||October 14th, 2009
EYES ON THE PRIZE
- …That's prize, as in Nobel. Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist and inventor of high explosive dynamite, had the award established through his will in 1895 in the categories of physics, chemistry, physiology, literature and peace.
- …Dynamite? How appropriate, what with all the eruptive reaction to President Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize after just nine months of being president. (He was nominated two weeks into his presidency.) A little premature, many think.
- …Cheapen the award? Diminished in importance? Maybe a tad so.
- …Embarrassing? Yes, Even Obama seemed so and said he wasn't deserving of it. He acted humble.
- …What were the Scandinavians over there in Oslo, Norway thinking? Were they making up for not granting the 2016 Olympics to Obama's hometown of Chicago when they voted over in Copenhagen?
- …Things come in 3's. I'm suspicious. What's Sweden going to do now to impact the world? They're the last one of the three (Denmark, Norway being the other two). Funny how so much news can come out of those small Nordic countries which are normally quiet on the world stage.
- …Get Abba to do something about it.
- 3-D TV. That's what's coming. According to a report from Tokyo in The New York Times. Panasonic and Sony are seeking to re-energize the market by developing the technology.
- …Everything's in 3-D now. All the new animation movies out of Hollywood come that way. A Panasonic research teamer said, "We are serious about the future of 3-D. We will not have succeeded until half of all TV's we sell are 3-D TV's."
- VOICE FROM THE GRAVE. Billy Mays, selling Jupiter Jack, a hands-free cell phone adapter for the car. God, talk about hard-sell. And that high voice. CNN went to an interminably long commercial for that product in its State of the Union show. They oughta have classier commercials than that running within a serious Sunday morning news program. Who vets this stuff?
- …The TV commercial people don't seem to care that the infomercial pitchman is no longer with us.
- …Same with Johnnie Cochran's law team in their Cochran Firm TV commercials. His face is all over the place and he's been dead since 2005.
- …Let 'em rest in peace and stop dredging up dead bodies to sell junk.
- WINCE. That's what that swine flu/H1N1 nasal spray vaccine makes me do when I see it being inserted into someone's nostril in pictures on the Web and in newspapers. They use a syringe to do it and to me, when I see a syringe I think "needle." Do they stick a needle up your nose? (Ouch!) It looks like it to me. Somebody needs to explain that.
- …One of the pictures showed a clinical pharmacist receiving the syringe injection and I swear she looked like Barbra Streisand. But I'm sure it wasn't she. The vaccine might affect her voice.
- …Speaking of her voice, I bought and listened to Barbra's new album, Love is the answer (a line from Make Someone Happy (beautiful Jule Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green song). My reaction? Too buttery, mellow, ballady, perfect, intimate, slow. So full'a love, it's cloying. Every cut's a slow song except for one near the end that is slightly upbeat in tempo. C'mon, where's the variety?
- …But I do have to admit that the songs are a good selection, well written. But her version of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes … Changed for the sake of changing it, that's what she did. Just sing it straight like The Platters did back in 1958 (Mercury Records), for crissakes. That's the one everyone remembers. Why do these singers have to make everything their own?
- Someone wrote into a washingtonpost.com live pop culture chat and said this: "Letterman gets accolades for having multiple flings with the help. Michael Vick gets his own TV show after having previously tortured his dogs. What's next, Charles Manson, LIVE from his prison cell?" (That's about right.)
- …My mother does not like David Letterman, doesn't think his show is funny and says they should throw the book at him, so there.
- …Has Letterman been de-fanged?
- Jenna Bush Hager, one of the twin daughters of former President George W. Bush, was on the Today show last Thursday , as a correspondent -- not a guest. She's signed a contract with NBC to do periodic reports for the morning program (she also is a part-time school teacher in Baltimore) . She appeared live on the set with Matt and Meredith and Ann and Al (could there be any more people on the set?) and did an intro into her prepared taped piece about a challenged Hispanic young girl going to a regular school. She did a pretty good job (Shouldn't she have? How much help did she get?) and the feature was admirable.
- …She then reappeared at the end of the piece and received kudos from her new TV family, how sweet.
- …Good God is that show cloying.
- DECLINING RIDERSHIP. That's what Washington's Metro system is facing and they're saying it could force more cuts. The reasons attributed to this, according to the Metro board's financial officer, are "higher unemployment rates, lower gas prices and a June 22 crash that killed nine people."
- … JUST ASKING: Did anybody care to think that it might be that the service has gotten terrible and unreliable and that conditions are overcrowded and that everything's broken and the system is antiquated? The days of Washington's subway system being a model of modern transportation is a thing of the past - those days are long gone and people are disgusted with it. They're going back to driving.
- HOTSIE TOTSIE. They say Jude Law is a little too wound up in Hamlet, currently on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theater (he played the part in London before coming to the states). Too much adrenaline,,say some critics, and too much bravado and not enough nuance for the character. Nuance this.
- Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama and assistant to the president for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs was out on the North Lawn of the White House the other day, two-waying with one of the cable TV networks and the back of her hair was standing up like Kate Gosselin's (of Jon & Kate Plus Eight but what is now Kate Plus Eight). Like bird plumage. She oughta get that fixed. We don't want any mixups.
