Archives for posts with tag: entertainment

retro-tv

When I think back over some of the TV I watched since I first sat in front of our old black & white Zenith on the cold linoleum floor in our family room, I realized that there are a few that had staying power. Shows that I will sit and watch, no matter how many times I’ve seen them.

Because certain shows strike a chord in us. Others? Not so much.

I can think of dozens of shows I loved while growing up that hold little to no appeal to me now. It doesn’t mean they were bad shows (well some of them were), but they were only interesting at that particular time. If they came on as re-runs on TV Land or Hallmark channel, I just wasn’t that jazzed to sit and watch them.

Bet there are certain shows that I will watch forever. Maybe not every episode…let’s face it, every show has a few dud episodes…but if I stumble across them while channel surfing, my feet and the volume are going up.

Little-House-Praire

Little House on the Praire
I love this show – have since it first began airing on Wednesday nights back in 1974. My dad and I used to watch the Waltons, so when Little House pilot movie aired, we watched it. It was along the same vein as the Waltons…good old fashioned family drama. It didn’t take long for me to get hooked. Right from the first episode the rivalry between Nelly & Laura made me say “goodnight John Boy.”

For years I watched every episode. I comisserated with Laura when Mr. Applewood picked on her and made her the class example, or when she put the apples down her dress to make it look like she had boobs. I sighed when Jason wrote he loved her on the chalkboard, and when she got her first kiss from Almanzo. I cheered when she pushed Nelly down the hill in her wheelchair, and won the big race on the back of Bunny.

And it’s not just the main characters that drew me in. Mr. Edwards, Doc Baker. Mr. & Mrs. Oleson, and even Miss Beadle were part of my Little House family. Later I welcomed  the widow Schneider and the Sanderson children…I even liked the Garveys and later, Albert.

I cried when the entire town got sick with Anthrax, or when the entire town got lost in a snow storm, or when the entire town again got sick with Typhus. I cheered when the town softball team (the millers/merchants/heavenly hosts) beat Sleepy Eye, but then cried again when the blind school burnt down. You never knew what emotion you would be feeling during that hour of power on NBC.

The show lost me shortly after Almanzo and Laura got married, I have to admit. Those are my jump the shark years. Once Jason Bateman and Shannon Dougherty came on board I was pretty much boycotting the show. But I’ll watch almost every episode before that.

lucyethel_i_love_lucyI Love Lucy
This probably should have come first. I’ve been watching this show the longest, I think, and here are scenes that still make me laugh today, even though I’ve seen them hundreds of times. Lucille Ball has to be the greatest female television entertainer ever. No arguments.

Yes, there are the classics – stomping grapes, stuffing candy in her bra, getting tanked while rehearsing the Vitavetavegamin commercial. Those are all great, but there are a few that are my personal favorites.

  1. First Stop
    This is the episode where they stop at that crazy hotel on the way to California. I can watch the scene where the beds move back and forth across the room every time. And Ethel tucking Fred into bed? Freakin’ classic.
  2. The Operetta
    I can watch Lucy in a snaggle tooth ’till the end of time. Her performance as the Queen of the Gypsies is flawless. Also catch the episode where she plays the witch in Little Ricky’s play – another good snaggle toothed role.
  3. Lucy Gets a Paris Gown
    Both of the episodes where Lucy tries to get a designer gown are great – Don Loper in Hollywood and Jacques Marcel in Paris. She wore that feed bag with such grace and elegance…
  4. Ricky & Fred are TV Fans
    Lucy & Ethel are tired of being ignored while Ricky & Fred watch the fights. There is a great scene in the police station with veteran actor Frank Nelson that always kills me. That dude was in a bunch of different episodes and he’s good in every one.
  5. Anytime Lucy is In the Show
    Ricky was nuts! I’d pay to see Lucy in the show before I’d listen to one sour note from Ricky. Sally Sweet, Hiawatha, the pompous show horse? Lucy steals the show.

There are a ton more – that show was so good. But it did jump the shark. When they moved to the country I lost all interest.

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M*A*S*H
Every now and then some network will start re-running this show, and hubby and I will watch religiously.  We agree that the first few seasons were the best – the original cast our favorites by far. The episode with the incubator? That’s one of my favorites.  “Did you really yell give me an incubator or give me death?”

Or the one with Adam’s Ribs. “You sent all the way to Chicago and no coleslaw?”

Hubby thought it went down hill after Trapper and Henry left, and once Frank was gone? Fuggedaboudit.

I didn’t mind BJ or Colonel Potter at first. Giving Klinger more air-time was also a plus. I even liked Charles Emerson Winchester up to a point. But the last few seasons the jokes were forced – they came in rapid-fire succession and let’s face it…people just don’t talk like that. Plus everyone got so sanctimonious – BJ and Hawkeye were constantly on the soapbox, and if I had to hear the phrase “meatball surgery” one more time…

But gripes aside, this show gave us at least 7 good seasons and I can find quite a few must see episodes in every season, even the last few. My jump the shark moment was after Radar left, and Klinger stopped wearing dresses, and Margaret got nice.

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The Odd Couple
I miss this show. Somebody needs to put it back on. It was a family favorite, especially with my sisters. Tony Randall was the best. He delivered so many great lines – had such great expressions. And that’s not to take any credit away from Jack Klugman – as a pair they were flawless.

