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Archive for the ‘television’ Category

On July 20, 1969, this four-year-old kid from small-town Iowa knew something was up when his Dad came home from work early one morning to watch television.  In fact, with a quick glance down the neighborhood street, I would have noticed lots of cars parked in the driveway – with everyone inside staring at their black and whites.

“Because of what you have done, the Heavens have become a part of man.”

The flight of Apollo 11 served as a rebirth in the United States in many ways. And my four-year-old eyes watched not really knowing what I was seeing, but impressed that my Dad – who ran his own business and worked long arduous hours to keep it going – took time from his morning to watch TV. And we continued to watch for the next three days – whenever the networks fed us NASA’s grainy footage of the astronauts doing their business out in space. The first-ever landing on the Moon. Listening as Neil Armstrong voiced to the world his impressions as he stepped of the lunar module ladder onto the Moon’s surface. The Moon walks. The lift-off from the Moon and the splash landing.

It’s all very surreal, but there are images in my memory banks from 40 years ago and it’s something my kids read about without consideration to the sheer magnitude of what was happening. Six hundred million people on earth watched and read about those three days in the summer of ’69 and we’re still talking about it four decades later.

Without question, it was something else.

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Burn After Reading

Spoiler Alert:  This post has nothing to do with the Coen movie starring George Clooney and an all-star ensemble cast (although I plan to see that very movie sometime this weekend and will post a review following said viewing).

This post is about Mission Impossible, the TV series not the Tom Cruise movie series. Can you recall the theme song?

As a kid in the early ’70s, Peter Graves was the epitome of cool thanks to his stunts and acting prowess on Mission Impossible.  The series ran from 1966 – 1973 and captured that young male demographic with a frenzy, including me. There were many days when I would walk to elementary school humming that theme song. And who didn’t want to be Jim at recess.

“Your mission, if you choose to accept it, will no doubt put you in perilous danger. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.” And that tiny little reel-to-reel recorder always smoked and disintegrated in to molten plastic. What great special effects!

In short, Mission Impossible gave the phrase “burn after reading” its meaning. And since I’m a bit of a pyro nut, burning/self-destruction of any inanimate object seems like a good idea. It definitely sends warm fuzzies through my bones.

Now excuse me while I lull myself to sleep humming that theme song.

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Okay, here’s another song made popular by a DeBeers diamond television commercial.

Seems artists have figured out how to mass market themselves on the tails of major companies. Landon Pigg’s “Coffee Shop,” is a catchy little tune. Enjoy!

http://musicbox.sonybmg.com/videos/landon-pigg/falling-in-love-at-a-coffee-shop

Lyrics:

I think that possibly, maybe I’m fallin’ for you
Yes, there’s a chance that I’ve fallen quite hard over you
I’ve seen the paths that your eyes wander down
I wanna come to
I think that possibly, maybe I’m fallin’ for you

No one understands me quite like you do
Through all of the shadowy corners of me

I never knew just what it was
About this old coffee shop I love so much
All of the while I never knew

I think that possibly, maybe I’m fallin’ for you
Yes, there’s a chance that I’ve fallen quite hard over you
I’ve seen the waters that make your eyes shine
Now I’m shinin’ too
Because, oh because, I’ve fallen quite hard over you

If I didn’t know you, I’d rather not know
If I couldn’t have you, I’d rather be alone

I never knew just what it was
About this old coffee shop I love so much
All of the while I never knew
I never knew just what it was
About this old coffee shop I love so much
All of the while I never knew
All of the while
All of the while
It was you

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Where does the time go?

Friday found me at The Guthrie in Minneapolis taking in a play written by the late Wendy Wasserstein. “Third,” proved an excellent production and, as The Guthrie productions are known to do, left the audience with plenty to talk about afterwards. I’m always amazed at the caliber of theatre productions throughout the city. So, when my 17-year-old (who is purely theatre-hungry at her young age) opts to go with her pals to Duluth to see a play I scratch my head. There are, of course, various reasons to travel 150 miles to see a college production – the road trip and adventure being excuse enough. I chalk it up to that and recall my own experiences at that age – when my best friends piled in a car and drove six hours to see George Winston and Spyro Gyra at the Kool Jazz Festival right here in Minneapolis. Those are memory keeper moments.

Saturday was father/son day including a karate lesson (my son is a red belt), an oil change on the Mazda 6, and lunch at Culver’s. Culver’s Restaurant is known for its butter burger – something which I haven’t eaten for more than two years. The place does make a good chili, though, which has far fewer bad things loaded in it than a butter burger and basket of french fries.

And today was laundry day – which seemed to last ALL damn day. In between washing and drying, I did purchase and install a new light fixture. Naturally, the manufacturer failed to provide adequate instructions as well as all the needed parts. But after some loud, tourette-inspired swearing, I found a work around and managed the install without a return trip to the Home Depot. Light in Minnesota is such a valuable thing. And even though we gain an hour of daylight on March 9, it seems we can never have enough light during the dark, winter season.

Speaking of winter, it is back in the atmosphere again. Freezing rain turned to snow after the sun set making streets and roads just slippery enough to create havoc. As hurried as we are for spring to arrive, we have to temper that excitement with the simple fact that it’s only March 2 and we could easily have a good snow fall or two (or three) before the end of April.

