April 18, 2010


  1. A a sign of spring for me. Shredded bark, wood chips, peat moss, straw, cow manure, whatever. Makes the flower beds look nice.
  2. . . . It sorta stinks but hey, you can’t have it all.
  3. . . . And the birds are tweeting — no, they’re not social networking, but they are all atwitter.
  4. . . . A time for rejuvenation so go reinvent yourself.
  5. MORE AWARDS. The Streamys, for the best in original Web TV. Ceremony was last weekend and was streamed on the Internet, of course (www.streamys.org). Categories included drama, comedy, actors, directors, live production, “vlogging,” interactive and mobile experience, more. Winners are selected by the International Academy of Web Television.
  6. . . . Another awards show, just what we need.
  7. . . . Watch this one grow; after all, it’s on the Internet and there seems to be no limit to that.
  8. My Parade magazine just shrank. Or is it me? Maybe I got bigger (At your age? I doubt that).
  9. . . . No doubt for cost considerations, I’m sure. Another victim of the economy, the shrinking newspaper business.
  10. . . . If it gets any smaller it’ll be the size of the old TV Guide or Reader’s Digest (is that still around?)
  11. ANOTHER MUNCHKIN BITES THE DUST. This time it’s Meinhardt Raabe. 94, who played the coroner who held up the death certificate and proclaimed that the Wicked Witch of the West was dead in The Wizard of Oz:
  12. . . . “As coroner, I must aver
  13. . . . I thoroughly examined her.
  14. . . . And she’s not only merely dead,
  15. . . . She’s really most sincerely dead.”
  16. . . . Raabe was also in his real life an aviator in World War II and later became a salesman for the Oscar Mayer hot dog company. Known as Little Oscar, “the World’s Smallest Chef,” he toured the country in their famous Wienermobile.
  17. STARTING TIME CONTEST? There seems to be … with local TV news in Washington, D.C. coming on earlier and earlier. A 5 or 5:30 a.m. beginning no longer seems to get it. Now Fox Morning News starts at 4:25 and News4 Washington starts at 4:30. Seriously.
  18. . . . Is there that much news to report? Do the early starters have any new features or anything? (Uh … none that I’ve seen.)
  19. . . . They just ‘peat and repeat the same news over and over and it’s especially excruciating when it’s a slow news day.
  20. How many times do I have to hear the latest murder news, traffic and weather?
  21. MOVIE: The Runaways. Not bad. Story of the early days of Joan Jett, the rock star, and her group of renegade female rockers who played electric guitar like the boys did, who lived for the music and were pushed and shaped by their manager Kim Fowley who called them “jailbait rock.”
  22. . . . Kristen Stewart from the Twilight vampire movies plays Jett; Dakota Fanning (she’s grown up) plays Cherie Currie (lead vocals) and Michael Shannon plays Fowley, a crazy, edgy record producer — wild performance.
  23. . . . The movie captures youth and rebellion of the time (1976 — 1977) and life on the road for a struggling rock group.
  24. . . . Based on Currie’s book, Neon Angel. Joan Jett herself is executive producer of the film.
  25. ANOTHER FLICK. Date Night. Tina Fey and Steve Carell play a New Jersey couple that wants to spruce up their marriage, spend a night out on the town in New York City but become victims of mistaken identity along the way. Fey and Carell are good together.
  26. . . . The writing does seem 30 Rock and Office-ish with the two comedians and at times the movie seems TV-ish, but maybe that’s me being of another generation.
  27. . . . It’s quite a caper and then action flick as the Fosters (Fey and Carell) flee bad cops and gangsters and crooked politicians.
  28. GOOD TO SEE . . . Ira Joe Fisher, remember him? The New York weatherman who used to have a regular gig on the CBS Early Show on Saturdays but was dumped for somebody younger and “hipper” (Lonnie Quinn). Ira Joe was known for standing in front of a plexiglass screen and drawing weather patterns and temperatures on it for the TV viewer — a very skilled job, since he was actually writing backwards while he was giving the forecasts.
