Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Things I Learned From TV - "Moonlighting"

So kudos to this new channel on Comcast (I think it's basic cable), "Ion", that seems to show only episodes of the "Wonder Years" and "Alice".

I've been strangely obsessed with "Alice" lately in spite of still not having watched a whole episode of the show in, oh, 20 or more years. I think it began some weeks ago when I caught a bit of the movie "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" and discovering for the first time that the show was a spin-off of this film. (I also just learned that Cheryl Ladd played Flo in the film version, then played Flo's short lived replacement "Belle" on the tv show, before she was replaced by Jolene, who seems to show up - the actress, not the character - every few months lately in movies or a TV guest spot)
I caught a few minutes of an episode last night that reminded me that I can say with certainty that this show introduced me to the concept of "moonlighting" (working a second job, presumably in the evenings). Mel was staunchly against his waitresses moonlighting, and Alice was always trying to do it. So I grew up thinking this was a huge deal and that if I ever got a job I better not do it or my boss would be very angry. Little did I know much of the country works 2 jobs to get by...and I actually moonlighted during my first real 9-5 job, working some evenings and weekends in the sky boxes at Wrigley Field.

As a side note - some new (to me) observations on the "Wonder Years":
The show was good because it was first a show about growing up, and second a show about a specific time period.
The later shows (I'm pretty sure the episodes I've been seeing are all from the last season) weren't very good. They were pushing too hard for sappy and forgot the funny.
They never really gave Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper) much to do beyond react to Kevin. She never really had much dialogue beyond these little monologues meant to awaken Kevin to the ways of women.
Anyway....later seasons aside, here's hoping they someday manage all the music licensing issues and get some season sets out on DVD.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jobs I Don't Want #1

Air Conditioning / Heating repairman. Almost everywhere you work the AC or the heat is broken - you'd almost always be sweltering or freezing on the job.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Here's to You, Mr. Vonnegut

A long overdue thank you letter to Kurt Vonnegut -

Dear Mr. Vonnegut,

I owe you a word of thanks for saving my hide in High School. When I was a sophomore, my English teacher broke our class up into a number of small groups and assigned each a book to read and do a group project on. One group got David Copperfield, another got The Good Earth, and another Wuthering Heights. My group's assignment? Slaughterhouse Five. Not only did I read the assigned book, but everyone else in my group did too - something I'm fairly sure could not be said for the groups assigned the considerably more mammoth novels. It was a pleasure for once not to have to be one of the few participants in a group project that has actually done the work.

Did I enjoy the book? Yes, I recall thinking it was interesting. Did I understand it? Not a lick. Did I do any research to help my understanding? I don't really recall. Did I watch the movie? Yes. Was showing scenes from the movie a large part of our presentation (and the only part I remember)? Yes.

So thank you Mr. Vonnegut for writing a short interesting, book. A book that in my busy high school career, I had the time to finish. A book that for many years, until I read "Cat's Cradle" for a college assignment, allowed me to say, "Oh yeah, I've read Vonnegut. I like his stuff".

And oh yeah...I promise to re-read Slaughterhouse someday and try to truly understand and appreciate it...and to finally get around to David Copperfield. As for The Good Earth...I'm not making any promises.

Friday, June 8, 2007

In Depth Reporting

What a great full page Tribune article yesterday on the Crown Fountains at Millennium Park, by Emily Nunn. There are pipes and pumps in there to deliver the water? Amazing! You have to go underground to see it all? Wow! When it's hot outside, it's hot in there? Who would have thought it! Water drips in there? Say it isn't so! The photos are run by a computer? What crazy technology will they come up with next!

About as relevatory as Geraldo uncovering Al Capone's empty vaults.