CCI wrapped my Sunday with an episode of “Dirt,” featuring Courteney Cox. In “Dirt,” Cox plays Lucy Spiller, editor of the tabloid magazine. She is a manipulative, take-no-prisoners , ruthless, Type A personality who rules over a chaotic newsroom. Lucy is intimidating, cold and, most times, a straight-up bitch. Indeed, the FX Network’s show cuts across a wide swath of my interests including adult themes, Courteney Cox, tabloid editing, Courteney Cox, photography, Courteney Cox, and bizarre plot twists. Did I mention Courteney Cox?

Life could never be quite so enthralling or creative as those who create such original theatre scripts as “Third,” or television programs like “Dirt.” But, we can still create and direct ourselves.

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Did you notice how few words the Coen brothers had for the masses on the Oscars Sunday night?

Their movie, “No Country for Old Men,” (NCFOM) won four major awards including two directly attributable to the St. Paul St. Louis Park, Minn., writing duo who also won an Academy Award for their original work, “Fargo,” but they barely could get out a thank you to the millions watching the tome-length, dinosaur-ish awards show.

I’m a fan of Coen movies from the get go. “Raising Arizona,” “Fargo,” “O Brother Where Art Thou?” and NCFOM all could easily make my top 100 list of all-time favorite flicks. The brothers got game when it comes to adaptations of Cormac McCarthy’s novels or writing their own schtuff.

And apparently they still have a little Minnesota Modesty within them from their hometown roots, which keep them slightly bashful and soft spoken on the stage and in the lights of their peers (imagine giving an acceptance speech with Jack friggin’ Nicholson sitting 10 feet away from you). So saying a simple, “Thank You,” seems to fit quite well…even given their mighty success.

As for the Oscar production itself, the show’s host, John Stewart, did his best to keep it light but the pure length and boring productions make it impossible to really enjoy. And the songs nominated this year all blew chunks. The only real surprise of the night was Tilda Swinton’s best supporting actress award for her character in one of my favorite movies of the year, “Michael Clayton.” Swinton was humorous and charming accepting the award – which clearly surprised her as well.

Now I’m off to my first screen-writing class. Since the Coen’s have their mantel full of Oscar, I’ll let that Midwestern modesty work its magic on me.

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There’s a dust up of major proportions happening in Philadelphia’s local TV news market. Apparently, Alycia Lane, co-anchor at the CBS affiliate in Philly, traveled to NYC last weekend with her boyfriend. They proceeded to get drunk and, while taking a taxi early Sunday morning, had an altercation with two undercover police officers. Lane allegedly smacked a female officer in the face with her digital camera and called the NYC cop a f-ing dyke. Result: a night in jail, a felony charge for assaulting a police officer, and a two-week “early vacation” from her employer, CBS3.

It gets better.

ALaneSeems Lane has a little mental history of poor social behavior that isn’t quite normal for a typical, high-brow, high-profile television anchor. Last May, for example, she e-mailed photos of herself striking various poses in a bikini while on vacation to a “good friend” of hers. That good friend happens to be male and married. The man’s wife opened the e-mail and had a nice little e-mail exchange with Ms. Lane (who’s been divorced…twice).

Imagine KARE-11’s chief weather guru Belinda Jensen caught up in a row with the Minneapolis PD. Yeah. That’s a stretch. What’s different between the likes of Lane and our own local TV personalities is that those in Pennsylvania and New York City markets have no concept of what “Minnesota Nice” is all about. The City of Brotherly Love can’t keep a snarky TV anchor from throwing a hard right now and then. That, my friends, is good old-fashioned “Philadelphia F-U.” Still, one would think TV anchors would maintain their composure (even if drunk), especially when they’re away from their own back yards.

Just goes to show that while Lane may have the TV anchor look down pat, she’s the epitome of a talking head. Put her in public, throw a couple drinks down her gullet and she fast becomes the rough-around-the-edges, the-world-owes-me-everything New Yorker.

I hear the WWE is taking applications, Ms. Lane. Care to try on professional wrestling?

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Chris Matthews, host of CNBC’s “Hardball” program, may not be anyone’s favorite political pundit, but as a guest on “The Tonight Show,” Aug. 22, he explained in under five minutes his views on both Republican and Democrat options for president as well as what’s wrong with Bush and his love affair with the Iraq War.

C MatthewsMatthew’s picks for the Dem and Rep nominations for president are Hillary and Guiliani, respectively. He recommends people sit back, close their eyes and picture the first thing that comes to mind when you hear each candidate’s name. With Guiliani, he said people will see someone who takes charge (9/11/01 still carved into the minds’ eye).  With Clinton, he said the majority of women voters will see a female who can lead (I’m SO not convinced of this assessment of Clinton). But who votes in primaries and caucauses? Women!

As for the War in Iraq, Matthews says Bush and the current administration have “snookered” U.S. citizens from the onset. With the WMD search to today’s “surge” plans (which if it fails, Bush will only call for even more troops to be deployed to Iraq), this administration clearly has a penchant for engaging in fruitless matters.  Matthews said there’s no way to withdraw and no way to win in Iraq.

His appearance was enlightening and entertaining…as pundits go.

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