  29. . . . He doesn’t do the weather like that anymore now; he just does it straight. He’s lost a lot of weight though and looks good but I guess not as good as the younger, former soap TV star and also WCBS weatherman Quinn, who plays and jumps around with the assembled noisy crowd outside the GM building near 5th Avenue.
  30. . . . Too bad old-fashioned folksiness is out of vogue. I guess there’s no place left for that on TV unless he wants to partner up with Garrison Keillor and Willard Scott.
  31. . . . The drop-dead club.
  32. Erykah Badu, the neo soul singer, struts down Dealey Plaza (in a video for the song Window Seat) in Texas where JFK was shot in 1963 and gradually shows her “butt-naked truth,” as she described it later on The Wanda Sykes Show. It was shot guerrilla-style in one take with people and families on the street.
  33. . . . Badu starts off fully dressed and reduces herself down to a dark-colored bra-type top and bikini bottom which she takes off one-by-one as she walks until she’s completely naked in public. The word “EVOLVING” is written across her upper back.
  34. A shot fires out (a la the JFK assassination) and she falls down, feigning death.
  35. . . . Badu said she was not dishonoring the name of the late president, that he was a “revolutionary” (like her?) and one of her heroes and that she admired him for butting heads with whoever he needed to.
  36. . . . She was later charged for a class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.
  37. . . . Pushing the envelope, I guess.
  38. JUST ASKING. Do you think Sandra Bullock turns off the radio every time she hears Jessie’s Girl (even though her husband spells his name Jesse)?
  39. Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood, went for a walk in nearby Montrose Park on Easter Sunday. Owner Sally reports she had on her Pretty in Pink collar and met “some very cute dogs” along the way. She got into one fight but mostly made some new friends. Lulu, the chow, is currently her best friend.
  40. GOODBYE. To Brooke Hart, Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC’s News Channel service for ten years. She’s leaving to go to the Pew Charitable Trust in Washington, D.C.
  41. . . . Every morning she has consistently reported the important national news from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other. No frills and no gossip or innuendo, just straight news.
  42. . . . She was a refreshing, credible reporter in a profession of rapidly growing mediocrity, if you ask me.
  43. Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates (together) were on three talk shows last Sunday morning: This Week, Meet the Press and Face the Nation — all pretaped. Why that?
  44. . . . There’s no such thing as an “exclusive” anymore (especially with politicians) even though the networks use it constantly when it’s not true. The tactic is that when one of them gets somebody big they put on the pressure and the guests have to do multiple appearances.
  45. . . . What are they gonna say on one that they won’t say on another?
  46. . . . Sometimes they “appear” live on all three/four/five shows when in fact they can’t be in reality. Gone are the days when TV producers and directors of news programming put Taped Earlier or Recorded Earlier on the screen. They don’t want to do that; they want the world to think everything’s happening “now” and exclusively.
  47. . . . It’s downright misleading, telling half the truth or not all of the truth.
  48. . . . Quit lying about it.
  49. HE WON’T DIE. TV pitchman Billy Mays (that high-voiced yeller) is still selling stuff from the grave: the Jupiter Jack, a gadget for your car that enables the driver to talk hands-free on the phone. Billy’s seen in the car demonstrating it. He doesn’t look dead.
  50. . . . Call 1-800-591-2460.
  51. The British food chef Jamie Oliver has invaded America with a new reality series: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. It’s about nutrition. He’s teaching the residents of Huntington, W.Va., dubbed the “unhealthiest city” in the country, to eat better.
  52. . . . He wants to change eating habits and hopes to start a “grassroots revolution.”
  53. . . . Good luck with that.
  54. . . . Can anybody understand anything Oliver says when he talks? I can’t.
  55. . . . He sound like a buncha gibberish to me.
