couch next to Matt Lauer and she went into her spiel about leaving the show and moving on to the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes.
- . . . “Can I come back and visit?” she asked Matt Lauer. Yeah, I’m sure that’s gonna happen.
- . . . So it’s a done deal. Now the jockeying really starts on who will replace her.
- . . . What’s wrong with Bob Schieffer, the current Evening News anchor? He’s doing well and that network’s (CBS) ratings are coming up while ABC’s and NBC’s have gone down. Schieffer seems perfectly capable of handling the broadcast.
- . . . CBS better be careful and handle the transition intelligently. Viewers are loyal and they don’t like change so this needs to be a delicate operation. I’m just sayin’.
- Della Reese – remember her from Touched By An Angel (CBS) – is on TV again (Home Shopping Network), this time selling clothes for full-figured women. She’s hawking colorful silk ruffled duster tops ($79.90) and a “silk-printed asymmetrical tunic with fringe,” among other clothing. But the models I saw wearing the merchandise didn’t look full-figured to me. They weren’t plus-size. They oughta get that right.
- . . . Della is also a singer and way, way back in the ‘50s she had a big hit ballad called Don’t You Know (RCA Victor, 1959), plus she sings gospel. Thought I’d put that out there.
- . . . And speaking of HSN, I saw a promo for the John Lennon Collection for jewelry that Yoko Ono has approved that the shopping channel will be featuring. There’s a lot of money to be made on those shopping channels.
- . . . Wouldn’t John Lennon just roll over in his grave if he knew that was happening? I question Yoko’s judgment.
- MORE TIME . . . To do your taxes. This year the standard due date of April 15 falls on a Saturday so the due date this year is Monday, April 17. But, for some others they won’t be due until April 18 due to the observance of Patriots Day in the Boston area (where some returns are processed). So there’s more time to procrastinate.
- HE THREW THE BALL WITHOUT THE FOLDEROL. President Bush did, on the first day of baseball out in Cincinnati on Monday. He had on a Cincy Reds jacket and was out there in the field with some of the players milling around and then, before you knew it and without any warning, he tossed the ball, signaling the beginning of the season. There was no big warm-up or get ready for the camera kind of shenanigans. Before you knew it, it was over and done with. Good, get it done and go on to the next thing. The hell with the set-up.
- . . . The prez is getting casual a lot lately. Monday: a baseball jacket. And last Friday he wore a white summer shirt, untucked-in, sorta like one of those guayabara things while he was climbing the ruins in Mexico with President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. So he tailors his wardrobe to his environment.
- Priscilla Presley looks like she’s wearing a mask. She was on TV last week because Elvis’s home, Graceland, has now been declared a National Historic Landmark. She’s getting up there in age, we all know, but that job they did on her face looks like another Joan Rivers mistake.
- GOOD SLOGAN: “Because there’s always more to the story.” This used by the new Washington Post Radio which broadcasts on 1500 AM/107.7 FM and on the Internet at washingtonpostradio.com. Take a listen. It’s the paper and more – lots of behind-the-story chatter featuring two-ways with Post and washingtonpost.com reporters and columnists.
- NBC’s Baghdad correspondent Richard Engel uses a punching bag to relieve tension while he’s over there. They showed him doing it and that boy packs a wallop. He was featured on Nightly News last Friday and Campbell Brown, sitting in for Brian Williams, introduced his piece about his life in the war zone covering the news and called him “the longest sitting correspondent there.” Oh, and he’s also got a blog – who doesn’t? -- called Blogging Baghdad: The Untold Story.
- . . . Blogging Baghdad. Don’t know if I like that. Sounds blockheady.
- Are they serious when the foreign news service, Agence France-Press, reports that Paris Hilton looks like Mother Teresa? Good God! They report that Indian film director T. Rajeevnath thinks so and has placed the heiress’s name on his short list to play the saint in an upcoming movie.
- . . . Wonders never cease. Will this be a Bollywood-type production?
