Back When TV Was Truly Refined

… After yesterday’s constant stream of sad news I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today.  

This is funny and sweet.  It’s a reminder of how smart + delightful television used to be.  So. Very. Calm.

I miss watching TV shows that were in black & white.  I miss seeing TV shows that don’t *flash* and *bang* all over the place.  I miss being entertained by TV shows that don’t try to impress me with their super hipness.

But mostly I miss the kind of innocence that allowed a pleasant “nobody” to outsmart a panel of curious “somebodies” by merely being herself.  With a smile.



[H/T to Maria Popova at Brain Pickings.  More info + other video clips here.]

[Unrelated to this video, but interesting to know, the contestant later wrote a memoir titled Look Back and Laugh.  Writers are everywhere, aren’t they?]

Realizing My Vision Without Flinging A Cow

I loved Northern Exposure when it was on TV.  One episode in particular, Burning Down The House, made a big impression on me.  I still think about it.

In it, Chris decides to “create a pure moment” by: 1) building a trebuchet, & 2) choosing the perfect cow to fling from it.

But his plan stalls when he realizes that: 1) there is “a certain wrongness” to the cow he has picked out, & 2) he cannot, in good conscience, fling a cow because it has been done before.  Which would make his cow flinging merely repetitive.  And not the perfect artistic experience that he longs for.

• • •

At first Chris is bummed that he won’t be able to create his pure moment but comes to realize that:  “I had to let go of that cow so I could see all the other possibilities.”

I still reflect on the idea of a certain wrongness to things.  And on how you often have to let go of any preconceived ideas in order for a new, better idea to manifest.

All this comes to mind as I write this last NaBloPoMo post.  I had a different idea of how this challenge was going to play out, so when I sensed a certain “wrongness” to it I almost gave up.  However, I hung around posting something every day– letting go of “that cow so I could see all the other possibilities.”

And as a result, I managed to complete NaBloPoMo.  And make a decision or two about how I’ll pursue my dreams in the future.

So with that last NaBloPoMo thought, I’ll leave you, my gentle readers, to watch what might be the best– the most absurd– the most unexpected three minutes in all of Northern Exposure.  And that’s saying something.


• • •

“The thing I learned folks, this is absolutely key:

It’s not the thing you fling. It’s the fling itself.

Let’s fling something, Cicely!”

~ Chris, Northern Exposure

Three Changes I’ve Made During The 2012 Presidential Election Campaign

1.  I’ve started watching CBS news.  I used to watch ABC, but our local affiliate could not shut up about the national election.  It was weird.

So I clicked over onto CBS and discovered that our local affiliate talked about [get this] local news & weather & traffic.  And that CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose, Gayle King & Norah O’Donnell is a delight.  No sales pitches. No silliness. No crowds of onlookers.  Just [get this] news & intelligent discussion & quiet humor.

In other words, my kind of people.

2.  I decided to boycott a business because this small, local business put up way too many political signs in front of its store.  While it is a right for any business to do this, it is also my right to stop frequenting an establishment because of it.  There are consequences for extreme partisanship– and one is the loss of customers who believe that politics is a personal matter, not part of a business plan.

[In fairness, I cannot take credit for this idea.  A friend pointed out to me that she had stopped going to her doctor because this doctor had become so blatantly political outside & inside her practice, that my friend walked away from the practice.]

There is a time & place for all things.

3.  I have learned to drive more slowly and with much more awareness.  Those darned lawn signs obscure who or what might be darting out from behind them.  Small children & pets are drawn to those signs, and more than once I’ve hit the brakes while driving through suburbia because I’ve noticed suspicious movement around the signs.

I understand that to many people political signs are a right… a need… an important way to make a difference.  So if you do put them out in front of your property, please consider putting them up close to your house instead of by the street.  I know they’ll be less visible, but doing such might avert a horrible accident.

Just saying, no offense intended…

Even Though I Make No Sense Doesn’t Mean That I’m Not Right

A glimpse into a marriage…

Mr. Man has a habit of not shutting the blinds on the windows in the bathroom before he gets naked and showers.  In the summertime when the leaves are on the trees and the mornings are bright & sunny, this is okay.  But now that the trees are losing leaves and the mornings are dark, he is on display when he gets ready to shower.

