Points of Ponderation…..Episode 8.17

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

 

I was never an avid viewer of Tim Allen’s popular TV series Home Improvement, which aired on ABC back in the 90’s. If my memory is correct I believe Frasier (which I adored) was on at the same time, and neither DVR nor streaming video were a thing yet. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed Allen’s movies a little more, especially the Toy Story and Santa Clause films. When his second television show, Last Man Standing, debuted in 2011 I didn’t pay much attention, but it has slowly grown on me over the course of time. As a diehard conservative I am aware of and sensitive to liberal bias in media & entertainment, which exists whether one chooses to acknowledge it or not. Having said that, I do believe that multiple factors led to the recent cancellation of Last Man Standing. I’m a big sports fan and compare Last Man Standing to an offensive lineman that gets drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round, plays a decade in the NFL, doesn’t make any All-Star teams or get to a Super Bowl, but always holds onto his starting job and plays the position at a high level before quietly being cut by a team facing salary cap issues. Shows like The Big Bang Theory (love it) or The Walking Dead (never watch it) are like the star quarterback who gets all the glory & good PR. They create revenue for ownership and therefore enjoy a long lifespan. Conversely, shows like Last Man Standing are good but not great, so when it begins to get a bit too expensive its spot is given to a younger, cheaper alternative that might perform just as well. Do I believe that politics played a part in the show’s demise?? I can’t help but think that it was a contributing factor. Maybe if pop culture & the Hollywood left weren’t riding an anti-Trump wave Last Man Standing would have survived another season or two. At the very least it could have been moved to a different night. The fact that it was stuck in the traditional sitcom graveyard of Friday night indicates that it was never one of ABC’s top priorities. However, in a larger sense I think Last Man Standing is just one of hundreds of shows in the history of television that were slightly above average…good, but not good enough…and ended their run after 3-7 years. It is what it is, and it’s really not worth getting too worked up about.

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I just look around my kitchen at the embarrassment of riches in my stocked pantry, full refrigerator, & packed freezer and it hits me how blessed I am in so many ways.

 

 

 



 

Speaking of ABC…

I have mixed feelings about the announced revival of American Idol. I ignored the show during its first season on Fox in 2002, until the finale in which Kelly Clarkson beat out Justin Guarini to claim the original crown. After that I was hooked for awhile, but for a number of reasons began to disengage and hardly watched at all during its final few seasons. Now, just a year after leaving, American Idol is coming back. I always suspected that it would return since it is precisely the kind of television show that can easily go away then be resuscitated. However, my gut tells me that it’s too soon, that we haven’t had time to really miss it yet or view it thru the prism of nostalgia, an angle that has led to second lives for many movies & TV shows in the past decade or two. There’s a fine line between tweaking a successful formula and tinkering unnecessarily, a difference that can be blurred more easily with the passage of time. It is rumored that Clarkson will be one of the judges, which is poetic. There are a plethora of semi-successful singers whose main claim to fame traces back to being an Idol contestant that could serve as judges and satisfy wistful cravings for those halcyon days. Another name that has officially signed on is Katy Perry, which, in my humble opinion, is a terrible choice. Idol always teetered on the edge of cool factor vs. credibility as far as judges go, with some working out better than others. If it were me I’d skew toward gravitas, which would necessitate not catering to millennials whose musical palates are decidedly unsophisticated. One constant will be host Ryan Seacrest, who may be a tool but is undoubtedly perfect for this particular gig. As much as I hate to say it, he really is like a modern day Dick Clark, with maybe a little Regis Philbin thrown into the mix.

 

 

 

 

 

Though I don’t actively engage in sociopolitical debates on social media anymore I still…lurk. Or observe. Or maybe you prefer the term troll. At any rate, I have been pleasantly surprised at my level of self-control when coming across utter stupidity & ridiculousness, which is basically almost every day. For example, a friend of mine recently posted a query asking why anyone is still out there defending “Four Five”, which is his lame nickname for Donald Trump (if I have to explain the moniker then just please leave immediately). His gaggle of sycophants responded heartily and with their usual level of hypocrisy. I could have easily written a cogent, logical, & concise response, but it would have ended up with me being attacked by people who don’t even know me, ridiculing my physical appearance and any other criteria they could glean from my Facebook page. Been there done that…these are not nice people, and obviously they aren’t capable of critical thought or intelligent debate. What I found really interesting in this particular thread was a comment from a person complaining about how others are always calling them names like “snowflake” or “libtard”, yet in the same thread those with whom these folks disagree (like me) are referred to as mean, hateful, & mentally ill. One egregiously despicable woman referred to a 90 year old relative of hers as “spiteful, racist, horribly rude, & obnoxious”. This elderly lady allegedly “always has something ugly to say about everyone” and is “a misery to be around”. The poster “literally wants to cut my own throat to end the pain of being near her” (her, you’ll remember, being a 90 year old woman). And yet these are the folks who are offended by being called a snowflake. I wish I could say something witty and caustic, but I am honestly at a loss for words and filled with sadness for humanity.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 3.16

