August 29, 2004


  1. . . . I guess network coverage of the Republican National Convention will be a repeat of the Democrats'. Three lousy hours over four days. That's all. You have to go the alternative route in order to see more, to the land of C-SPAN and PBS. No slight to them. Even the "network" cablers, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, don't show all of it. They incorporate their regular programs within it.
  2. . . . And FORGET finding out about it in TV Guide. They've got so many charts and grids I can't make out any of it. Things highlighted in horizontal listings on the same page as the normal - old-fashioned? - vertical way of presenting the shows with a little narrative about them. A million classifications of programs: Day Time, Prime Time, Late Time, Week Day, Sports Guide, First-Run Series, Hits & Misses, Night Owl. I can't get through it all.
  3. Matt LeBlanc's gonna be as stupid on his new sitcom (Joey) as his character was on Friends.
  4. President Bush is going to deliver his speech Thursday night in a theater-in-the-round-type thing so that everybody can see him. Down closer to the audience and the people. On their level. Surrounded. Laid bare.
  5. "WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE." Heavy movie, takes its time. Two couples whose members cheat on each other. Well-written and acted. Pretty realistic. Not done up in a big Hollywood way. Laura Dern is the standout. She plays Mark Ruffalo's wife. One thing bothered me about her: she looked too much older than him. Naomi Watts is married to Peter Krause, the guy who's on HBO's Six Feet Under. He's the wise guy. Overall, a decent serious movie that seems to work for what it is.
  6. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "We expect pop-up demonstrations" while the convention's in town.
  7. LAURA BRANIGAN DIED. Of an aneurysm in her sleep, say reports. Her Gloria soared to the top of the pop charts in 1982. It was a powerful production of a song that disco club DJs played at peak times during the night. The song had a long life. Dick Clark was a big fan of hers and had her on Bandstand quite a lot. She also had other hits (Solitaire) up to 1987. She was 47.
  8. "Hillary and Guiliani, only on Meet the Press," promo-ed Tim Russert on the Sunday Today show. That wasn't altogether true. Rodham Clinton was on two other Sunday morning talk shows - This Week With George Stephanopoulos and Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer. Guiliani was just on Press, so maybe Tim meant that particular coupling, in which case he was right. But I thought it was misleading. Nobody gets an exclusive anymore.
  9. RIDICULOUS. Oprah Winfrey on the cover of every month's O Magazine. What, is she gonna do it when she's 70? Always looking radiant. I know the mag's a success but does the doyenne have to be modeling clothes and hairstyles every month, for crissakes?
  10. . . . It's a bit much.
  11. Charlie Rose had CNN's Anderson Cooper on his show the other night. Cooper's up and coming. Some say he'll the be next ... whoever. He and Rose both love their jobs. Seems they both get up every morning and feel great about what they do. It's so interesting. It's so privileged.
  12. . . . And, IT'S BORING ... when TV types interview each other.
  13. A friend of mine who went with me to see We Don't Live Here Anymore kept getting Laura Dern's name wrong. She kept calling her Lorna Doone. Ha Ha Ha.
  14. Those synchronized swimmers in the Olympics reminded me of one of those Busby Berkeley movies from the ‘30s but he did his stuff with a cast of hundreds and elaborate overhead shots to show all the moves of all the lovely ladies. It's a wonder the swimmers don't drown.
  15. Mr. Big Stuff didn't know Olympic gymnast Paul Hamm was a twin
  16. . . . And soccer star Mia Hamm carried the U.S. flag for the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics.
  17. . . . So come Paul pronounces his last name HAHM and Mia's is pronounced Ham? Is it a European-type thing? They're both American, aren't they?
  18. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos changed her name. No more Stamos. Think people will know who she is now? I think so. Her star's ascending; his isn't.
  19. I'M GEORGE W. BUSH AND I DISAPPROVE THIS MESSAGE. How about that for a change?
  20. Seems like the word medal has become a verb now. Many announcers in the Olympics used it that way describing what the athletes did. He or she medaled this or medaled in that or didn't medal.
  21. Author Joyce Carol Oates doesn't have on her peep glasses in the picture on the cover flap of her new novel, The Falls, a family drama of "distrust, greed, murder and , ultimately, love," set against the backdrop of Niagara Falls, says her publisher's press release. Maybe it's a new look for her and maybe she's bustin' out, as Rick James would say.
  22. . . . Bustin' out on some serious funk ...
  23. HE'S A WORKING MAN. George Bush is, when he's on the stump and takes off his tie and rolls his sleeves way up. He's hunkerin' down.