Favorite episodes are (of course) Password, Calypso Felix – when Felix crashes on Oscar & Nancy’s vacation, Security Arms – where the men move into a high security apartment building, Scrooge Gets an Oscar – where Felix asks Oscar to play Scrooge and the Flying Felix – where Oscar helps Felix get over his fear of flying.

“I much fear serious trouble in the fuseladge, Frederick.”

To me, this show never jumped the shark. It’s just the best. The freakin’ best.

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All in the Family
Groundbreaking. Controversial. And so incredibly funny.

There’s something about every charachter that you love – Edith’s long stories, Mike’s constant political rants, Gloria’s blind adoration of her overly political husband, and Archie. Ah, Archie. TV’s bigoted everyman in a white shirt and loafers.

But it’s not just these four – other characters they brought on – even for just one episode – were great.

  1. The Ripleys
    Edith answers the ad in the swap section – enter Rue McLanahan and Vincent Gardenia who play a couple of swingers who are interested in “switching partners, but not for dancing.”
  2. Frank & Irene Lorenzo
    Vincent Gardenia returned in later episodes as Frank Lorenzo – those are all watch worthy. Irene is great too – it’s nice to see Edith get a friend for a short while
  3. Mrs. Jefferson
    Mr. Jefferson was okay, but I like Mrs. Jefferson – she’s my favorite park of the Sammy Davis Jr. episode
  4. The Robbers
    Clevon Little and Demond Wilson play two robbers hiding out in the Bunkers house. There is so many funny things in this episode – it’s a must see.
  5. Beverly LaSalle
    Archie gives mouth to mouth to a transvestite. How great is that. Her character was wonderful – funny and warm. And I loved how they wrote in her death later on.
  6. And then there’s Maude
    While I didn’t like the spinoff Maude, I loved the episode where she was introduced. Cream of wheat with cheese…classic.

All in the Family jumped the shark when Mike & Gloria moved to California. The introduction of Daniell Brisebois (how do I remember these things?????) did little for me. I stopped watching. We won’t even mention Archie Bunker’s Place…

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The Honeymooners – Classic 39
Almost every episode in the classic 39 are priceless gems, jam packed with quotable lines. While I do love the majority of them, my favorite episodes by far are:

  1. A Woman’s Work Is Never Done
    Alice, tired of cleaning and getting zero appreciation for it, decides to go to work and get a maid. This episode is so freakin’ funny and filled with great quotable lines
    “I’m the only girl in town with an atomic kitchen – this place looks like Yucca Flats after the blast!”
    “Some guest, some employer…the simp and the blimp”
    “I dont clean up after any late night snacks, and from the looks of it this boy has plenty of late night snacks.”
    “If this is the servants quarters, I quit.”
  2. Young at Heart
    Ralph tries to prove to Alice that he can still act youthful. I love the scene when they dance “The Hucklebuck,” and the scene at the end where they are around the table reminiscing. Ralph begins to laugh for real during this scene and doubles over, gasping for breath. My favorite lines:
    “You’re a termite Ralph, stricly out of the wood”
    “I’ll kiss you later I’m eatin’ a patater”
    “How can someone so round be so square”
  3. Alice and the Blonde
    Alice & Trixie feel ignored by Ralph & Norton especially after they attentively fawn over Rita, Burt Wiedermeier’s blonde bombshell of a wife. The scene at Burt’s apartment and the following scene in the Kramden’s kitchen are fantastic tv fare. Great quotes include:
    “Leave it there the cat’ll get it”
    “A treasure? He keeps this up much longer he’s going to be a BURIED treasure.”
    “I call you “Killer” ’cause you slay me” – “And I’m calling Bellevue ’cause you’re nuts!”
    “Isn’t that a good idea, Tubby?”

You also can’t forget Ralph playing golf, wearing the man from space costume, Norton’s Captain video getup, and the Chefs of the Future. But I gotta tell you…I also enjoyed every single rant of Alice’s – they are great. Her colorful descriptions of their dreary apartment kill me everytime and I love seeing Ralph – who can be quite a bully/shithead sometimes – put soundly in his place.

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The Brady Bunch
Ok, ok, ok – stop groaning. I just can’t help it…I still love watching this show. My 12 year old breaks my chops everytime she catches me watching it, claiming it’s beyond lame. And this coming from a girl who watches Victorious…hmph. If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black.

Maybe I love it because it takes me back to cozy Friday nights in front of the television – eating rice pudding from the Pathmark and listening to my mom putting away groceries in the kitchen. Or maybe it’s because the plot lines are so positively goofy that I just never tire of them.

I mean really, what’s not to love?

  • Brushes with Greatness – Davy Jones, Desi Arnaz Junior, Joe Namath, Don Drysedale – you never knew who was going to waltz through the front (or back) door of the Brady Home.
  • A Well Travelled Family – The Brady’s got outta dodge pretty often…the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Kings Island Amusement Park…not to mention episodes involving camping, skiing, boating. The Brady’s were always on the go!
  • Tons of Guest Stars – Vincent Price, Melissa Sue Gilbert (although she wasn’t a star yet), Imogene Coca, Marion Ross, Marcia Wallace, Jim Backus, Jackie Koogan & Don Ho to name a few.
  • Alice – I loved Alice. Plain & simple.

