November 9th, 2009


  1. … “The White House must stop dithering while America’s armed forces are in danger,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking to a think tank (Center for Security Policy) in Washington, accusing President Obama of being “afraid to make a decision” about whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.
  2. Rush Limbaugh used the dithering reference twice in referring to the current administration while talking with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
  3. David Gregory on Meet the Press mentioned Cheney’s word when talking to Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe.
  4. … I like the word dither. Reminds me of old-time comedian Ed Wynn (voice of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins and the fairy godfather in Jerry Lewis’s Cindferfella) doing his Perfect Fool character on the radio, in films and on TV, using his distinctive, wavering voice.
  5. … I don’t think President Obama is dithering although Mr. Cheney does seem to have time to twiddle his thumbs a lot lately.
  6. Did the movie Paranormal Activity cost 10, 11 or $15,000 to make? I’ve seen it all three ways. Let’s get things straight and put one figure out.
  7. … Whatever the figure (and it’s small, compared to what a regular movie costs to make), it’s made a lot more than that already. At this point: $97.4 million. Unbelievable. They’re calling it another Blair Witch, another low-budget scary movie made back in 1999.
  8. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. A young couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) has a “supernatural houseguest,” as Entertainment Weekly magazine describes it, and Micah, the boyfriend, wants to capture it on home video. So we watch what happens during the night when the camera’s rolling. (It was shot in writer-director Oren Peli’s house in San Diego.)
  9. … It’s a things that go boom in the night-type movie as things progressively get worse and the fear seems real that Kate, especially, is feeling. Steven Speilberg said of the movie, “It just killed my marrow - it was too real to watch in the dark.”
  10. I think Lou Dobbs has veneers. Those choppers are all lined up a little too perfectly.
  11. … All the better to chomp into an illegal immigrant.
  12. If I hear “Kaiser Permanente … Thrive” one more time …
  13. … Those TV ads … like they care so much. How much does their insurance cost? How much do they care about me? All they wanna do is make money. What side are they on in the health care debate?
  14. … “Thrive” on this.
  15. Since when is the Rev. Al Shartpon a legitimate person/pundit to put on a Sunday morning talk show roundtable discussion? That’s where he was, on ABC’s This Week two Sundays ago, talking about “Obama One Year Later: What’s Changed.” Does he deserve that?
  16. … Who’s next? Charlie Rangel?
  17. MICHAEL BUBLE. His new album, Crazy Love (Van Morrision song) is very good. I’ve somewhat forgiven him. I used to think he was just a Sinatra clone/wannabe (and they’re a dime a dozen) but he’s not here. He’s got his own style. He still uses the big band but the songs are an amalgam of American pop from Cry Me a River to All of Me to Georgia on My Mind to Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes) to Stardust, and he’s got some songs he wrote on there also. He has fun with the tunes and the arrangements. It’s cool and hip and very contemporary in a retro way.
  18. … On the other hand, Harry Connick Jr.’s new album, Your Songs, is totally nondistinctive. The song selections are good and his band is good, always is, but the album sounds like he called it in, not inspired, puts you to sleep and on every cut he sounds the same, very Muzak-y.
  19. Chuck Bell of News4 Washington said that sunset “tonight” (Sunday, Nov. 1) would be 5:07, due to the end of Daylight Saving Time. That’s early and that means it gets dark early. Cue the depression, me no like.
  20. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), in reacting to the Democrats’ House-passed health-care reform bill, referred to the staggering number of pages it was: “I would say, 1,990 pages - that’s about four reams of paper. I would say that the people getting reamed are the American people.”
  21. That’s very graphic language, some may be offended.
  22. They did do their arithmetic right. A ream of Staples paper is 500 pages so it’s just shy of four reams but we’ll forgive.
  23. TALKERS REPORT CARD. Following is my current appraisal:
  24. JIMMY FALLON. Don’t see it. I can barely understand him when he talks, his speech is too rushed. He belongs back on Saturday Night Live or another comedy show but he can’t carry his own late, late night one. (His band, The Roots, is very good, however.)
  25. … And CONAN. Too silly and the show’s not that good.
  26. … And JAY LENO. A crime that NBC snatched him off late night and put him in prime time. The ratings continue to sink (4.4 million the other night). How long are the NBC affiliate stations gonna put up with this?
