Category Archives: TV

Does It Hurt and Have A Temperature?

Today’s post comes from Wessew.

That is line from a 1963 Bayer Children’s aspirin commercial. The little boy makes an inquiry of his playmate’s health and receives reassurance from her mother that things will be fine. His delightful response? “Mothers are like that. Yeah, they are.”

With the C-19 pandemic, many of us have heard similar screening questions. “Pain? Temperature?”

My construction work at medical facilities requires a negative response to gain entrance into the building. I’m quite sure that over these past months that I’ve had my temperature taken a hundred times and it has consistently been 97.5. This is a surprise, as I recollect normal body temperature being 98.6 or did Keith mis-inform me with the lyric in his 1967 song:

“Hey, 98.6, it’s good to have you back again! Oh, hey, 98.6, her lovin’ is the medicine that saved me! Oh, I love my baby!”

Somehow “Hey 97.5” doesn’t work as a lyric.

 

Do you have a favorite fever song?

RIP Grant Imahara

I saw the sad news that Grant Imahara has passed away, from a brain aneurysm at the age of 49.  Although he worked for 9 years behind the scenes and Lucasfilms and Industrial Light & Magic as well as winning the third season of Battlebots, he is probably best known as one of the co-hosts of Mythbusters from 2005 to 2014.

I started watching Mythbusters right about the time that Grant started and I was hooked from the beginning.  This was about the time in my life when I was really starting to embrace my interest in science or as my baby sister says “my nerd stuff”.  As I know I’ve talked about here before, I spent decades of my life trying to mask my intelligence.  Even though I was the “smart one” in the family and did well in school, I never highlighted any accomplishments and purposely didn’t gravitate to things that were too nerdy.

But by the time Grant came into my life I had begun to realize that being interested in science, being a big reader, watching shows like Mythbusters was nothing to be ashamed about.  I loved the show and I was always amazed at Grant’s ability to whip up a robot whenever it was needed, from a baseball pitching machine to a robot that could fling a metal rimmed hat at a statue (a la James Bond).

So I will always be grateful to Grant for helping me along a path that has made me happier – I (and the rest of the world) will miss him.

Anything around your house you would like a have a robot do?

To Baader-Meinhof or Not to Baader-Meinhof? That is the Question.

Photo Credit:  Hulki Okan Tabak

A few weeks ago a friend came over for some socially distant muffins and tea.  We had a wonderful time chatting in the backyard about all kinds of things.  At one point she recommended a series called “Walking Through History”.  The host walks around Britain and archaeologists and historians pop out of the surrounding country add information as he walks.  Sounded like my cup of tea so I searched it out.

I didn’t actually binge watch it but over the next couple of weeks, I had seen them all.  The host, Tony Robinson, seemed vaguely familiar, so I googled him.  Turns out he is SIR Tony Robinson, an English actor and host and he seemed familiar because he played Baldrick in the “Black Adder” show a gazillion years ago.  I read through his entire Wikipedia page and found that he has had a fascinating career of acting, presenting and writing and has made charity part of his life’s work.

I’m waiting for a DVD of Black Adder from the library (to re-watch) and have checked out Bad Kids: Naughtiest Children in History .  It was very funny – a kids’ book about various ways in which kids are raised (and punished) in various cultures throughout history.  There are quite a few children’s books about history in his bibliography.

Another thing that caught my eye in his biography was a television show that ran for 20 seasons on BBC called “Time Team”.  A group of archaeologists and historians (and Tony Robison as presenter) go someplace in Britain (often invited by a town or home owner) to look into the history of some ruin – they give themselves 3-5 days and then present their findings.  It took me a bit to find it, but eventually I did – on demand cable – all 20 seasons.  It’s fascinating.  I’ve watched 2 seasons so far.

So imagine my surprise when this morning, while reading In the Woods, a murder mystery that takes place in an archaeological site by Tana French (which has been on my shelf for a few years and I’m just getting to), I found this:

“How’s the dig going?” Cassie asked sociably.
One corner of Mark’s mouth twisted sourly.  “How do you think?  We’ve got four weeks to do a year’s work.  We’ve been using bulldozers.”
“And that’s not a good thing?” I said.
He glared at me.  “Do we look like the f***ing Time Team?”

French then adds a couple of sentences explaining Time Team for those readers who don’t happen to be binge watching it this week.

I’m sure a mathematician can probably explain the odds of this occurrence, but I’m thinking there just has to be magic involved.  And maybe dragons.

For what kind of show would you like to be a presenter?

Della Street

You all know I’m a big fan of Perry Mason, particularly the two tv series with Raymond Burr.  I’ve seen them all and YA will tell you I’ve seen them all repeatedly.  Mea culpa. 