My favorite episodes are by far the iconic ones. Marsha & Doug Simpson rank up there among the best episodes ever. Oh my nose! over and over and over again? Come, on…it’s unbeatable. The new Jan Brady is another stellar, can’t miss episode, along with the one where Peter has his personality crisis aka the famous “porkchops & applesauce” line. And my final favorite? When the Brady kids sing in the talent competition to win money to pay for the silver platter. Along with not one, but TWO classic, albeit utterly cheesy songs, I get to hear Alice say the line “Third place? What a gyp? It’s the last time I ever watch that crooked channel.”

That line had my and sisters rolling on the ground when we were kids. And it’s still chuckle-worthy to me now.

TV of Today…
I wonder what shows we watch today will have staying power for me? Some shows we watch for a year or so constantly – Like Everybody Loves Raymond, Frazier or Will & Grace. I loved those shows, but when try to sit and watch them now, I find myself switching channels during the commercial and not going back.

I know The Sopranos hit a chord with me. I will watch episodes of that on demand often enough to where I feel confident it will stay on my permanent watch list. But I wonder if shows like Modern Family, or any of the dozens of reality shows I watch will still interest me in the future. Can I see myself in 2025 settling down on my couch for a marathon viewing of Toddlers & Tiaras?

Somehow I doubt it. Housewives of New Jersey? Now maybe.

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Today my girls and I are spending another day at King’s Dominion – one of the big amusement parks here in Virginia. While showering, I was thinking of what rides we might go on today- trying to think of rides we haven’t gone on a whole lot so far this year.

The first ride that came to mind is the White Water Canyon. You know the ride – it’s the giant raft that seats 6 and rushes down a rapids-filled river. I used to love this ride, but not anymore. At least not at King’s Dominion.

In the past, this ride used to be like a giant crap shoot…a watery roll of the dice. You chose your seat carefully because on this ride, some folks got wet and others didn’t. It all depended on who the fickle hand of fate felt like pointing her watery finger at. A current or a bump up against the side of the canyon could cause the raft to spin at the last minute, changing the course of someone’s day – who would wind up with crotch-rot and who would stay dry?

Many times I got off this ride with nothing more than a few droplets of water on my shorts, or just wet shoes. Other times I was soaked to the skin while my fellow riders, pointing at me and laughing,  might only have a wet sleeve. That’s what made it fun. You just never knew how you would fare by the ride’s end.

But now? You get wet. Period. King’s Dominion changed the course of the ride within the past few years and no matter where you sit, no matter how the raft bobs, spins or dips, the vessel is channeled to go under a giant waterspout, dousing every passenger. You come off that ride soaked right down to your Fruit of the Looms. Crotch-rot all around!

I don’t understand why they changed it. There was a beauty to the older ride…a randomness. The ride was different every time and that’s what I liked about it. You stood in line wondering if you were going to be walking down the exit ramp dry or dripping wet. My husband, who finds walking in wet shorts to be highly disagreeable, was never willing to risk it.

Well, darlin’…there’s no risk now. No matter what you do, no matter where you sit, the fine folks at KD have engineered it so the house wins every time.

And I think it sucks.

cave-bear

I am listening to Clan of the Cave Bear on audio book. It’s a first for me – not the story, just having it told to me rather than me reading it. I’ve read the books over and over again. Once I finish the complete series, a year or so will go by and I again feel the need to touch base with Ayla.

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Me have shitty make-up

I can’t remember how old I was the first time I read the books. I just know I had read them before the horrible 1986 attempt at a movie. Part of the reason why it was so laughable was their depiction of early man. The cavemen on the old Geiko commercials are more convincing than this sorry lot of cave dwellers. It’s obvious that Hollywood was neither equiped nor capable of telling this story back in the 80’s.

But now? Now that’s a different story. Now Hollywood could knock this book out of the park. If they can make computer generated apes look like the real deal, how hard could it be to make a few cavemen?

But I wouldn’t want a remake of the movie. The book is written with complex, detailed descriptions of what life might have been like for primitive man. It’s just too much to fit into a 2 or 3 hour movie. What I want is a series. A series like Game of Thrones, where time is taken to really tell the story and develop characters.

But only a premium channel could take this on properly. Cause primitive man can get pretty steamy in them furs. Well, maybe not in the first book. But once Jondalar comes on the scene, watch out. Game of Thrones is like a Lifetime movie compared to some of the stuff that goes on in the Earth’s Children series of books.

Ah Jondalar. Decribed as 6 foot 6, blonde and… (ahem) hung. I’d like to be at that casting call…

My point is I love these books and I think they deserve a second chance. There are tons of Clan Fans out there – I’m sure I’m not alone in my desire to see these stories put to film. You just have to do it right.

So this is my plea to HBO, Showtime, Netflix – anyone who thinks they could do these books justice. For the love of Ursus & Mut…Bring the Earth’s Children to the people of Earth.

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On Sunday night I was scrolling through the channel guide for something to watch, and stumbled across an old summer favorite – Meatballs. Thrilled to have found this movie from my youth, I poured a glass of wine, crossed my legs, and sat back to watch.

About 15 minutes later hubby stuck his head in the room and said, “Meatballs? Why are you watching this? That movie sucked.”