  24. SPOKEN CREDITS. At the end of the Olympics an announcer announced some of the top production people who worked on the broadcasts, starting with Dick Ebersol, the executive producer. Maybe 10 or so names under him. Reminded me of the days when ABC Sports used to announce the name of Roone Arledge at the end of Wide World of Sports.
  25. Sometimes I dial the phone dyslexicly.
  26. Whenever I hear about those Swift boat fellas, I keep hearing that old song Shrimp Boats Are Coming. I don't know why.
  27. "I BURST INTO TEARS." That's what Jane Pauley tells Stone Phillips on a Dateline exclusive this week, probably referring to her bipolar disorder that nobody knew about. (Her syndicated starts this week too. Good tie-in.)
  28. OFFBEAT IDEA. Some people are worried about the Muppets once Disney gets ahold of ‘em. There's talk of an ABC re-do of The Wizard of Oz with them and Quentin Tarantino's involved. Who in the H thought of that?
  29. Speedo really made their fashion statement at the Olympics. Skimpy stands out in my mind. I've never seen such small bathing suits in my life - the girls' and the guys'. Jenny Thompson, Michael Phelps, Amanda Beard and Natalie Coughlin modeled their garments at a Speedo promo event in Athens.
  30. "I'LL SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER." Says Tracey Neale in promos for Washington's Channel 9 News. They hope she'll bring up the ratings which the station really needs. The promos show her at the station working with people and saying things like how important everything there at 9 News is. Dumb. NOTE: See You In September is a song originally done by the Tempos and later done by the Happenings, who had a tag line that went, "Bye, bye, so long, farewell .."
  31. ON TV AND AT THE MOVIES. That girl who walks down the street singing some inspiring song about individuality and giving out Cokes to incredulous passersby really wears on me, including her sheepish grin at the end of it. What, is she one of the American Idols or something? She pulls the Coke bottles out of some carry bag that hangs over her shoulder like she's the Good Humor man or something. It's really ignorant.
  32. North Korea called President Bush an "idiot" and "human trash." They don't mince words.
  33. Andrea Koppel is back to work for CNN at the State Department. Her hair's real long now.
  34. Former Washington Post columnist Bob Levey (He retired) is seen in posters on the Metro for Children's Hospital. He's a big wig there now. They say he's changed his "post," get it?
  35. Halle Berry's got long hair on the cover of InStyle magazine and is fingering it the way Diana Ross does.
  36. "THEY ROWED THEIR WAY INTO OUR HEARTS," said Today's Matt Lauer, referring to the U.S. rowing team. Gimme a Break!
  37. . . . Row, row, row your boat ...
  38. QUESTION. Did McDonalds get their Bah Dah Bah Bah Bah, I'm Lovin' It slogan from a Justin Timberlake song? He's got a song called I'm Lovin' It. It's an import single and the Bah Dah Bah Bah Bahs are similar.
  39. INTERESTING FACT. Jane Pauley's new show is done in New York at NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza on the 8th floor. Deborah Norville's MSNBC show is done on the 3rd floor at the same address. They're both "a stone's throw," says a source, from where they each did the Today show once upon a time. So it all comes around.
  40. RETURNING. Morris the Cat. A fifth cat that plays the finicky feline will be doing commercials for 9Lives cat food. They start this coming week. I like a grumpy cat.
  41. NOTICED. On Fox News Sunday, the Fox animated logo appears, as on all their shows, in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, rotating counter-clockwise. A larger one appears on a screen beneath the set desk that the panelists sit at too. (They like a lot of logos.) Counter-clockwise is right to left. Is that the way a conservative would like his clock to move?
  42. . . . Also, on panel member Bill Kristol's closeup, right above his head was an ABC News logo and then down below in the lower left was the rotating Fox logo. So what network was he on?
  43. . . . And Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, was the show's Power Player of the week. She's got a book out called Bushworld, a compilation of her columns which are not too complimentary of either of the Bushes. NOTED: She never used to do TV and lately she's been showing up all over the place. Book sales, methinks.
  44. Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood, lunged at Gidget, the bare-eyed cockatoo, but she didn't take a bite out of her.
  45. The Gap jeans ad, called How Do You Wear It? - on the back of the current Entertainment Weekly - has Lenny Kravitz wearing flair/bell bottom-style jeans. Two pictures of him. But it must be an old ad because his hair's in that straight, wispy long look. As mentioned in the last Random, he's got a crew cut now. So Gap, get it together. Let's be up-to-date.
  46. UH . . . Date With The Rain - Eddie Kendricks on Tamla, 1972. An album cut from People ... Hold On, his first solo album after he left the Temptations.


© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts

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