Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2018

Archive for the category “Television”

Throwback Thursday from September 2015 – “Don’t Panic! OK, Go Ahead – Panic!!”

Throwback Thursday from September 2015 – “Don’t Panic! OK, Go Ahead – Panic!!”

 

THERE ARE SOME THINGS that Mankind should just not tinker with – Forces ofgiphy-6Nature that, if disturbed, can have cataclysmic repercussions. It is foolish to think that you can control the weather or the motion of the planets. We have tried to go against Nature with things like The Designated Hitter in Baseball or continuing to bankroll Adam Sandler movies and the results have been appalling.

This morning it happened again. I got up, abluted, dressed, made tea for my wife, the lovely and sound asleep, Dawn, and then I headed off to St. Arbucks. When the young barista handed me my coffee she said something that chilled my soul.

“The Power Company has to work on the transformer on the pole outside, so we are going to be without power. We will be closed for about a half hour.”

“When, for God’s sake? When?” I asked her calmly.

“In about three minutes.”

Why not just try to reverse the rotation of the earth like Superman or rewrite the first season of “Sherlock”? Empty the fish bowl and tell the goldfish to chill out for a half hour. Mess with Texas.

There are some things you just don’t do! Don’t spring things like that on me.

With no other choice I skulked back to the car. I sat there as the lights winked out and a poorly written sign was taped to the door. I sat there and sucked on my straw. It helped me to not hyperventilate.

I had my first coffee. I would survive as long as I didn’t panic-sip and “Empty the Venti.” But what about those other poor souls who didn’t get there on time? I sat there in the car and watched a procession of vehicles pull into the Drive-Thru Lane only to see another sign saying, “Closed. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

Well, maybe it just said, “Closed for thirty minutes. Sorry,” but after seeing the word “Closed” the rest of it must have looked like a death threat.

In just five minutes I saw about 40 cars and trucks pull in expectantly, and then leave looking dejected and desperate. It was more than I could take.

In an effort to save myself I took emergency measures – I went across the parking lot to Kroger’s and did some shopping. I needed some distraction. I took my coffee with me. I wasn’t going to leave it, visible and unguarded, in the car.

When I had made my pedometer click enough, I “self-checkout-ed” and slowly approached St. Arbucks from the rear. It had been thirty minutes at least. It felt like a week chained to a prison TV showing only Benny Hinn.

The lights were still out. “And darkness came over the whole land.” – Mark 15:33.

It was then I remembered that I had received a call from my pharmacy telling me that they had a prescription refill ready for me. Never was I so happy to get more meds to swallow. I have downed enough Potassium Chloride to perform a dozen lethal injections. And now I was going to pick up another month’s supply. Oh, Happy Day!

This time when I returned to St. Arbucks I could see from a distance that THERE WAS LIGHT, and parked cars, and a long line in the Drive-Thru Lane. Life as we know it had returned.

I wept a little.

I took my last sip from my original coffee and went inside to claim my refill. It was Ambrosia. It was Nectar of the Gods. It was Iced Coffee, a splash of cream, but unsweetened – the way Nature intended.

I wish that they had posted a warning about this shutdown a week or so ahead of time. I could have prepared myself – driven to the Auxiliary Chapel in the south end of town, or taken a sleeping pill to just miss the whole thing.

Plans are already being made to deal with a scheduled two-week shutdown in November when they close for remodeling. So far, the best option for that time is a two week sabbatical to Seattle.

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Throwback Thursday from September 2015 –”Downwind Of Upstage Is No Place To Be”

Throwback Thursday from September 2015 –”Downwind Of Upstage Is No Place To Be” 

 

 

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THERE IS A GOOD REASON my wife, the lovely and unfailingly perceptive, Dawn, calls my trips to St. Arbucks, along with, “The Usual Suspects,” my “Play Group.” I admit that there are some days when the maturity level drops below Pre-School closing in on Pre-Natal.

For several days now the main topic of conversation among the group has centered on the television western series, “Gunsmoke.” This show hasn’t been on the air since 1975. Why this has become important enough to warrant two days of conversation is unknown.

I understand the lure of nostalgia – the being able to share common memories with contemporaries who are now getting along in years. What I can’t understand is why it has become necessary to dramatize scenes from the show – right there in the corner of the coffee joint. It mystifies me and I think it scares some of the staff and other customers.