Sucked? Meatballs?

Ok, I’ll admit it’s not the wittiest comedy ever put on the silver screen, and it is on my Pinterest list of  “movies I love but shouldn’t” (along with Overboard and The Great Outdoors). But there’s something about this movie that speaks to me.

I saw it when it came out in 1979 at the ripe old age of 14 – probably at the Park Lane Theater in Palisades park. I had always wanted to go to summer camp. My girlfriend Leslie went every year and I was so jealous of the stories she’d tell when she got back. I guess Meatballs was how I fantasized summer camp would be – making friends, falling in love, hijinx and mayhem all rolled into one.

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The characters make it all seem so effortless, of course. Candace, with her perfect teeth, and Crocket, with his curly hair, are the perfect couple. A.L., quintissential girl next door, and Wendy, the blonde bombshell, are mirrored by sporto Jackie & the nerdy girl (whose name quite escapes me). Hardware is ugly/cute with his huge nose, and Spaz & Fink round out the loveable nerd set on the guys side.

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But I didn’t like all the characters. Wheels drives me absolutely crazy with his lisp and his big nose. And Bill Murray’s love interest Roxanne? Couldn’t they get someone a little more appealing? And while I really liked Rudy – they needed to comb his hair a little more often.

Boo Jody!

Boo Jody!

And there was this one small character named Jody. She reminded me of all the girls in school who were not quite pretty, but were thin and had great hair, and therefore, were popular.

I don’t like her much either.

In real life, I doubt these folks would have all gotten along – but this is Hollywood, and at 14 I didn’t know any better. I liked to watch and think, “well that’s just the perfect summer” and that such a summer could be attained just as easily. That friends and boys and fun would all just come to me organically. Like magic.

Like I said – I was 14.

Yet when I watch it now, I’m reminded of those feelings, and I feel like a little girl with the whole summer ahead of her. And it makes me smile.

Are you ready for the summer?

Rocky Horror

When I was a teenager, I spent quite a few Friday nights ringing in the weekend with a midnight viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My friend John introduced me to it. I think the first time I saw it was at  the Oritani Theater in Hackensack, NJ, and for the next several years I’d go see it at least 6 or 7 times a year.

The movie would bounce from one venue to another – I guess theater owners got tired of cleaning up the toilet paper, playing cards, wet newspapers & rice and would say sayonara to Rocky and the gang. But we’d find the theater it moved to.

I don’t know what it was that struck a cord in me when I first saw it. I loved the music, that’s for sure. I think I went through two copies of the soundtrack album I played it so often. Perhaps I liked it was because it was somewhat naughty – a dude in a corset, thigh highs and f*ck-me heels? You don’t see that in your average movie. I sat doe-eyed in my seat while the audience yelled at the screen and pelted me with toast and other flying props.

But that’s why I loved it so much. It was so much more than just watching a movie – you were a part of what made the night fun – the more the audience participated, the better the show. Each time you went, you learned a few more lines and brought a few more props. And you did the Time Warp.

What fun it was to get out of your seat, run up the aisle to the front of the theater, and do the Time Warp in a line with a bunch of total strangers! And after that, Frankenfurter would appear, stomping his heel as the elevator descended. Yeah, at this point the training wheels were off and you were in for one hell of a ride.

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I don’t like men with too many muscles.

Every one has a character in that movie they relate to. Me? I was a Janet girl. Innocent and sweet, and thrust into a world of perversion against her will. But underneath that virginal, small town girl shell is a saucy little vixen. She spends half the movie walking around in a bra and half slip, which made it really difficult to dress up as her for Halloween.

I went as Magenta instead.

Certain theaters went beyond showing the movie – it was more of an all night event. When I was in college I used to see Rocky Horror at the State Theater on Main Street in Newark, Delaware. They began by showing a Bugs Bunny cartoon, then you watched Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” video, followed by the Tim Curry videos for “I Do The Rock,” and “Paradise Garage.” By that time it was a quarter to 1 and the main event hadn’t even started.

Rocky Horror at the State Theater also included live performers who would act out the movie on the stage directly in front of the screen. This was an element that most of theaters we frequented in New Jersey lacked. These folks took their performances very seriously, and they were good. Once the lips faded from the screen and the credits began to roll you would stumble home at 2:30 am in a Rocky Horror daze.

After college the Rocky Horror craze began to diminish – less and less theaters played it and I usually had other things to do on a Friday or Saturday night. Then one summer while I was on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard we saw that they were playing it at some town building in Tisbury, and we all decided to go. I had a cousin who had never seen it, and was interested to see what all the hubbub was.

And this was where I had a Rocky Horror awakening. It was the first time I went to a showing just to see the movie. From the start I realized nobody in the small audience was going to be shooting water pistols or yelling “Nice Tits!” And nobody was going to get up and do the Time Warp. We just sat and watched the movie.

It was a shock to my system. I heard lines I’d never been able to hear before because the audience wasn’t  yelling “Asshole,” for 3 minutes straight. But I missed the chaos. And I felt bad for those who had come to see  it. They really didn’t get to experience the true Rocky Horror Picture Show – they just watched a movie about a strange guy in women’s underwear.