  27. LETTERMAN, he’s okay, despite the news of him having relationships with women on his staff.
  28. JIMMY KIMMEL? A wannabe who sits behind a desk.
  29. CRAIG FERGUSON. He’s okay, quirky, has a following. He’s been in the trenches of late, late night long enough.
  30. WANDA SYKES. Show just started (Saturday nights at 11 on Fox). Let’s give her a week or two. But I will say the last segment of a panel with drinks in their hands discussing current topics was lame and forced.
  31. JOY BEHAR. The next big thing on CNN. She’s a natural, talks a mile a minute and seems born for the job. Watch her rise.
  32. … All these shows are basically the same. What’s the difference?  
  33. Would somebody give Andrea Mitchell a day off? She’s on the air everyday: reports, has a show, follows Hillary Clinton to Pakistan and everywhere else, does Meet the Press on Sunday. What’s Alan (Greenspan, her husband) do? Are they ever together? They oughta be together in bed on a Sunday morning, for crissakes.
  34. COMPLAINT. About digital TV (again). A Washington area reader wrote into Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi’s online chat to say that he/she used to get Baltimore stations but can rarely get D.C.’s Channel 9 and very seldom gets through any broadcast without the signal changing or freezing in place and that it’s particularly bad when it rains or when helicopters go overhead.
  35. … Ain’t that great. This person said that he/she was watching a PBS mystery and just when the murderer was being revealed, the TV signal crapped out. (Figures)
  36. … Actress Salma Hayek is a bearded lady in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. She plays Madam Truska in a traveling freak show and is girlfriend to the vampire, played by John C. Reilly. Hayek sprouts whiskers whenever she gets passionate with her boyfriend. That I’ve got to see.
  37. Someone on TV said that orange juice has much sugar in it as Coke. Really, I thought. I checked and it’s true. Tropicana has 39 grams of sugar, Coke has 39 and Pepsi has 41.
  38. … So how healthy is orange juice for you? What else am I eating/drinking that’s got bad stuff in it?
  39. A Playgirl (magazine) representative, in commenting about Levi Johnston’s (Sarah Palin’s daughter’s baby’s dad) upcoming nude shoot, said, “Everything’s gonna hang out. We’re talking full Johnson.”
  40. … But will it be tasteful?
  41. … “We’re working on some athletic scene stuff for Levi: gyms, rinks - that sort of thing,” he said.
  42. … Oh. Then it’ll be okay.
  43. That kid’s 15 minutes of fame has been long over.
  44. American Idol runnerup Adam Lambert sings the title song from the end-of-the-world disaster movie, 2012. I thought I saw his name in the previews (trailer, sorry). That’s a big deal. Called “Time for Miracles,” it’s been described as an operatic power ballad.
  45. … Lambert’s album, due out Nov. 23 and called For Your Entertainment, has a “dreamy” headshot pic of him on the cover looking very androgynous, with a gloved hand without the fingers in it up against his head which has blue hair. Whatever. Album may be good.
  46. Singer John Mayer was performing at a benefit in Beverly Hills last week for Judd Apatow (film director) and his wife, actress Leslie Mann, and he looked like he was singing “Blah, blah, blah” - the visualization of it with his mouth wide open and his tongue resting low and touching the top of the lower lip. That’s how he sounds to me.
  47. … Try doing it yourself. “Blah, blah, blah.”
  48. Sen. John Kerry’s face looks like it’s getting longer. Notice that? Not aging well.
  49. According to Elizabeth Taylor, the new Michael Jackson movie, This Is It, “is the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen.”
  50. … Good God Liz. As long as you’ve been around and all the film work you’ve done and you say this? What have you had to drink? What an overstatement, just like news anchors do.
  51. .. You need to get out more often.
  52. THIS IS IT. I liked it. Let’s face it, it’s a film of rehearsals, was never meant to be a film film and that’s what it is, plain and simple. But the music in it and Jackson working with his crew (director/choreographer Kenny Ortega, the band, the vocalists, the dancers) is interesting. At the end of every segment of the movie, the audience I was in clapped in approval.
  53. … The songs are snippets and not the final things. But the backstage maneuverings and a look inside how the documentary was made make it an okay experience.
  54. … Some have wondered whether it might win an Academy Award. That’s a bit much. I’d say no on that.
  55. JUST ASKING. Is Madonna trying to be like Oprah by opening a school in Malawi?
  56. JUST ASKING 2. Will Madonna’s daughter Lourdes grow up to be a an entertainer like mom. Is she rebellious and will she be just like her mother was in her Like A Virgin days?