With the big storm on Sunday/Monday, I spent the day inside, watching another of my favorite old shows – Columbo.  When watching episodes back to back, I noticed something in Columbo that I have always been bothered by in Perry Mason.  Secretaries are portrayed as a bad lot.  Either they are in love with their bosses and will lie (and kill) for them or they are sexpots either having affairs with their bosses or vying for those affairs, always with the aim of blackmail of some sort. 

Except Della Street, of course.  Intelligent, resourceful, extremely loyal, kind and completely devoted to her job.  Early mornings, late nights, weekends…. she is ALWAYS working.  She goes to nice restaurants with the boss, gala affairs on occasion, holiday weekends in Mexico, an overnight on a boat with the boss to check some bit of evidence.  She even goes to the boss’ house to take care of him when he is sick.  But no canoodling of any kind, although the later series does lean a little over the line in terms of their relationship.  (And we’re not going to discuss a movie made in the late 30s in which Perry and Della get married!)

I did secretarial work for my father’s law firm for a couple of summers and winter breaks in college and I never met another secretary that fit any of the secretarial visions that Hollywood has dreamed up – no killer gals in love with the boss, no sexpots aiming to entrap the boss and no Della Streets.  Not a one.

In your opinion, what else does Hollywood always mess up?

Boob Tube

Today’s post comes to us from Steve Grooms.

Can we talk about television? Since I live under conditions I call “house arrest,” almost never setting foot outside my apartment, I get to watch a lot of TV.

It wasn’t always like that. When broadcast television first entered my family’s home, programming was limited and boring. By “limited” I mean we had one channel at first, and it ran programs only up until midnight. By “boring” I mean amateurish. Most of those early programs were forgettable. We had better things to do than sitting around looking at that stuff.

In the 70s it was fashionable to call that appliance the “boob tube.” People pretended they never watched it, but if you mentioned a particular show, they suddenly could describe plot developments with loving detail. They obviously watched more than they cared to admit.

Even so, I watched very little in the 60s and 70s except newscasts and a handful of weekly shows. When we bought our first home, the TV sat in the basement. It wasn’t important enough to occupy space upstairs.

Now, between the limits imposed by old age and the new limits imposed by COVID-19, I watch a lot. Some critics claim we are living in a golden age of wonderful programming. Maybe they have access to channels I can’t afford to watch. I’m a Netflix subscriber. They sure have many offerings, but I have to start a dozen Netflix shows before finding one I can commit to. Cable television seems a wasteland of so-called “reality shows.” PBS has some good programs (when it isn’t running pledge drives).

How about you? Watching much these days? Any shows you want to recommend? Any shows that are so disgusting you want to call them out? There are commercials, quite a few, actually, that send me rushing to push the Mute button. Are there any commercials you hope to never see again?

Felix or Oscar?

Today’s post comes to us from Minnesota Steve

The Odd Couple was a popular play that then became a hit movie and then became a television series that ran for five years. The original play, written by Neil Simon, features conflict between recent two divorcees who room together. Felix is a neat freak; Oscar is a slob who is comfortable being a slob. Essentially, the two characters are defined by their very different positions on the OCD scale. I particularly liked the movie. In it, fussy Felix was played by Jack Lemon, an actor who could do crankiness well. Oscar was played perfectly by Walter Matthau.

One reason I found the jokes appealing was how they mirrored my relationship with my favorite hunting and fishing partner, Bill. Bill was Felix; I was Oscar. Bill used to wear suspenders and a belt to keep his pants up; by contrast, I’ve been known to wear neither, with predictable results. We have been pals for over fifty years. Bill has gradually grown less uptight, while I have become somewhat more prepared. It has been the best friendship I ever had.

I was shocked to learn, when I was in my sixties, that I had slight OCD tendencies. One night I sat behind a woman during a small theatrical production. The tag on her blouse was sticking out. I found myself seriously tempted to tuck the tag out of sight. I didn’t, of course. Men who rearrange the clothing of women they don’t know might suffer harsh consequences. I couldn’t wait for that play to end because that loose tag was like a bit of grit in my eye.

When I moved to Michigan, a family friend helped set up in my new apartment. She donated glasses, silverware and furniture so the place would be livable when I arrived. To my disgust, I found myself freaked out by having “mixed” flatware. I lived for 48 years using nothing but the lovely Dansk flatware my erstwife and I got when we were married. After Nancy’s intervention, my elegantly stylish flatware shared a drawer with all kinds of alien forks and spoons from Walmart or who-knows-where. Every time I opened the silver drawer I was disgusted by the clash of styles. When I moved back to Minnesota I secretly dumped all the alien utensils.

So I’m still Oscar, but have a carefully hidden streak of Felix that only my best friends see.

How about you? Are you more slob or neatnik? Do you have enough OCD in you to be slightly bothered by it from time to time? Sitting in the doctor’s waiting area, did you ever straighten up the stacks of magazines?

Foodie?

With all the channels that I have access to, I usually just scroll through the tv guide; I only have a few channels actually memorized. I don’t suppose it will surprise you that Food Network and The Cooking Channel are two of those channels?