I don’t like this and I told him so.  In uncertain terms.  That made sense to me before I said them to him.

– – • – –

ME:  You can’t stand in the bathroom in the morning with the blinds open.

Him:  Huh?

ME:  Someone could see you.

Him:  Who?

ME:  Someone out for a walk in the early morning… on the street behind us… who looked through the trees and saw you in the bathroom.

Him:  Who would that be?  It’s a private drive back there.  And someone out there can’t see through the trees, across the ravine and up this high to our second floor window.

ME:  But they might have a camera with a telescopic lens– and then they could see you.  Clearly.

Him:  Not likely.  The only creatures who can see me are the squirrels in the trees back there.

ME:  Well, that’s not good.  You don’t want that, right?

Him:  I don’t give a [insert curse word of your choice] if squirrels see me naked.

ME:  Well, well… there could be a sniper back there with a rifle and he could see you… if he was in the neighbor’s second floor bedroom… through their window.  With a gun.

Him:  HUH?!!

ME:  And he could shoot you because you’d be a clear shot.  YOU DON’T WANT THAT, DO YOU?


ME:  Well, there could be.  And then I’d be a widow all because you couldn’t be bothered to shut the blinds.

Him:  Where do you get this stuff?

ME:  It could happen.

Him:  No way.  How did the sniper get into the neighbor’s house anyway?  Or are you saying that our neighbors are snipers?  Like that Mr. & Mrs. Smith movie?

ME:  No, of course not.  Our neighbors aren’t assassins.  DON’T. BE. SILLY.  I got the idea from all the NCIS reruns… that you make me watch.

Him:  THAT I MAKE YOU WATCH?  How do I make you watch them?

ME:  You put them on the TV and then I see them… and begin thinking about what could happen if someone saw you naked in the morning getting ready to take a shower.

Him:  That’s what you get from watching NCIS?  That someone might shoot me?

ME:  Yes it is.  So just shut the [insert curse word of your choice] blinds before you get undressed.  OK?

Him:  Sure.  All you had to do is ask.

In Which My Life Resembles An Episode Of Glee Without The Music


I saw who it was on the phone before I picked it up.  I knew that the monologue conversation would be long and twisted.  Still, deep down, I like X, so I said “hello.”

[Here’s the cast of characters.]

X is a woman who I’ve known for some time.  She knows lots of information about issues such as politics, books, and real estate– which is good.   But she is someone who, by her own admission, likes to stir the drink when interacting with other people.  This I would describe as bad.

X had called to tell me gossip on Z.  As I have only met Z once, all I can tell you about him is that he seems nice and has curly hair.  I’m not really too interested in knowing more about this guy, but that didn’t stop X.  She had a story to tell.


And it involved Y.  Now Y I’ve known for a very long time and she suffers from the disease to please.  She doesn’t seem to have much backbone of her own– so she is a perfect pawn for X.

[It was at this point in the conversation, when I heard Y’s name mentioned, that I sat down at the island in our kitchen and laid my head down on the cool granite countertop, knowing that this was going be a lengthy chat.]  

So come to find out, X had obtained her gossip about Z by getting Y to sneak around on Facebook.  X had convinced Y to leave “noncommittal comments” on various individual’s FB walls so that those people would respond to Y– and tell her what they knew about Z.  Apparently X’s master plan had worked, because Y had found out the gossip about Z.  And then being Y, she dutifully reported back to X.


[You have no idea what a good communicator I am.  I have just condensed 20 minutes of dithery-ness into one succinct paragraph.  Maybe Journalism 101 was more useful to me than I previously thought.]

All of which brings me to what floated through my mind after I hung up the phone with X.  And it is this:

“Oh my goodness, I’ve just experienced an episode of Glee in which Sue Sylvester [X] gets one of the Cheerios, probably Brittany [Y], to spy on Will Schuester [Z] and to report back to Sue with the latest news [gossip].  Then Sue, feeling proud of herself, brags to Emma Pillsbury about what has just happened.”

Which means that, continuing this line of reasoning, I’m Emma Pillsbury!  Guidance counselor.  OCD sufferer.  Total flake.