  57. Tom Brokaw’s at the Berlin Wall for the 20th anniversary of the teardown. Where isn’t he when news breaks?
  58. … Anywhere but in retirement back in South Dakota.
  59. People are saying that the squirrels seem to be busier than normal, gathering and storing their nuts this year and that it might mean that we’re in for a rough winter. The Capital Weather Gang is forecasting the coldest winter since 2003-04 and the snowiest since 2002-03. They say chances for a large snowstorm (8 - 12”) are much higher than normal.
  60. … Get out the shovels.
  61. Claude Levi-Strauss died. Does that mean they’ll stop making jeans?
  62. … No, stupid. This Mr. Strauss was the anthropologist, not the denim maker.
  63. IF SHE SAID IT ONCE … She said it a million times - Campbell Brown - and she’s not the only one who does it at CNN, they all do: “The best political team on television.” Banging it into our heads on election night. And team is right … two desksful for pundits all ready to chime in. Enough already.
  64. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR. She doesn’t get all dolled up for her TV show (Amanpour on CNN on Sundays in the U.S.) like other news anchors. First off, she’s not blonde. Second, she often wears jackets and a shirt , like men often do. She doesn’t seem to be into the glam of it all. Thank God!
  65. Hanalie, dog in the neighborhood, recently spent the day at the vet with a bladder infection but she’s alright. The doctors say she’s their “best patient,” says owner Sally. Sally also advises that her (Hanalie’s) annual holiday trip to San Francisco to visit granddad is coming up and she’s dreaming of chasing wild turkeys.
  66. Sportscaster Jim Nantz has to pay $916,000 a year to his ex-wife in alimony and child support? How much money does he make? (The Associated Press says his salary from CBS and other assets including other income, real estates and investments is $3.2 million.)
  67. … Somebody remind me what line of work to get into in my next life.
  68. … Will I get a second chance? (Make that happen too.)
  69. THE SNOWS OF MT. KILIMANJARO. The African mountain’s white peak, made famous by writer Ernest Hemingway, is melting. A researcher from Ohio State University says about 85% of the ice that was there in 1912 was gone by 2007 and more than a quarter of the ice in 2000 was gone by 2007.
  70. … Somebody get Al Gore up there to do something about it. And have Tipper take pictures and document it. Buy ‘em a donkey and make the climb up.
  71. Al Gore’s making the rounds again, he’s been everywhere. New book: Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. NOTICED: He’s got more hair. It looks very thick up top now, I’m suspicious.
  72. CBS Early Show anchor Maggie Rodriguez danced with rapper Vanilla Ice when he was on the show last Tuesday. She’s got a good sense of rhythm. The show’s been doing a look back at significant events in history and focused in on him, Robert Van Winkle, who was the first white rapper to hit number one with his To the Extreme album and the single Ice, Ice Baby in 1989. Now he’s now married, has two daughters, is still working.
  73. “I had a weekend that lasted a few years but I’m here now and I’m happier than ever,” he told CBS.
  74. COMING OF AGE MOVIE. “An Education.” Takes place in England in the 60s. About a young school girl who meets a man twice her age and becomes enamored by his “sophisticated” lifestyle and friends which detract from her dream of going to Oxford to study literature.
  75. Carey Mulligan (British actress, was in 2005 Pride and Prejudice) plays Jenny and Peter Sarsgaard is David, the lothario. He plays his role perfectly (adopts a British accent), sleaze covered up by fake class and upper-class breeding, enough to impress Jenny’s parents, a funny Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour (Hotel Rwanda).
  76. TYPO. In The New York Times. In it’s On the Street fashion half-page that appears every Sunday, the pictures were about Halloween, titled “Eek!” In the accompanying explainer by Bill Cunningham they printed: “This year, a crystal spider web glitters in one of Bergdorf Goodman’s Fifth Avenue window, (instead of windows) and pumpkins fill the …”
  77. … Maybe in the recent cutbacks they trimmed the proof-reader department. The Washington Post has been accused of having typos lately also.
  78. … They’re only human.
  79. NBC Nightly News weekend and Weekend Today show anchor Lester Holt got dressed up as Susan Boyle, the Scottish singing sensation from the Britain’s Got Talent show. He really looked like her as her dowdy self before the makeover.
  80. … Is this what network anchors are paid to do?
  81. UHWork To Do - The Isley Brothers, on T-Neck Records, 1972.


© Rocci Fisch/Random Thoughts

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