- A RANT ON LUCENT-BRAND WORK PHONES. When I’m at work on the phone talking to someone and someone else calls my number, I don’t know that that’s happening. The second line light doesn’t light up. The call automatically goes to voicemail and a red light turns on when the message has been left. In the old days with the button phones you could be on one line and see the other one(s) lighting up if someone’s calling you and you could go to it and put your current conversation on hold while you found out who was calling on the other line. You can’t do that on the Lucents and I don’t like it. You have no idea there’s another call coming in. I can handle more than one call at a time. I don’t like being in the dark about it. Someone out there oughta do something about it
- . . . So I think I need a vacation.
- ROACH JEWELRY. Believe it or not, live roaches are being sold as jewelry. They’re “adorned” with rhinestones and other such gems with a leash attached to the buggies (glued on?) so they can roam all around on the wearer’s chest, say a sweater or a blouse or a shirt. They’re worn as brooches. It’s one of the latest styles, says some jeweler in Utah.
- . . . TV said, however, that this isn’t all that new. It’s a tradition that Mexican women have been observing for quite some time, said some TV show host. Hmm.
- People got upset – some press people -- last Sunday in Boston because Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made an obscene hand gesture to a Boston Herald newspaper reporter who asked him about being a judge and his impartiality in light of his public worship or some such thing. When Scalia emerged from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross he responded by saying, “You know what I say to those people?” And then he flicked his cupped hand away from under his chin. “That’s Sicilian,” and quipped. (NOTE: The gesture is an Italian “thing” used to convey displeasure with someone. Some contend that it’s vulgar and means much more than described above.)
- . . . To continue … a character on TV used the gesture Wednesday night on CSI: NY. Detective Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) was talking to his boss, Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) about some young criminal suspects and used the same gesture – putting his hand under his chin and flicking it out – while saying, “These kids don’t give a ‘f’ ....” He didn’t say the F word but he mouthed the F part of it. So he was conveying displeasure too. For God’s sake, it’s out there. People cuss and do things.
- A reader of Kim O’Donnel’s What’s Cooking online discussion program last week on washingtonpost.com wrote in to suggest a solution to those who eat lots of legumes and other “windy” foods. Fennel seeds can “reduce the impact of these foods on our systems.” (Beano was not available in the writer-in’s geographical location.) So go out and buy fennel seeds to you don’t stink up the place.
- CORRECTION. In last week’s Random I mentioned Antonio Banderas’s dance stance in the ads for his new movie, Take The Lead, which opens this coming weekend. I said that they were probably doing the rhumba or the samba. On second thought, I think they were probably doing the tango. It’s hard to keep all those sensuous Latin dances straight. I should ask J. Lo or somebody.
- Boy George may have his problems with the law (New York arrest for falsely reporting a burglary and cocaine found in his apartment) but he’s still plugged in to the music business. He co-wrote the currently hot Brit James Blunt’s #1 hit, You’re Beautiful. Plus, he’s a popular DJ and plays all over the world. So he shouldn’t be written off.
- Entertainment Tonight reported last week that John Travolta, of all people, will play Edna Turnblad, the big heavy mother of Tracy, in a re-do movie of the original John Waters cult movie Hairspray (1988). Queen Latifah has been cast for Motormouth Maybelle and Billy Crystal will play Turnblad hubby Wilbur.
- . . . Travolta as Edna Turnblad? Maybe that’s what Scientology does to you.
- Martha Stewart admitted that she was a “maniacal micromanager” to former Disney chief Michael Eisner on his new CNBC show, Conversations With Michael Eisner. (His signature is in the title graphic of the new interview program, like Bob Schieffer’s is on Face the Nation or David Brinkley’s was on This Week With David Brinkley.
- NBC’s Lester Holt has been graying at the temples but lately they’re not so gray. Maybe he’s Just For Menning.
- Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood, played with Parvez, the young son of owner Sally’s house painter, last week. The kid really took a liking to the demanding canine.
- NEED THIS. Live TV on my cell phone, especially American Idol. I need to watch it while I’m on the go. Can someone work on that? This should happen.
- SICK OF: High Density Housing. It’s happening everywhere. Everything crammed into one small space. It’s appealing to some but to me … Give me the wide open spaces.
- UH . . . You Can’t Turn Me Off (In the Middle of Turning Me On) – High Inergy, on Gordy (Motown label), 1978. Great lyrics by girl group discovered by Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister Gwen.
© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts
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