The conversation seemed to center around one character on the show: “Chester Good” – portrayed by Dennis Weaver, a mediocre actor at best.

“Chester” was the Deputy to Marshall Matt Dillon, played by James Arness and irrelevant to this discussion.

The character of “Chester” was disabled on the show. His character was gunned down in an early episode and for the rest of his time on the show he ran around with one leg, unbending, and stiff as a pool cue.

Week after week he would scuttle around, getting in over his head with the local bad guys. He would then run, after a fashion – stiff leg swinging out like the line on a weed eater, and yelling, “Mr. Dillon, Mr. Dillon, come quick.” Not exactly a showcase for Mr. Weaver’s acting chops, but it paid the bills.

How all of this was remembered by The Usual Suspects in 2015 is where things got dicey.

After describing “Chester” and his “mobility issues” it was determined by one Suspect that more was needed to illustrate his point (Whatever it was). He also thought that it would help if he performed Chester’s lines, but his recollection veered a bit from reality.

The Suspect hauled himself out of his chair and began to stiff-leg it across the floor. Then his dialogue came out, loud enough to reach the back row at the Hollywood Bowl.

“Holy Sh**, Mr. Dillon. Come quick. Holy Sh**!

It was at this point that I tried to hide under a table. I’m positive that “Chester” never said that on network television – ever.

This breach of nostalgia etiquette had the other Suspects trying to force him back in his chair.

“Sit down! You’re going to get us all thrown out of here!”

I peeked around and all of the baristas and other coffee drinkers looked like prairie dogs – alert with eyes wide open, wondering what was happening. Was the big guy with the bad leg going Postal? Was he a threat or merely nuts?

The answer to that particular question was: All of the above. But I’m not being judgmental.

Now, all of this could be written off as a quirky, one-time event, like Ross Perot or World War Two, except that there was an encore performance the next day.

When I arrived on the scene this “Faux Chester” was already wound up like a Joy Buzzer and moments later he was off and running, albeit with a significant limp. I was still near the door, so I just sidled over toward the recycling bin and pretended to be checking that things were being sorted properly.

If this was going to be a daily performance, I told him, he was going to have to join the Actors’ Equity labor union. It was either that or he was going to be hauled off for a 72 hour observation at the Bubble Factory. Personally, I’m voting for the 72 hour gig.

Most days at St. Arbucks are quiet, contemplative even, but this week it was more like being trapped inside bad Community Theater.

I Love Television

I LOVE TELEVISION. It entertains me. It educates me. It enrages me. It wakes me up. It puts me to sleep. It’s a lot like most people I know.

My personal memory of Television goes back to 1952 or thereabouts. That was when my father came home with our first television set. It was a Philco brand with a 12 inch screen. Everything was in black and white and we had a whopping three channels to pick from.

It didn’t matter which channel you watched they were all pretty much the same – Old movies, Cartoons, News, Kids Shows, and Wrestling. Lots of Wrestling.

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Unlimited Possibilities?

 

TELEVISION. IT’S A MIRACLE. IT’S A CURSE. I love it. I hate it. But one thing I don’t do is hook up all of the equipment and cables.

My wife, the lovely and electronically wizardlike, Dawn, does all of that.

That’s OK by me. She is good at it, enjoys deciphering the gobbledegook instructions, and she doesn’t burst into flames like I do in situations like that.

Our Cable TV System – They call themselves “Spectrum” now, which doesn’t mean or accomplish anything other than help people forget that they used to be “Time-Warner,” decided to upgrade their system to “All Digital.” To be honest – I thought they did that several years ago, but what do I know?

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Throwback Thursday from July 2015 – “Randall The Candle”

Throwback Thursday from July 2015 – “Randall The Candle”

 

 

Randall The Candle

candleIN 1997 THERE WAS AN EPISODE of “Law And Order” (An American Cops and Robbers TV show set in New York City) that had a character, an arsonist, who went by the moniker of “Randall the Candle.”

Cut to 2015 in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Change the battery in your smoke alarm.”) and a conversation with one of the “Usual Suspects” during services at the Chapel of St. Arbucks.

The “Suspect” – a former resident of New York City and the son of an NYPD Detective and I were discussing the recent fire at a café across the street from St. Arbucks that destroyed the place within 24 hours of their “Grand Opening.” He hinted that it looked a little suspicious and that maybe “Randall the Candle” was in town.

Egads!

