Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Time keeps on slippin', slippin' slippin', into the future. Dec 9, 2015

Have you ever seen the British sitcom "Are You Being Served?" ?

Methinks that it if I had to describe it to you I would have to use the words "simple" and "lightweight" and the term "easy humor". Just like a hundred other sitcoms, "AYBS?" is populated by characters designed to clash; they annoy and befuddle each other, they bicker and trade insults, and each week they go through their assigned paces and troop through a silly little 30 minute story full of all the ingredients like misunderstandings and confusion and foolish concerns and schemes that you'd expect to find in any sitcom from "I Love Lucy" to "Saved By the Bell".

I'm not going to try to convince you that there's anything extraordinary about the show, but I have for many years had the feeling that you couldn't find a better show if you were looking for one to hold up as the most perfect example, the most quintessential, the archetype perhaps, of the genre of the television situation comedy. Of course I can fully understand how some people may feel that every episode just repeats the same tired jokes and that watching a show like AYBS? is a complete waste of precious time, but to me it's more like watching the clouds drift by, or the waves rolling in and out at the seaside. It is a thing of great beauty in its pure, innocent, mentally unchallenging simplicity. It is the easiest type of television to watch, you know what I mean? Just shift your brain into neutral and relax, you know?

The show was a big hit in Britain in the '70's & early '80's, and then I used to watch it on PBS in the '80's, and now, over the past decade, the old cast has been dying off at a right steady clip. Mr. Humphries in 2007. Mrs. Slocombe and Miss Brahms both in '09. Mr. Lucas in '11. Captain Peacock in '13. And now I see that over the past weekend we lost Mr. Rumbold.

Mr. Rumbold, in case you've forgotten, was Captain Peacock's boss. He had the big jug handle ears. The actor who played him, Nicholas Smith, was 81 and he was the last member of the original cast as well as the last actor who stayed on the show for all 10 seasons. 

So anyway, as always, time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin', into the fuuuuuturrrre.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Final episode of "Late Night with David Letterman", May 20th, 2015

It is possible that my recollections of Carson's final Tonight Show, twenty-three years ago, are inaccurate. Did he show any clips? Were there any taped bits of celeb's or presidents or anybody sending Johnny off with a gag or a tribute or a good-bye or anything like that? If there was any of that stuff I don't remember it. All I recall is Johnny sitting on a stool center stage, very low key, less "on" than usual, reminiscing and thanking everybody in a very genuine, human way. I guess maybe I was expecting something more like that from Dave's final show, which I guess was sort of an unrealistic expectation. But anyway, I'm not complaining or criticizing. I could not have enjoyed the final episode of "Late Night with David Letterman" (aka "The Late Show with David Letterman") more than I did. Very, very funny stuff. And this is a truly epic event in the history of television. A real "end of an era" no doubt about it. The appearances by the presidents in the opening and then all the big A-list celeb's doing the Top Ten List couldn't have been more appropriate. The clips were hilarious, although of course I would've preferred to see more of the NBC stuff. And then that final hyper speed clip package, with the Foo Fighters rocking live, was the best such thing I've ever seen put together. In fact, I even got a bit emotional as the old early '80's clips flew past. I LOVED Dave's show when I was in high school and college.  

So anyway, that's that. Like I said before, I've watched him more than a handful of times this century, but it was still somehow a comfort to know that he was still on the air. A link to my youth. A link to the days when I used to watch, and enjoy, a lot more TV. It's interesting to me to contrast the similarities to when Johnny quit in '92, Carson had been doing the show since before I was born ---- he had simply ALWAYS BEEN ON for me. When he ended his 30 year run I was in my mid-twenties.

With Letterman, by contrast, I actually started watching him within months of the first episode of "Late Night", when I was in high school, so I can actually remember when he was THE BRAND NEW GUY, doing something completely wild and new and different. Now, 33 years later, he's been copied ad nauseam (literally, I assure you), he's an institution, he's nearly 70 and I'm nearly 50.

Anyway, I guess I don't have anything terribly profound to say about it. These last three blog posts have just been my observations, my random thoughts and opinions. Methinks that I may very well now forget about "Throwing the Ball to Naturally" for another years or more.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Letterman's second to last show (Tuesday, May 19th, 2015)

Okay, the second to last episode of Letterman's show was a great hour of television. That's my opinion anyway, but then I'm feeling mighty sentimental and nostalgic and am also a big fan of both Bill Murray and Bob Dylan.

Murray has always put a lot into his Letterman appearances. He's a funny, funny guy. But then I hardly need to inform the interweb of that fact, huh? Dylan's performance of "The Night We Called it a Day" (appropriate sentiment, eh?) was positively epic. And Dave didn't inject any obnoxious and condescending political perspective into the comedy, so that was obviously another huge plus.

Like I said above, I thought it was a great hour of TV and I really enjoyed it, but then I should probably amend that opinion with the disclosure that I rarely watch any TV any more, except for the news, and some programming aimed at very young children, and occasionally (though not anywhere near often enough) some of my old fav's that I have in my oh-so-slowly-growing DVD collection, such as for example the classic comedies of Laurel & Hardy on the DVD set "Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection", which I purchased a few years ago. A Google search leads me to believe that it was released in 2011. I was going to guess more recently. Maybe it had been out a couple years before I got it? I thought I got it pretty soon after it was released. Maybe not. I really need to get my hands on the DVD of the Python reunion. But I digress.

