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 tag “Television”

Throwback Thursday from July 2015 – “But Wait! There’s More!”

 

Throwback Thursday from July 2015 – “But Wait! There’s More

But Wait! There’s More!

infomercialI WAS SITTING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE the other morning, minding my own business and eating some grapes, when I turned on the TV and came in halfway through an Infomercial.

The format is always the same – one guy and one gal acting as if their conversation is completely ad libbed. Sure it is. These mini-dramas are scripted out by a team of advertising copy writers who try so hard to be creative. They fail every time. Most of the time these actors sound like they are just coming out from under heavy anesthesia.

I immediately recognized the guy part of the infomercial pair. That is his picture up top. I’m sure he came to Hollywood with the dream of being the next Spencer Tracy or Vin Diesel. Instead he has landed the plum role of “The Guy” in about 47 different infomercials over the years.

So much for Art.

In most of his infomercial gigs he portrays a guy who is mildly stupid and needs to be enlightened by “The Gal” about the earthshaking benefits of whatever trashy product they are selling. I can’t believe he is really that dense. If he was that thick between the ears he would never have survived so long. He would have been distracted by a shiny object and wandered out into traffic or died horribly in his own apartment because he ignored the warning to, “Don’t try this at home!”

He must be a better actor than I’m giving him credit for – or he has an off-screen helper who keeps him fed and away from potentially dangerous home appliances. I’m not sure.

My point being –

This poorly acted and written infomercial that I chanced to bump into while eating grapes, on July 16, 2015, was showcasing the ease, importance and beauty of Outdoor Christmas Lighting so I could turn our home from simply being a boring “baby poop yellow” into a neighborhood shocking light show that would scare the neighbor’s dogs and probably be visible from space.

This infomercial went a bit farther than most by having “unpaid testimonials from satisfied customers.”

They showed the exterior of a house that looked as if it was being invaded by Smallpox pustules that could crawl around over your siding at will. It was spooky.

When they interviewed a woman who claimed to be the home owner she seemed not only overjoyed, but seriously overdosed. Lord knows what she was seeing. She sang the praises of the lighting gizmo that did this to her house, exclaiming how much she enjoyed having strangers come down her street and drive slowly past her home. In most neighborhoods that kind of activity would generate phone calls to the Police.

To me it all looked like a prelude to a drive-by shooting.

OK, so this was just another infomercial for yet another product that I neither want, need or would take as a gift. I didn’t stop eating my grapes and I didn’t dial the toll free number at the bottom of my screen.

But wait! There’s more!

As I sat there watching this thing, that only needed Tap Dancing Zombies to make it worse, the one and only pertinent fact finally wormed its way to the surface of my consciousness:

It was July 16th for cryin’ out loud!

Why were these Morons of Marketing running this infomercial in the middle of Summer? It is 86 degrees outside, I’m wearing a Hawaiian Shirt and the dog next door is trying not to die from heat prostration.

Who in their right mind would be buying Christmas lights on July 16th?

Maybe the actor playing “The Guy?” He seems to be downright enthusiastic about the whole idea of turning his home into an eyesore. But, then again, he is getting paid to do this gig.

Now, this may seem callous, but here goes.

I hope that this actor’s parents are deceased. I say that because I hate to think that they would be watching this infomercial and have to endure the anguish of realizing that they paid a bloody fortune to send their boy to the Yale Drama School for four years and this infomercial is, very likely, the peak of his career. If they weren’t already deceased, seeing this infomercial might be enough to warrant the removal of any sharp objects from their home.

Their home – the one WITHOUT the friggin’ ugly Christmas lights infecting the neighborhood.

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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.

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

BET AWARDS '14 - Show

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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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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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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Would Somebody Explain That To Me.

OK, I HAVE JOINED THE RANKS OF MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE. I watched the season ending episode of “Game of Thrones” the other night. Now – will someone, anyone, tell me what in the heck that was all about?

Characters came and went… and came back again. Strange creatures and zombies were getting starring roles. Weddings turned into blood baths. That one I could relate to – you should have been to my Cousin Lulu’s wedding. The bride wore a Carhartt wedding gown.

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Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

SOME THINGS JUST NEVER SINK IN: The concept of a Beer Milkshake, Pauly Shore, People who believe that the earth is flat.

The Beer Milkshake is just not feasible without my gag reflex going into overdrive. Pauly Shore – I don’t know where to begin while sober, and the whole Flat Earth movement??? Well, maybe if I lived in Kansas, but…

Last night we were sitting around and my wife, the lovely and Tele-visually adventuresome, Dawn, had the TV remote in her hand. Somehow she located a program discussing the resurgence of the belief that the Earth is not a globe, but a disk whizzing through space like a Frisbee. My digestive tract slipped into Neutral and my brain into Reverse.

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Bad Juju

THERE MUST BE SOME BAD JUJU FLOATING IN THE AIR TODAY. Everybody seems to be complaining about something wherever I go. I’m getting my coffee and the person in front of me in line is moaning about the weather.

“It’s going to be hot all week. I don’t like hot weather. I just don’t like it.”

Well, Lady, it is summertime in the Midwest and it is supposed to be only 88° today and 93° tomorrow. I would call that warm, maybe bordering on hot, but it ain’t Death Valley.

See? Now she’s got me doing it. I’m complaining about her complaining.

 Bad juju.

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What, And Give Up Show Business?

WE ARE DOWN IN TEXAS FOR A SHORT VISIT. Not only is that a good thing in and of itself, but the weather is certainly better than up north – no snow and I’m actually going around clad in the season’s first outings for my Hawaiian shirts. I look like a tourist.

Another difference, whether we travel to Texas, Ireland, or wherever is local television. Local television outside of your major markets is where you can see careers beginning, careers flourishing, and careers ending – sometimes all within the span of a few days.

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Pack A Lunch

highway-sign-jpgSOME THINGS ARE JUST BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION. A fact can be as hard and cold as last week’s biscuits, but I still can’t easily slip it into place in my brain. I’m not stupid, despite testimony to the contrary. I’m just a skeptical sort who enjoys being persuaded.

What brings this to the front right now? Lemme tell you.

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Temporal Dyslexia

WE ARE NOW INTO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME AND I’M HOPEFUL. Technically speaking I lost an hour of sleep in the shift from Daylight Wasting Time or whatever it’s called. That change took place last Fall and even though I supposedly gained an hour all it did was screw up my life.

For years, decades even, my internal alarm clock woke me up at 7 AM. –Everyday. Each and every work day, Monday through Friday. It was a reliable alarm clock, even though it never did pick up on the trick that Weekends, Holidays, and Vacations didn’t require such diligence. I adjusted.

Everything cruised along as smooth as the sales pitch of a guy selling time-shares in Heaven…until last Fall.

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Something To Watch Out For

tv1FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS (AT LEAST) WE’VE HAD A MAJOR CHANGE take place in our television viewing habits. I think that this change has come about because of two things; Online services such as Netflix and Hulu among a number of others have begun to air some new and very creative programming. Just about everyone else has been wallowing in a Political Stew that has been tasteless, without any real meat, and triggering my gag reflex.

So, we were faced with a choice: Enjoy some new and excellent programs or endure sphincter clenching broadcast venom.

Not a difficult decision – let someone else watch all the stuff with zombies.

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Four Days In November

bf1NOVEMBER 22nd. To most people under the age of 60 this is just another day on the calendar. Another day lost in the buildup to Thanksgiving. To those of us over 60 this date is, and always will be November 22, 1963, a Friday – the day the President was killed.

I was a senior in high school.

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