Once the movie came out on DVD I bought it, and yes, I showed it to my girls (mother of the year!). My youngest really loves it, and I look forward to one day taking her to a theater at midnight and letting her experience the thrill of yelling at the screen, throwing rice, shielding our heads with a newspaper, and getting up to do the time warp.

After all, it’s just a jump to the left.

ComcastAs of today I officially hate Comcast. Like really super duper seethingly passionate hatred.

Let’s be honest. I’ve always hated the cable company. It all started with Cable Vision when I lived in New Jersey. They were notorious for failing to show for scheduled appointments, and then telling you that they dame, but you weren’t at home. This is after you’d spent the last 5 hours waiting in your home that was sans cable.

Before Comcast came to my humble little home, I was dealing with a cable company that was so utterly inept, so entirely clueless, that a call to solve your issue literally took hours. So when Comcast took over, and my internet always worked, and my cable only went out when a monsoon was blowing through, I was thrilled.

But over the past year or so, the service has really begun to suffer. I’ll sit down to watch something on Demand, a service they love to advertise in order to get you to “choose Comcast,” and I’ll get an error message.

Grrr.

Now I have to call Comcast, where the automated bitch will tell me she’s sending a bullet to our TVs which should solve the problem. When that doesn’t fix it, you have to call again, and the customer service rep, who 95% of the time can barely speak English, tells you to unplug your box for 30 seconds and then plug it back in.

After the tv takes 20 minutes to reboot, the problem is usually fixed. But, I’ve now wasted 30 minutes of my time when all I wanted to do was plop down on the couch and watch last night’s episode of “The Bachelor.” (aside…wasn’t Juan Pablo a tool?)

If it were just that problem once in a blue moon I wouldn’t be complaining. Everything goes on the fritz every now and then. The problem I have with Comcast is that the problem happens over and over and over again on every cable box I own. Not just one, not just two, but ALL THREE.

Once one box is fixed, another goes klabooey 10 days later. Once that one is fixed, a week later the third decides it doesn’t feel like working. And around 9 days after that, the first cable box will once again lovingly display it’s error message.

I’ve got Comcast on speed dial. Bonnie & Clyde were hit with less bullets than have been sent to my house courtesy of my shitty cable company.

But Monday afternoon I got fed up. Monday & Tuesdays are my early days – I get out at 2 pm – and I was looking forward to a walk, and then sitting down to watch the two episodes of “Walking Dead” that I had missed. I finished my walk, shucked my shoes and socks, and  with my feet up on the table hit the On Demand button.

I was rewarded with yet another error message. I muttered a not so silent expletive, got up and unplugged the box dialing 1-800-COMCAST with my free hand. I had 20 minutes to kill – may as well chew someone’s head off while I waited for my TV to reboot. I didn’t even want a technician…I just wanted to yell at someone.

Once the TV came back on, not only did On Demand not work, but my DVR was gone as well. Mother f-er – my patience was certainly being tested today! Another call to Comcast landed me an English speaking American based service rep – things were looking up. She was super nice – scheduled an appointment for a technician to come the next day, listened to all my griping, and commiserated with my misery. I felt somewhat placated, but was still angry.

The next day, home early again, I skipped my walk because I didn’t want to miss the cable guy who was coming between 3 and 5. 3 o’clock turned to 4. 4 o’clock turned to 4:45. I picked up the phone and called Comcast. Because we had a scheduled appointment, I got a recorded voice saying, “Your appointment is scheduled for 3 pm to 5 pm. Your technician should arrive between 5:05 and 5:35.”

That in itself was a riot. I’m so glad you are admitting to me that my technician is sorta late. As long as he’s still coming.

And at 5:30 we got the call. A Comcast rep called to tell us that our technician called in sick and nobody would be coming today.

Can you say ballistic?

I went off on this gal. If the dude called in sick, why couldn’t they call us to let us know RATHER THAN HAVE ME SIT AROUND MY HOUSE FOR 3 HOURS ON A BEAUTIFUL 75 DEGREE AFTERNOON?

When she tried to reschedule for the next day, I told (screamed to) her that I have to work to make the money to pay for their shitty service. After a few minutes hubby grabbed the phone from me. I was irate and getting nowhere towards getting our cable fixed.

Hubby could be home for the technician if they came between 8 and noon. Fine. He had already nabbed us a $20 discount for the no-show technician. I guess I could live without the DVR and the On Demand for one night.

The next day the dude shows up begins to trouble shoot our lines. I had to leave for work, and left him in hubby’s hands. I came home to a “new” box in my living room, which was not actually new. A scratched, ugly, disgusting refurbished box sat where my well taken care of old one used to be. Seems Comcast doesn’t make new boxes anymore for crappy poor folk like us who can’t afford their snazzy and expensive triple play super high def cable package. Only those rich folks get them nice new shiny boxes.

Oh, and we lost every single thing we’ve ever taped.

I hate Comcast. Can I say that again, please? I seriously need to look into alternatives to traditional cable. However, after a bit of research, that is going to mean a technological leap of faith that I don’t think my family could handle.

Yet.

But I’m going to make it my goal to change their minds. I am so tired of these dickheads taking my very hard earned money and giving me sub-standard service in return. The day will come. The day will come when I can give Comcast a huge middle finger farewell salute, and tell them they don’t have Typical Tracy to push around anymore.