- JUST ASKING. Is Liz Taylor's generation (she's 77) proud of her for Twittering? She used the social media micro-blogging service to let everyone know she was going in for a heart operation and then tweeted after the procedure that everything went "perfectly," said it was like having a brand-new ticker and thanked her fans. She's got 164,239 followers. Bravo. It's been reported she's had over 40 operations in her life so far; she'll never kick that bucket.
- Former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who was charged for criminal violations of state campaign finance laws and money laundering by a Texas court, really knew how to shake his booty on "Dancing With the Stars." He did the tango, the cha cha cha and the samba(how sexy) before he had to drop out because he developed stress fractures in both feet.
- …That skill with those fancy dance moves and versatility is sure to make him popular when he starts serving time for his crime. The inmates'll love it … and him.
- PAULA ZAHN, REMEMBER HER? She returns to TV, on the new cable channel, Investigation Discovery, with a news magazine program called On the Case With Paula Zahn, which premieres Sunday, October 18. (Remember her nightly show on CNN called Paula Zahn Now?) She "abandons the anchor chair" to go into the field to report on crime cases featuring "people who are speaking for the very first time to lift the secrecy on acts of deceit, malice and revenge," says the enthusiastic press release about the show.
- LOOKS LIKE. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner looked like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz the other day at the White House when he accompanied the president to a meeting with congressional leaders about finance regulation. Geithner was humbly standing Obama, his smiling, understanding eyes looking forward at the reception given to the popular executive. The eyes, the jawline and his hands folded in front of him gave me a picture of the kindly Oz character who needed a heart. (Aww).
- …Am I getting soft?
- THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE. A movie doc about Vogue fashion editor Anna Wintour and her team producing/assembling the September issue of the magazine, the largest edition of the year (2007). (Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada (2006) is loosely based on Wintour.)
- …Wintour comes off as cold as a cucumber, very detached and at times condescending and everyone stands aside when she steps into a room. She wields a lot of power in the fashion world. It's an interesting case study …
- …BUT … The star of the movie is her creative director, Grace Coddington, herself a former model in her younger days and now obviously older with wild coarse red hair that looks like a bush but who still loves fashion and is responsible for all of the shoots. She and Anna are "friends," but it seems more like Grace just puts up with her and the things she says. Her reaction to many "orders" from the head lady are very revealing. She steals the show.
- Someone was asking if Sarah Palin uses emoticons in her upcoming book, Going Rogue: An American Life (to be released Nov. 17), those cute little symbols of emotion that many people use now, especially in modern-day texting and e-mail writing. Like this: :) (smiley face) or :( (frowning face).
- …Think she will? She wrote the book fast (400 pages in four months) so she may have used some shortcuts.
- Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood, has been acting very angry at housemates Buddy and Emma, the cats, since she got back from her trip with owner Sally to Charleston, S.C. Down there Hana is the belle of the ball and everybody makes over her but back home she's just another animal in the house and resents having to share it with two felines.
- I was away for two weeks on vacation and returned to work, checked my "snail mail" slot at the reception desk and found one piece of mail. One piece of mail in two weeks. No wonder the post office is going under and they're taking mailboxes off the streets. Nobody sends anything anymore through the old mail, it's all e-mail.
- …And dare I tell you how many e-mails I got? Let's not go into it.
- FAREWELL TO BEN ALI. Founder, in 1958, of famous Ben's Chili Bowl diner/restaurant in D.C. on U Street. He established a family business which outlasted the riots in 1968, urban blight and now gentrification. The chili is the best and once you've had it on a hotdog or a half-smoke (sausage), you'll always have a hankerin' for it. He is survived by wife Virginia and two sons and a daughter who all help run the joint.
- …Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat "King" Cole used to stop by back in the day when they used to call the area Black Broadway, and Bill Cosby and President Obama have eaten there too.
- …And they have a food booth at Nats Stadum. Just be prepared to wait in the long line to get served; they're always swamped.
- WARNING. Sonia Sotomayor better get to work. She's been out on the town a lot - throwing balls at Yankee games in New York with the team's uniform on, partying outside at the White House's Fiesta Latina along with Eva Longoria Parker (Gaby on Desperate Housewives), looking very casual. She's a Supreme Court justice, she needs to be more formal and in a robe in a chamber contemplating something.
- MISTAKEN IDENTITY. Pope Benedict canonized a Father Damien, (Belgian missionary), last week in St. Peter's Basilica. (Damien devoted his life by helping lepers on a remote island in Hawaii.)
- …When I heard the name Father Damien it jolted me. I thought immediately of The Exorcist's Father Damien Karras (played by Jason Miller) and his terrible fate when fighting the devil (inside Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). Remember, he is cast out or throws himself out of the bedroom window of that Georgetown house after the devil leaves Regan's body and enters his. He's found at the bottom of that long, famous stone staircase down on the pavement with his head turned completely around.
- …Really scary when the movie was out. Now … not so much. I found the movie doesn't hold up in frightfulness.
- Mr. Big Stuff has a nickname for MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Rachel Madcow. But he means no disrespect.
- If I hear Paula Deen say, "Hey y'all" one more time … (She grates on me with that exaggerated southern accent.) She's going to be in D.C. on Nov. 7 and 8 for the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show along with some other Food Networkers. So who cares?
- My get-up-and-go just got up and went.
- UH … Go Now - The Moody Blues, on London Records, 1964.
© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts
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