And you know what?  As much as I understand Emma and her problems, I don’t like playing that role.  In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say that the next time when X calls, I’m not picking up the phone.  Let someone else be cast as Emma.  The role is just too much for me.  😉


[All images via glee wiki.]

Those Were The Days. Not.

“Boy, the way Glenn Miller played…”

I’ve had the theme song from All In The Family trapped in my head for the last few days.  Most unpleasant.  I’m not entirely sure how the song got there.  I haven’t been watching much TV besides reruns of The Big Bang Theory— which are on a hip channel that is the antithesis of a nostalgic channel that’d be showing Archie & Edith.

So I don’t think that I’ve seen any commercials that would have put that song into my head.  Wonder where it came from?

“Guys like us, we had it made…”

I never really liked All In The Family when I first saw it on TV.  I understood that Archie was a reactionary, selfish male.  I got that Edith was a doormat who never stood up for herself due to some misguided sense of duty toward Archie.  And I realized that Gloria, in her attempts to help her mother, was locked in an never-ending battle with her father.

“Didn’t need no welfare state…”

But the satire of the show was lost on me.  In fact it wasn’t until a few years ago that it dawned on me that some people weren’t laughing at Archie.  That instead, some people were laughing with Archie.  I have my FIL to thank for that revelation.

“Gee, our old LaSalle ran great…”

I couldn’t tell you when I last saw an episode of All In The Family.  I imagine that if I saw it now, I’d probably get the two-sided humor and enjoy it.  I’m older, wiser, and much more open to different points of view– as happens when you mature and are comfortable with who you are.  So the satire might appeal to me now.

“And you knew who you were then…”

But, quite frankly, with all the political nonsense that is going on in the USA now, I don’t think that I’m up to watching yet another old white male pontificate on things that he knows nothing about.  My patience for such rhetoric, humorous as it can sometimes be, is all used up.

“Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again…”

Which, now that I think about it, might explain why this theme song has infiltrated my brain.  Discourse during these last few weeks, to put it politely, has involved way too much looking backward and not enough going forward.  Reminding me, and any woman who can think for herself, that trapped in the past is no way to live.

Don’t fool yourself, those weren’t the days.


“Those Were The Days”
by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse

Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
Didn’t need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days.
Take a little Sunday spin, go to watch the Dodgers win.
Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin.
Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
I don’t know just what went wrong. Those Were The Days.



The Lighter Side Of Marital Miscommunication

We were watching a football game on TV.  And by we were watching I mean Zen-Den was watching the football game and commercials, while I was looking through a stack of home decor catalogues… and aware that a game was on TV.

In one of the catalogues I saw an outdoor small table with two chairs that at first struck me as something that we might want.  The table and chair were made of metal but looked like twigs had been put together in such a way as to create a table and chairs.  Very chic.  I thought that they might work on our deck over against one wall for me to use at noontime when I’m eating lunch by myself.

So I started to show Z-D the photo of the small table with two chairs, but in mid-show I decided that I didn’t like the table and two chairs after all.

Z-D wasn’t really paying much attention to what I was doing.  No surprise there.  Instead he was staring at a commercial for Cialis— and as with all commercials for Cialis the serious male announcer voice was telling us very important information.

TV commercial:  “Blah, blah, blah… When the moment is right, will you be ready?”

Me, referring to the photo in the catalogue:  “That’d make nervous if I had to look at it very much.”

Z-D, thinking that I’m watching the TV commercial:  “Why?”

Me, staring at the photo:  “Because pieces of it stick out funny.”

Z-D, still thinking that I’m talking about the topic of the TV commercial:  “Why would you care about that?  That’s not your problem.”

Me, getting ready to turn the page in the catalogue:  “Because I’d have to sit on it and that’d be uncomfortable.”

Z-D, finally paying attention to me:  “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”

Me, handing him the catalogue with the photo:  “This chair that looks like it’s made of twigs.  Why?  What’d you think I was talking about?”

Z-D, dissolving into laughter: “The commercial on TV for ED.  I thought you were watching it.”

Me, indignant then realizing what I’d just said:  “No, of course I wasn’t watching that… HEY WAIT A MINUTE.  You thought I was talking about THAT?”

Z-D, staring at me in amazement:  “Yep.  And you were darned funny, too.”