Postscript
I’ve just had to make two more phone calls to Comcast tonight. Our new box came, and our OnDemand still doesn’t work. Cris, my first tech who was very hard to understand, gave me the “I put in new codes don’t use your on demand for 30 minutes” speech. An hour later, it still doesn’t work.

Second call to Sean placed and he is resetting the box to factory settings – now I am 45 minutes without my tv at all. Comcast if you’re reading this, feel deep shame as you type me some bullshit tweet or message about wanting to help. You don’t know the meaning of the word.

Postscript to my Postscript
It is March 20th. My Comcast nightmare began on March 10th. I have been on the phone with them every day – sometimes more than once – for 10 days. They have missed 2 appointments, and wasted roughly 8 hours of my time, not to mention at least 3 hours of viewing time I’ve lost while I was stuck rebooting boxes.

I think it’s finally done though. I think I may not have to call them again. I don’t know if I can keep my sanity if I get another error message.

Eddie-Murphy-at-the-79th--007When I worked at Tiger Beat magazine back in the 80s, one of the perks was occasional tickets to movies or movie premiers. If the editors couldn’t go, or had little interest in the movie, they would pass them on to us, the staff. One such instance was when we went to see the premier of “The Abyss.” It was to be a rather large premier at Radio City Music hall, and I was super excited to go.

I dolled myself up in a tight dress and black pumps (I had a figure back then), and my coworkers and I headed into New York City. After a quick dinner, we arrived at Radio City and I was amazed at the magnitude of the event. I’d been to opening night at “Rambo III.” That was nothing more than a crowded theater where my friend yelled “God Bless America” after Sylvester Stallone saved half the human race. It was the one big laugh the movie got.

But this? This was the real deal. A red carpet was stretched from the street to the front doors, velvet ropes draped on both sides. I knew for a fact that Ed Harris, the star of the movie, was going to attend. Crowds were beginning to line up on either side of the ropes in the hopes of spotting a celebrity or two – photographers were beginning to gather as well. My friends were eager to get inside, but I suggested we hang back and watch for a while. Nothing major was happening yet, and if I was going to walk the red carpet, I wanted to do it in style.

We hung out on the street for a little bit, but the start of the movie was just a short while away and they became anxious, so I grabbed my coworker Tom’s arm, and we headed for the red carpet.

Have you ever walked down a red carpet? Granted this wasn’t the Oscars, but it was a pretty cool experience. The paparazzi had no clue who we were, but at an event where major stars are going to show up they’ll snap a photo or two just in case. With my stomach sucked in and my head held high, I glided down that carpet, smizing to the cameras, and drinking in the experience for all it was worth. Cameras flashed, and as I looked at all the people on the other side of the velvet rope I wondered if this was what it was like to be a star.

Once inside, we found our seats, and watched the movie. Have you ever seen “The Abyss?” It was just okay. But the whole premier experience had been well worth sitting through the movie.

After the movie we walked out the front entrance, and I was surprised to see the red carpet and velvet ropes still in place…wasn’t that just for the grand entrance? As I walked down the carpet, happy for a second chance to pretend that I was an up and coming starlet, I noticed a limo parked right at the end. As I reached the street, I heard the crowd begin to “ooh” and “aah.” Then they got a little frantic.

Suddenly I heard “Eddie! Eddie!” and the next thing I knew, the small area at the end of the red carpet was swarming with very large, very aggressive security guards. Everyone was screaming and crowding in, but I was still inside the velvet ropes, which I thought would give me a drop of protection. It was Eddie Murphy’s Limo I was standing next to!

A large, tight knot of people were making their way down the red carpet straight for me. I was standing right beside the waiting limo. I was super excited…here I was inside the velvet ropes with Eddie Murphy just a few yards away! Before I could put my most dazzling smile on my face in preparation of rubbing elbows with him, I was shoved, pushed, and bent over backwards on the hood of the limo.

One guy was yelling “Get the fuck back, get the fuck back!”

I think I said, “I’m getting the fuck back!” but it was while I was doing a back bend, that Nadia Comaneci would’ve been proud of, over a hot hood. That throng of body guards meant business…no gal in a tight blue dress was going to keep them from getting Eddie safely in his limo.

Once he was inside, the guards eased up, and I was able to stand up straight again. The door to the limo had not yet been closed, and I peered over the window, waved and said “Hey Eddie!”

He looked right at me and said, “HI!”

Then the door was closed and the limo sped off. I stood in a daze at the end of the red carpet, still safely between the velvet ropes, adjusting the hem of my dress which had ridden up considerably after my ordeal. Did that really just happen? Was I actually just man-handled???? By Eddie Murphy’s bodyguards????

Ha! Another great story. Cause that’s what life’s all about, right? Being in the right place at the right time, and coming home with a great story.

steel-magnolias-original-CASTI don’t know why, but I love the movie Steel Magnolias. It’s a combination of Dolly Parton’s bad acting, the good natured rivalry between Olympia Dukakis and Shirley McLean, and Julia Roberts’ annoyingly toothy smile that draws me in. Yes, I cry every single time I see it, just like I cry every time I see Terms of Endearment or West Side Story.

But there is a time line discrepancy in Steel Magnolias that bothers me to my very core. Let me outline it for you, and see if you agree or can offer some clarity. I tried reaching out to my Facebook friends, but got little to no satisfaction from anyone’s input.