Further interrogation uncovered one of those “Art imitating Life” things. According to the Usual Suspect seated in the chair across from me – Randall the Candle was a real person, and an arsonist, and an off-the-books consultant for the NYPD about fires of a “suspicious nature.”

I do not find this to be at all beyond belief because every writer I know borrows from real life in every paragraph and a character called “Randall the Candle” is too good to pass up. If he didn’t exist you would have to create him.

Given the timeline of the TV show and the youthful remembrances of my cohort in coffee, I would guess that “Randall” is long gone to that Great Tinder Box in the Sky.” He isn’t still alive to file any lawsuits over using his colorful nickname. Even if he was around to make a play for some cash – any court action would almost certainly result in him admitting to a long career in crime and that would then open up a whole new set of fertilizer hitting the fan issues.

It seems that in real life, rather than “reel life,” Randall the Candle was a man who worked on both sides of the Law. For the right price he would light up your life and/or your warehouse in such a manner that your insurance company would have to pay off. He was a Capital P Professional.

But as active as he was, Randall wasn’t the only game in town and he did not like competition – especially “small p” professional arsonists who did sloppy work. It was sort of like a dishonest politician smearing the reputation of an honest —  wait, bad analogy there. There are no honest politicians. But you get my drift.

Randall the Candle would work with the police on cases of arson – helping them to identify how the job was done and often by whom. Arsonists, like most people, are creatures of habit and tend to repeat themselves – left sock, right sock, left shoe, right shoe, left incendiary device, right incendiary device.

In my own perverted literary way I am glad to learn that Randall the Candle actually existed. His whole story has a Damon Runyon-esque flavor to it. With a name like his, and a decent voice and sense of rhythm, he could easily have been a character in “Guys and Dolls.”

I can’t say that “they don’t make ‘em like Randall the Candle anymore.” I don’t know.   But I’ll bet you’d be hard pressed to find some jamoke with the moxie to play with the bacon and still run with his torch like Randall the Candle.

“The Thrill of Victory! The Agony of Defeat! The Problem of Where I Set My Beer!”

 

WE ARE NOW INTO THE BALMY DAYS OF SUMMER and the world of sports is in full bloom and then some.

The other night after a hearty workout of watching my SF Giants on TV I was just exhausted. It was quite a workout and my cardio goals had been achieved – I still had a cardio.

It was getting late as I crawled up the stairs and stumbled into bed. I flipped on the TV and, still feeling the Muse of Sports calling my name, I did my digital exercises and tuned the tube to ESPN.

I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

My timing was off by just a nanosecond or I would have been able to catch the broadcast of a major Pickle Ball tournament.

Pickle Ball = Tennis for the Pacemaker Set.

One of the regulars every morning at St. Arbucks is into Pickle Ball. He is 80 years old and a National Champion. I kid you not.

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The Royal Wedding

DID YOU STAY UP ALL NIGHT TO WATCH THE ROYAL WEDDING? I didn’t, but it was close. My wife, the lovely and seriously Royal Wedding-a-phile, Dawn, planned it all out. Up at 4 AM, a pot of tea, and comfortable chair. That and the TV and she was set. I was set too. At about 11 PM I was in my Lou Ferrigno Onesies and checking out for the duration. I was asleep before the first Fascinator showed up.

It’s not that I don’t care about the lovely couple and the wedding.

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Time After Time

TOO EARLY THE OTHER MORNING I was up and scampering about, unable to sleep. I had the TV tuned to TCM and watched a movie made back in 1979 – “Time After Time.”

“Time After Time” came out shortly after I’d moved to San Francisco. The movie was filmed there and it was fun to see places in town that I knew.

The storyline was about H.G. Wells, the author of “The Time Machine,” using his invention to chase after Jack the Ripper who had used Wells’ Time Machine to leap ahead in Time to modern day (1979) San Francisco. It was a fun little thriller of a movie, but I bring it up today because it got me to thinking – a dangerous activity even on a good and well rested day for me.

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Throwback Thursday from May 2015 – “Walk A Mile In Her…Nevermind”

Throwback Thursday from May 2015

 

Walk A Mile In Her…Nevermind

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ONE OF THOSE TRULY GREAT MOMENTS in Television history happened the other day.

On “The Price is Right” game show with Drew Carey a contestant won a prize that, chances are, she will not be using.

About ten years ago Ms. Danielle Perez was in an accident and lost both legs. She has used a wheelchair since then and has continued on with her life.