One more episode of "Late Night" to go. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Letterman's third to last show (Monday, May 18th, 2015)

When I first started watching "Late Night with David Letterman" it had only been on the air for a few months. Amazingly fresh and hilarious it was, and I watched it regularly throughout the early and mid eighties. Throughout the nineties I guess I gradually watched it less and less often, and I'd estimate that this century I've seen it probably less than half a dozen times. But on those occasions when I have watched the 21st century broadcasts, or checked out recent clips on Youtube, I've been struck by how tired and cranky and just going-through-the-motions Dave has seemed. And then there have been the embarrassingly cringe inducing political jokes and ramblings I've seen. When I see him adopting that grotesque and dishonest "Gee whiz I'm just a simple guy but it just seems clear even to a bumpkin like me that blah blah blah blah" thing I seriously feel ill with embarrassment for him.

But anyway, this is the final week of his show, and I've got to say that those episodes of the early years of "Late Night" were some of the most enjoyable television viewing I've ever had, and I'm a sentimental guy, particularly when it comes to "end of an era" sort of events like the Monty Python reunion last year and now Letterman heading out to pasture this year, so I feel obligated to watch this week, and then I just remembered this blog that I started and thought I was going to do something with but never did, so I thought I'd write some observations here. And here they are: *ahem* . . . Regarding his THIRD TO LAST EPISODE: His opening jokes were as tired as I expected. And he even dove into the political stuff. He said that Jeb Bush (who, I think, has announced that he's running for prez in 2016, I think?) recently said that "if gay people are allowed to marry then the next thing you know women will want the right to vote". Do you think that's anywhere close to funny? In this age of a million and one clowns and assholes spouting on talk radio and 24 hour cable news, not to mention online, trying to be oh-so-clever with precisely that exact stupid line, do you really think it's funny when Letterman says it on his late night talk show?

So anyway, then Tom Hanks came on and I found their chit-chat pretty boring, which caused me to ponder ------ if this was still nineteen eighty-something and Tom and Dave were chatting about "Bachelor Party" or "Splash" I know that I'd be finding it fascinating and hilarious. So what's changed? Me? Or Hanks and Letterman? I honestly don't know. Maybe I just don't give much of a damn about celebrities and their show biz anecdotes anymore. Or maybe those guys are just old and jaded and boring and fake nowadays? Like I said, I pondered it but I really and truly and honestly don't know.

Actually, during the second half of the interview I did loosen up and started to chuckle and enjoy it. And then Eddie Vedder wrapped up the show performing that "can't find a better man" song. I've never really been a fan of Pearl Jam or Vedder, but I thought it was a great performance. I will catch the second to final show. And final show. And, unless the existence of this blog completely slips out of my thoughts, I will post something 'bout those.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh yeah . . . . . . this blog.

It's about three-thirty in the wee hours of a Wednesday morning. Feels like a Tuesday, though, 'cause we just had a three day holiday weekend. Four days for me 'cause I called in sick on Friday. Anyway, I was surfing around the 'net just now and remembered this blog that I started back in 2011 but never really did anything with. I see that my last post was made on the final day of 2012 and it was about how I had nearly let that year slip past without a single blog post. Well, right after posting that I let the whole of 2013 go by without writing anything here. We are now nearly halfway through 2014. Maybe I'll start blogging soon.

Ha ha. Maybe.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Whoa! 2012 almost slipped by without a single blog post!

Wow! As I type this there are only a few hours left 'til 2012 becomes history and we all head off into 2013. I've been meaning to post some stuff here on this blog for a while now. At least since August I think. There was an earthquake I meant to write about. And then just this month the OPOE died. In fact, the OPOE died twice this month.

I had some other stuff to post too. Lost a lot of weight. Got stuff done. Some drawing.

Next year maybe.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm a sorry excuse for a blogger, eh?

Yes, I have allowed a full eleven months to pass since I posted "the first post of my new blog". I really ought to have written at least a couple of posts since then. For example, back in June I should've posted something about the death of Maria Gomes Valentim. She was born on July 9th of the year 1896, and between November 4th of 2010 and her death at the age of 114 on June 21st of this year she held the title of  "Oldest Person on Earth".  Naturally, upon her death the new OPOE was immediately crowned, and that person is the still-current OPOE  Bessie Cooper, who was born on the 26th of August in  1896, just a few weeks later than Maria. 

In addition to promising to blog about the OPOE's, I also promised to report about any earthquakes that I experienced. Well, I am very pleased to be able to report that I haven't felt anything all year. Lots of big quakes around the world have been making news, but here in SoCal it remains pretty quiet.

I also mentioned in my first post that I sometimes do a little doodling in a sketchbook and also strum the guitar a bit. Well, over the past eleven months I have indeed been doing some of both. Well ...... actually I haven't touched the sketchbook. I have instead switched to "drawing" on the computer. It's nothing fancy or impressive. Just using the rudimentary program "Paint". Drawing with the mouse. I've been posting a lot of my "art" on Facebook. I suppose I could've posted some of it here as well. Most of what I've come up with have been crudely drawn comic strips featuring a couple of young women sitting in a coffee house, drinking lattes, surfing the internet and discussing current events such as the Congressman Weiner scandal and the conviction of Dr. Conrad Murray (Michael Jackson's physician). None of it has been particularly insightful or clever or even funny, but I'm entertaining myself with 'em, and also deriving an enormous amount of satisfaction from being creative on a regular basis.

So perhaps I'll start posting some of that on here in 2012. Or maybe I should start a new blog -- maybe one just especially for that comic strip about the two coffee drinking 'net surfers. Or maybe ---- just maybe ---- I shall again forget about blogging of any kind for another eleven months or more. I know not. We shall see.

Monday, December 19th, 2011