Fact 1: Shelby has a kidney transplant on our about July 4th.

Fact 2: Annelle, who is deeply religious, is getting married on or close to Halloween.

Fact 3: Shelby collapses and slips into a coma on Halloween

Fact 4: Shelby dies and is buried. At the funeral Annelle is pregnant and asks M’Lynn if she can name her baby Shelby

Fact 5: Annelle goes into labor and gives birth on or around Easter

Just looking at these raw facts raises an eyebrow right away. If you are married on Halloween, there is no way you can have a baby on the following Easter unless you were creasing the sheets before you walked down the aisle. November – April is only 6+ months of gestation time.

Yes, the baby could’ve been premature, but they make mention of how uncomfortable Annelle is in her advanced stage of pregnancy at the Easter Egg Hunt so I doubt that was the case.

Eddie Munster

separated at birth?

There is the school of thought that Annelle gave into temptation by letting her boyfriend bed her down before entering into holy matrimony, but I hate that idea. It just doesn’t fit her character. And on a side note, who cast that dude? He looked like Eddie Munster grown up. Ick.

The only other plausible explanation is that Shelby was in a coma for a very long time. Let’s pretend she collapsed on Halloween of 1989, the year the movie came out. Annelle would have had to have become pregnant around August of 1990 to give birth around Easter of 1991. If she is already pregnant at Shelby’s funeral, that means Shelby would have to have been in a coma for at least 10 months – the last of October 1989 to August of 1990. This would also account for the fact that Jack Jr., who was like 1 1/2 when Shelby collapsed, was a lot older when we next see him at the Easter Egg Hunt where Annelle goes into labor.

But this theory doesn’t mesh for 2 reasons. For one, Jack Jr. is being pushed in a swing at Shelby’s funeral and is clearly still a toddler. And, they mention that M’Lynn didn’t leave Shelby’s side even once while she was in the coma…she couldn’t risk missing it if Shelby woke up for even a minute. I doubt even the best mother would sit by a comatose daughter for 10 months non-stop.

Nope, it’s a plot flaw, plain and simple.

Am I mentally defective for even caring about this?

Eingang des Hard Rock Cafes, New York City, New York, USABack when I was in my twenties, the big rock station in New York City was WNEW. Each October, which they dubbed “Rocktober” (I know, how original) they would have an afternoon block of programming live from the Hard Rock Cafe. Musical guest and actors would come in and be interviewed before a live audience, which consisted of whoever was having lunch in the restaurant that afternoon.

At the time of this story I was working as a graphic artist at Tiger Beat magazine. It was my first real job, and I took it very seriously. One morning while I work I got a call from my friend Paul. He asked me what I was doing that afternoon, and I said “working, what do you think?”

He said that he was going into New York and try to get into the Hard Rock for that afternoon’s Rocktober broadcast. The guests were Robin Williams and Julian Lennon. I had to admit, it sounded way more fun than pasting up another boring story about Corey Feldman.

But I didn’t like the idea of cutting out of work. I knew if I went to my boss and asked for the afternoon off, he’d tell me to forget it and get back to work. Therefore, if I had any chance of going, I’d have to lie. I weighed the pros and cons and decided to join my friends on a star studded NYC adventure.

I went home for lunch, and called 10 minutes before I was supposed to be back at my desk complaining of cramps. It was plausible; most of my girl friends at work (and even a few of my guy friends) knew I had legendary bouts of cramps from time to time. Then I freshened up my make up, put on a cute little outfit and hopped in Paul’s car.

We got into the city and walked to the Hard Rock to find a line outside with lots of security. This would have discouraged most folks, but most folks didn’t have Paul around. I can’t explain how he did it, but Paul always managed to finagle his way into places that were barred from everyone else. Security guards and bouncers were someone to befriend and bullshit with, rather than view as a threat or a deterrent.

This day was no different. I can’t remember how he got us in, but within 10 minutes we were inside waiting in line for a table. The line was upstairs, which was great because they broadcast from this glass booth in the upstairs corner of the restaurant, so we could see everything while we waited.

Robin Williams was in the booth with Scott Muni, who was the big DJ at the station. The interview ended, and Robin left the booth and began walking our way to head down the stairs and exit the Hard Rock. I saw my chance and hopped over the velvet rope, stood right in front of him and said, “Hi, Mr. Williams!”

He shook my hand, said, “Well, Hello!” and then disappeared down the stairs. Yes, this was way better than an afternoon with Corey Feldman. Way better.

The next guest was Julian Lennon. Marty Martinez, who was the joker in the crowd trying to find fans to ask questions, approached me. He told me I was hot (to which I thought “ewwww”) and did I want to ask a question. I said that I’d love to ask a question, but had no clue what to ask. While I like his music, I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of Julian Lennon’s.

So Marty says, “He has a water pistol collection, ask him about that.”

Perfect, I thought. So, the next thing I know I’m live on the radio with Julian Lennon. I say, “Marty here tells me you collect water pistols, and would you be willing to show me yours?”

Yes, it was a very saucy way to phrase the question, but I wanted to be somewhat memorable rather than the dud who asked the boring question. The crowd “oooohed” and he laughed. I can’t remember if he even answered the question or not. I went back to our table triumphant in the fact that I’d had a few seconds of fame, even if it was only on the radio.