When she attended the taping of the game show she was selected to be a contestant. If you look at the video at this link http://www.thewrap.com/the-price-is-right-awards-a-treadmill-to-a-wheelchair-bound-contestant-video/  you will see that she played the game and won! Her prizes were a sauna and a treadmill.

Immediately a large “hoo-haw” about this erupted on the internet, calling it a “Cringing moment,”  “Embarrassing,” and similar comments.

Cringing for whom? Embarrassing for whom? It wasn’t either for Ms. Perez. She seemed quite happy about it all.

Those “Cringing moment” comments come from those people who look at Ms. Perez and see only a wheelchair. They are “Embarrassed” for her. They think that Ms. Perez is the disability, not someone with a disability.

The Politically Correct Vultures began to circle overhead immediately making demands on the game show producers to give Ms. Perez special treatment. They demand that she be offered the value of the prize in cash, even though that is not a standard practice.

The “PC’ers” are “Outraged” about this whole thing, but they are always “Outraged” at everything. Some people collect stamps for a hobby, the PC’ers get “Outraged.”

I’ve read several stories about Ms. Perez and her new treadmill. She is a woman who has her head screwed on quite nicely. She thinks the whole thing is funny.

IT IS FUNNY!

Because Ms.Perez is not fitting into the PC Bigots stereotype I would expect that they will shortly turn on her and begin to call her names.

As you may have picked up by now: this posting is not so much about Ms. Perez and her new treadmill as it is about the twisted world of Political Correctness.

The acolytes on the PC altar pretend that they care more about people’s feelings than the rest of us. I suppose that in a way they do. Of course they care because they want to control how people feel and behave. For them it is all about power and control. PC is a weapon to be used to force their perceived enemies (anyone who isn’t them) to conform and act as they demand.

They are nothing more than the schoolyard bullies who want to dictate how you must live and think.

And if you don’t think they are in it to see what money they can extort, you are very much mistaken. It’s a Con Game.

Ms Perez ain’t buying into it. She is a thinking adult who refuses to be used as a crowbar to intimidate the PC’ers latest target.

Someone asked me, “What is she supposed to do with a treadmill?”

The basic answer is, of course, “Whatever she damn well pleases.”

She can refuse the prize. All prize winning contestants can do that.

She can take the treadmill and give it to a friend or family member.

She can sell the darned thing on Ebay if she wants.

She can donate the treadmill to the charity of her choice and get one very nice tax deduction because it would be valued at what the game show said – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price – which is usually higher than what it could be purchased for in a store.

Ms. Perez is going to do quite nicely, thank you.

I’m sorry if I come across as a bit caustic about this but I have had to deal with these idiots all my life. If it’s too much, don’t worry. You’ll get over it.

If you are “Outraged” – all I can say is

Bite Me.

***

Please tune in tomorrow for another chapter in our continuing soap opera, “Down The Hall On Your Left” brought to you by a couple cups of coffee and an attitude.

My Very Own Award Show

WE HAD THE OSCARS ON THE TV A FEW WEEKS AGO. I didn’t say that we actually watched it, just that we had it on the Tube. Of all the films nominated for an award I think we had seen…One. And I didn’t care for it all that much.

It is Springtime and we are hard into the Award Shows Season as well. Various Organizations and Industries are stumbling over themselves to put on a show of overwhelming Self-Congratulations. Heavy-Duty exercises are being done to facilitate better the patting of one’s own back.

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Throwback Thursday From March of 2015 – “Reality! What A Concept.”

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Throwback Thursday From March of 2015 –

“Reality! What A Concept.”

I heard something on TV last night that, at first, I thought was a gag, but after a minute or so, I realized was for real.

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Everybody Dance!

OK, LET ME BE COMPLETELY HONEST. I don’t do “Exercise.” My doctors, current and past, suggested, almost demanded, that I get myself into a regular program of exercise. There are just two parts to that which stop me cold.

“Regular”

“Exercise”

The “Program” part I’m cool with. I like Programs. I watch a Program or two almost every day. We have cable.

“My favorite exercise is a cross between a Lunge and a Crunch.

I call it Lunch.”

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“No Shirt, No Shoes, No Plastic – No Service.”

 

FOLLOWING UP ON THAT BLOGPOST OF A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO…

I heard an interesting bit of semi-news, semi-advertising this morning. On the morning news it was awkwardly disguised as a Business Report.