There are quite a few shows on those two channels that I don’t watch. Any kind of competition in which one of the contestants gets thrown off at the end – I won’t watch that.  It’s just mean.  I don’t have too much trouble with contests where at the end they just announce one winner, as long as there isn’t too much trash talk, but no throwing people out!.  (And please.. nobody needs to tell me how different “The Great British Bake Off” show is and how I’ll like it – I’ve heard it all before.)

My favorite kinds of shows feature different dishes from places around the world, shows like “Bizarre Foods”, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, “Unique Sweets”, etc. I’ll even watch Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” in a pinch, although he’s not my favorite chef.

Last Sunday, while enjoying Leap Day, I was switching back and forth between two cooking shows that were on at the same time. One of those shows was “Unique Sweets”, a program that showcases desserts from different bakeries around the country.  By luck of the draw, at one point there was a dish on each channel that were both interesting to me, so while “Unique Sweets” was showing ingredients being stirred together, I flipped to the other channel.  They were also showing some ingredients being stirred together, but it seemed like they were stirring really quickly.  I switched back and forth several more times before I figured out that Unique Sweets appears to be slowing down some of their food prep shots a bit compared to “live action”.  This caught my attention so I watched a whole bunch of “US” episodes very closely and what I discovered is that slowing down the action makes the food seem a lot more appealing; more sumptuous, more mouth-watering.  That would explain why I like this show so much.  Does this mean I’m into “food porn”?  Or am I just imagining it?

What makes your mouth water?

Comedy Tonight

On February 5, 1967, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premiered on CBS. I remember watching it, as well as Laugh In, Carol  Burnett, Jackie Gleason,  Jonathan Winters, Jack Benny, and Red Skelton.

I was only 9 years old at the time, and sometimes I just didn’t get the humor.

I think I liked Carol Burnett the best.

It was such an unhappy time, the late 60’s, yet  such shows proliferated. One thing that surprised me as I researched this was how long the sketches were that I found.

What was your favorite comedy show? Know any good jokes?

RIP Terry Jones

Amid all the insanity this week, the saddest news to me is the passing of Terry Jones.

I discovered Monty Python when I was in high school. This was before the television show but I had all their record albums.  One of favorites was Eric the Half a Bee:

Another favorite was An Elk:

By the time I got to Carleton, the television show was airing on Sunday nights and I was a founding member of the 4th Burton Penguin Society:

We got together every Sunday night to watch the show and drink Fosters (do not ask me why we thought we needed to drink Australian beer while watching an English comedy show – I don’t remember at all). All of us in the “club” had a small ceramic penguin; I still have mine and keep in my studio

When Monty Python and the Holy Grail came out, I laughed until I cried and went back to the theatre three times in the next couple of weeks. I have it on DVD but it loses a bit on the small screen, especially the moose credits at the beginning.  YA doesn’t even begin to understand the appeal of Monty Python.  But I loved the irreverence, the silliness, the fun graphics and the craziness of some of the sketches.  This was a great team.  It was sad to lose Graham Chapman too soon and now Terry Jones.  I gave all the record albums to tim last year because I didn’t have a turntable anymore, but I am enjoying the tv shows that are running these days and, of course, you can find a lot of it on youtube, but it’s not quite the same as crowding around a small black and white tv set in a dorm room on 4th Burton, seeing them for the first time.

Who has made you laugh over the years?

 

It’s Movie Time

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Commons

One of my close friends, Pat, is an Oscars fan. As soon as the list of nominees comes out every year, she works hard to make sure she has seen all the nominees (in the best picture category – not every category) before the Oscars.  I’ve been getting updates since the list came out of what she’s seen.  She has a pretty good track record; most years she manages to see them all by the time of the ceremony.

I’m the opposite, since I rarely go to the movies. In fact, this year, I have only seen one nominee – Klaus, an animated Christmas film which I didn’t have to leave the house to see as it was a Netflix release (it was very good).  Reviews are not usually worth my notice; if I want to see something, I see it, not matter what the reviewers say.  I can’t ever recall a time when I left a movie screening saying “gosh, I should have listened to the reviews.”

Every now and then I do look, including the Doctor Doolittle reviews this month.  There is always a certain amount of trepidation on my part when Hollywood decides to tackle a beloved book, especially a beloved children’s book.  I’ve seen the trailers and I know that the movie bears very little resemblance to the book.  While I can’t stomach this in, say, Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books of all time), it may not be a deal breaker for Doctor Doolittle or even Little Women.  Both have been made into movies multiples times so I feel like the water is already completely muddied.  The newest Doolittle venture has not gotten great reviews but I don’t think that will stop me.  Dare I admit that Robert Downey Jr. is the main reason I will probably go see this movie this weekend?

Do you have an actor/actress who will entice you to see a film? Or one who will keep you out of the movie theatre?