The next day, I went to work dying to tell everyone about my adventure, but I couldn’t because after all, I was supposed to be in bed with a hot water bottle on my throbbing abdomen. Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Well the joke was on me. Turns out the radio in the art room was tuned to WNEW that afternoon, and all of my coworkers had heard me ask my saucy question. They never listened to that station – there were too many guidos in the office and we usually listened to the top 40 stations rather than anything rock related.

I got caught. I didn’t get into too much trouble, but my boss had lost a little faith in me which sucked. I didn’t call in sick for a long, long time after that. And when I did, I wondered if they turned on the radio to see if it was true.

Alda Autograph

Did anyone famous live in your hometown?

I grew up in a small, but lovely community a stone’s throw from New York City, so needless to say we had our fair share of residents who were fairly well-known. Some of the famous folks who called Leonia home before my time were Buddy Hackett, Pat Boone, and even Sammy Davis Jr. – although I never realized that until I Googled it just now.

While I was growing up we were proud to have two famous authors living in our midst; Robert Ludlum and Robin Cook. We also had James Noble, who played the Governor on Benson, and Paris Themen, who played Mike TeeVee in the original Willy Wonka movie. I remember playing in someone’s backyard and being totally bowled over when he showed up – perhaps to pick up a younger sibling. I can’t recall. I just know I gushed.

Gene Shalitt, the NBC film critic with his trademark black curly hair and bushy mustache, also lived in Leonia – I was good friends with his son Andrew. And let me not forget to mention Anthony Bourdain. He wasn’t famous while we were growing up, but he went to high school with my brother at Dwight Englewood – a private school that also had another famous graduate, Brooke Shields.

But there was one celebrity that rose above all of these during my childhood. Alan Alda.

Yep, good old Hawkeye lived just 5 blocks away from me during his 10+ year stint on M*A*S*H. He was the “it” celeb when I was growing up – it was a real coo if you ran into him at the grocery store or the pharmacy, especially once M*A*S*H became such a hit.

My husband recounts tales of playing hockey on the tennis courts in the Alda’s backyard, and getting angrily chased away each and every time. Gee, I wonder why? Hubby also says he delivered the Bergen Record to his house and claims he wasn’t a great tipper. I trick or treated at the house once, but nobody answered the door.

Alan Alda had daughters, and at least one of his daughters also went to high school with my brother at Dwight Englewood. My brother enjoyed acting, and was usually in the school play. I can’t remember what play we were seeing when my Alan Alda incident occurred – maybe “Guys & Doll” or “Oliver!” I know my brother was in both of those plays, as was one of the Alda daughters.

I’m guessing I was around 9 years old, clad in a bright yellow dress that my mom had made for me with a shiny pair of patent leather Mary Janes on my feet. Right before the show started my mother nudged me and whispered in my ear that Alan Alda had just come in and was seated on the aisle just a few rows behind me.

I turned to look, and sure enough there he was! I asked my mom if I could ask him for his autograph, but she told me to wait until the intermission because the play was about to start. All through the first act I squirmed in my seat thinking about how to approach him while in my head I crafted various clever and endearing opening lines.

When the intermission began my mother needed to bolster my nerve – I was scared to actually approach him, but she assured me that once it was over and done with, I would be happy I did it, and miserable the entire night if I didn’t. So, with a program and pen in my shanking little hands, I walked up to his seat and said,

“Excuse me, Mr. Alda. May I please have your autograph?” Remember… 9 years old, bright yellow dress, patent leather Mary Janes.

He turned to me and said, “No. I’m sorry, but I’m just trying to enjoy the show.”

Denied.

I most likely mumbled something like “Oh, that’s ok.” and skulked back to my seat. I was crushed. And embarrassed. I hung my head in shame and silently cried waiting for Act II to start. My mother was furious – not so much because he had sent me packing, but because she had urged me to do it and it had turned out badly.

I never liked him much after that. I’d watch M*A*S*H and see this happy-go-lucky character on the screen, and remember that feeling of pain and shame that was associated with my encounter. Pavlov knew what he was talking about.

About a year ago I recounted this story on a Facbook page that is associated with my hometown – the thread being about all the famous folks that lived in town. Boy oh boy, the backlash was immediate and immense. Seems Alan Alda did lots of wonderful things for many of my fellow townsfolk, and my story didn’t sit well with them.

I refused to apologize, though. I simply said that they are fortunate to have had such a positive experience with him. Mine? Not so much.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I can totally see his point. He was just trying to inconspicuously watch his daughter in the school play – trying to be like every other parent in the auditorium. And along I came to remind everyone that he’s famous.

But on the other hand, I wasn’t loud or obnoxious. I didn’t draw attention, except maybe for the fact that I was in a bright yellow dress. I was little. And polite. In patent leather Mary Janes. You’d think he could’ve thrown me a bone.

Everybody has a bad day – maybe he was having one that night. As horrifiying as it was when the incident happened, now it’s a funny little story in the timeline of my life. If he had granted me the autograph, I might only remember that Alan Alda signed my crumpled play program. Boring.

My story? It has pizzazz, and drama, and heartache. Thanks, Hawkeye – for making Tracy just a little less typical.

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