The heavily caffeinated executives in Seattle have announced that Starbucks (St. Arbucks to you and me) is going to convert one of its stores in the Great Northwest into a “Cashless Store.” What they mean by that is that all transactions will be handled by credits and debits – no green pieces of paper will change hands –unless they are advertisements or Hold Up Notes.

When I was growing up a “Cashless Store” was one that was going out of business.

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Beep! Beep!

I WOKE UP EARLY THIS MORNING. I’m still wearing my plastic semi-hockey mask to sleep in for a few more days and it’s not all that comfortable – so I was up at the crack of still dark outside.

The local morning news starts at 5:30 AM and, unless there was a big basketball game in the area, there is not much to talk about at that hour.

Today’s headline lead story was about coyotes.

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Let’s All Go To The Lobby

                       

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw91RJ_m_7g

SOME MORNINGS I SHOULD JUST ROLL OVER AND GO BACK TO SLEEP. Getting up too early can be traumatic, but it’s my own fault.

I have learned that in the wee hours of the morning the Classic Movie Channel shows things that stretch the veracity of the word “Classic” and defy everything except the technical definition of “Movie.” I watched a perfect an imperfect example of this a couple of weeks ago.

For some reason my eyes popped open at about 5 AM and by reflex I turned on the TV.

Big mistake.

On the Classic Movie Channel I have watched the greatest films ever made. On this morning I watched the worst. Why? Because, like Mt. Everest – it was there.

FANFARE!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

The Classic Movie Channel in cooperation with My Inability to Sleep

Presents

“The Wonderful World of Tupperware”

 

I kid you not.

 

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Throwback Thursday from Jan. 2016 – “What Is That Thing On His Head?”

Throwback Thursday from Jan. 2016 – “What Is That Thing On His Head?”

Lump1

As far back as I can remember I have had a lump on the back of my head. Not a lump like you might get from whacking your head on the door of a kitchen cabinet or from a high and inside fastball. No. My lump is more like a Crab Rangoon stuck under my skin.

“IT’S NAHT A TOOMAH.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Kindergarten Cop”

Lump2

What it is, is – a collection of fat and some obligatory blood vessels. So, I guess you could say that I am a medically certifiable Fathead. I’ve been called worse, today even.

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Looking For Quality

 

It may be the Christmas Season – Ho! Ho!, Ho! And all that. There may be mistletoe and holly, and oh, by gosh by golly, it’s time for something better than Hallmark Channel movies. Last night was such a time.

At my urging and only a year or more in the waiting, the TV was tuned to something different. Instead of sweetness and light the remote brought up the first of three seasons of “Mr. Robot.”

For those of you have never watched “Mr. Robot,” it is the story of a young Morphine addicted, delusional, and socially inept Computer Security wizard who lives in New York City and works for an IT Security company whose main client is, in his eyes, an International Monster.

How’s that for a setup?

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A View From The Corner

 

WHO NEEDS TELEVISION? Who needs movies? Who needs any form of traditional entertainment when you’ve got people walking around? Every day, free of charge, there is a non-stop parade of the Human Animal passing by in all its variety. I almost said, “Passing by in all its Glory,” but Glory is rare in humanity. Variety is a better word to describe the people I see every day.

People Watching is more fun than Movies or TV. With the actors on the screen, who are always good looking and mouthing someone else’s words, they are following a Director’s commands. Their moves are predictable and rarely surprising. However, the folks wandering in front of my astigmatic eyeballs are anything but predictable and continue to surprise me on a daily basis.

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It’s More Than The Weather

THERE MUST BE SOMETHING IN THE AIR. Are the planets out of kilter? Or maybe there is a bad batch of BBQ sauce going around?

This morning when I logged into Facebook to check in with a few folks I was greeted with a barrage of messages – all saying the same thing: “I couldn’t sleep last night.”

We had a nasty weather night here in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Your feet are cold.”) with lots of rain and falling temperatures. I figured that could be the cause, but those complaints came in from all over the country. Go figure.

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Two Worth Watching

LATELY WE – READ MY WIFE, THE LOVELY AND SIGNIFICANTLY TALENTED, DAWN, AND I – have been doing a lot of binge watching on those evenings when there are no Giants games on TV.

Our binging has had us plowing through four seasons of American History with “Turn – Washington’s Spies.”

“Turn” follows actual historical characters through the ups and downs of the American Revolution from the American and British viewpoints.

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