  56. FROM THE “YOUNG” CURMUDGEON’S CORNER. A disillusioned multi-platform/backpack journalist offers her take on the state of TV news “talent”: “BBC’s anchors/reporters are ‘ugly’ and therefore somehow more credible. They’re not like our cable and network anchors, who preen and tweet and try to sound witty but instead sound cloying and dumb” [ref. Curry, Ann (NBC) and Phillips, Kyra (CNN) and, of course, Rick Sanchez (CNN)].
  57. So the Postal Service is pushing to eliminate Saturday mail delivery next year. That’s fine. Just tell all the credit card companies out there to keep that in mind the next time they send out late notices to their poor patrons because they haven’t gotten their money yet.
  58. . . . Who’s gonna do something about that?
  59. Actress and sex symbol Raquel Welch has been making the rounds on TV, promoting her new book, Beyond the Cleavage.
  60. . . . Does it have a lot of pictures?
  61. . . . Actually it’s an advice book “for women of all ages” — part autobiography and part personal philosophy. Aren’t they all?
  62. TIGER WOODS COMMERCIAL: That black and white Nike commercial with Tiger “listening” to his father tell him things like “I want to find out what your thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are and did you learn anything,” while the golf star keeps the same pouty serious expression throughout the :30 ad.
  63. . . . Then silently the Nike “swoosh” logo symbol comes on the screen.
  64. . . . So Nike is sponsoring Tiger’s father Earl’s inquisition of his son to come clean and therefore Nike’s a good and responsible company? Gimme a Break!
  65. THEY GOT IT WRONG. About Liz Taylor getting married to her long-time friend, Jason Winters. Us Magazine reported it and everybody in the world picked up on it, including network TV news shows (NBC Nightly News for one).
  66. . . . Liz showed ‘em all and tweeted — yes, she’s Internet savvy and nobody’s fool at 78 — saying, “The rumors of my engagement simply aren’t true.”
  67. . . . The hell with Jason Winters. Why doesn’t Liz get married to Larry King — they’re both in the multiple marriage game: They’ve both been married eight times to seven spouses.
  68. . . . When they die they oughta save their brains and do tests to find out why they got hitched so much so others can learn from their mistakes. Put ‘em in jars on display at the Smithsonian or something.
  69. So Conan O’Brian has signed with TBS for a late night show that will reportedly start in November. Nightly at 11, Monday through Thursday, they say.
  70. . . . What’s TBS known for? When I asked someone they said, “They play those little cartoons.”
  71. . . . Conan’s now out of the league of Letterman and Leno. Cable only pulls a fraction of the audience that regular TV does.
  72. Mr. Big Stuff thinks that singer Sade sounds like a man on that Soldier of Love cut from her same-named CD. “Her voice is lower than it used to be” he said.
  73. . . . Maybe too many cigs. (Ask Whitney Houston about that.)
  74. I did a doubletake when I saw Masters winner Phil Mickelson kissing his wife after he won the title. Not knowing who she was at first -- she had that blonde hair thing going on and looked young -- I thought it was one of Tiger Woods’s dames, no disrespect to her or Mr. Mickelson. Guess I was mistaken.
  75. . . . At least I didn’t think it was one of Sandra Bullock’s husband’s dames.
  76. . . . Tiger Woods made his comeback in the Masters (but came in fourth) and then announced that he was stepping away: “I’m going to take a little time off and kind of reevaluate things.”
  77. . . . More time off? He just took time off. Get back to work and stop bellyaching. You’re lucky the fans still come out to see ya.
  78. SPECIAL UHs . . . FOR A VOICE STILLED. Johnny Maestro, lead singer of The Crests (16 Candles, 1958 on Coed Records), one of the first integrated pop vocal groups, and later lead singer with The Brooklyn Bridge (The Worst That Could Happen, 1969 on Buddah Records). He died of cancer on March 24 in Cape Coral, Fla. Over a long career Maestro performed on hundreds of rock ‘n’ roll and doo wop shows throughout the U.S. and worldwide. He was there from the beginning.



© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts

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