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

So I guess the finale of the farewell season of American Idol has come & gone. I had planned on watching the last season just forAmerican-Idol old times’ sake, but that simply didn’t happen. My Idol viewership was hit & miss at best over the years, but like a lot of other folks I began to lose interest awhile ago, especially when turnover at the judges’ table started to be a bit much. As annoying as they could be at times, the lineup of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, & Randy Jackson had chemistry that was never as enjoyable with additions like Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and the last group of J-Lo, Keith Urban, & Harry Connick Jr. It didn’t help that the only two winners since 2007 that even came close to moving the needle for longer than 5 minutes were Jordin Sparks & Phillip Phillips…and I’m being rather generous to them. I suppose it’s possible that I’m just old, out-of-touch, & stuck in my ways, no longer within the target demographic that typically enjoys a show like American Idol.  I know what kind of music I enjoy & what performers I prefer, and that is unlikely to be impacted by the winner of a reality show who fades into oblivion not long after their made-for-TV victory. Having said all that, it is undeniable that for a brief moment in time American Idol was a pop culture phenomenon that gave us memorable stars like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Katherine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, & Jennifer Hudson. One could even throw Cowell and Ryan Seacrest into that mix, although it is possible they may have found another launching pad to fame & fortune had Idol never existed. At any rate, a fond farewell to American Idol. Maybe we’ll see you again someday.

 

nc2There has been much controversy swirling about HB2, aka the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, that was recently passed in North Carolina. Essentially the bill…as I understand it…maintains the status quo and prohibits any special privileges for “the LGBT community”, especially “transgender” individuals seeking the right to use public bathrooms based on the sex with which they “identify” rather than what biology dictates. Bruce Springsteen is angry. Jimmy Buffett is as upset as a pothead gets. The NFL is unhappy. Everybody is throwing their weight around one way or another about the situation. I briefly pondered in-depth pontification on the issue, but I have decided it’s not worth my time or aggravation. I have my opinions. I know right vs. wrong. However I have been doing my best to back off certain hot button topics. I’ll live my life and let others live theirs. But let me offer one quick opinion. If this law stands (which is uncertain at best), I predict that in the next decade the state of North Carolina will experience faster economic & population growth than anywhere in the country. You heard it here first.

 

oj2Did you watch the recently concluded ten part miniseries American Crime Story: The People oj3vs. O.J. Simpson?? I had very low expectations at the outset and was prepared for a tacky yet entertaining cheesefest of epic proportions. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by the writing and superb performances. How much of what was on my TV screen accurately reflected real life events?? Did attorney Robert Kardashian (sympathetically portrayed by former Friends star David Schwimmer) really have doubts about OJ’s innocence?? Is attorney Robert Shapiro (portrayed by the legendary John Travolta) really that much of an arrogant weirdo?? Did Marcia Clark & Christopher Darden really almost get it on?? I don’t know and neither do you, but who cares?? The show was fantastic and should end up winning multiple Emmys (especially for Sarah Paulson as Clark and Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran). It is fascinating to think about how different things might have turned out had LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman not been involved in the case or if those infamous gloves (if they don’t fit you must acquit!!) hadn’t been introduced as evidence. Cochran’s strategy to utilize the “race card” may have been morally questionable and sort of a straw man argument, but it turned out to be brilliant. Clark & Darden were seemingly solid lawyers who just got outmaneuvered by more devious opponents. The really sad part of the equation from my perspective is the jury. Everyone involved expected them to deliberate for weeks…maybe even months. Instead they returned a verdict in just a few hours. The American system of justice is the best in the world and provides an opportunity for a defendant to be judged by a jury of his/her peers…but what if those “peers” aren’t up to the task?? O.J. Simpson benefitted from his celebrity and from a jury who was bored, tired, frustrated, easily manipulated by Cochran, & after a year in the courtroom just wanted to go home. That’s my take anyway…you’re mileage may vary.

 

The 2015 Sammy Awards didn’t happen because Your Humble Potentate of Profundity spent the last couple of months of 2015 inthumb a hospital. However, while doing some way too early prep work for this year’s presentation I took a look back at the 2014 Awards and was amazed. We hand out what I call The DB Cooper Award (For the Person Who Most Needs to Disappear). In 2014 there were 11 nominees. As of right now one of them retired from Congress, one acrimoniously departed from MSNBC, one had their reality show cancelled, and one is dead. Damn I’m good.

 

jfkI wasn’t quite as enamored with Hulu’s eight part adaptation of Stephen King’s 2011 novel 11/22/63 as I became of the OJ Simpson miniseries, but then again the book is so fantastic that it would have been darn near impossible to equal. Casting James Franco in the lead was a mistake in my opinion (I envisioned Josh Lucas in the role as I was reading the book), though it certainly wasn’t a fatal flaw. As with any book that is adapted into a film or TV series there were alterations & omissions, but nothing unforgivable. King’s works are notoriously difficult to translate from page to screen, but it was definitely a wise choice to make a miniseries instead of a feature film as was the original plan. All in all it was a solid effort, but it could have been far better.

Random Thoughts 7

“Edward E. Whitacre Jr. built AT&T Inc. into the biggest U.S. provider of telephone service over a 43-year-career. By his own admission, he becomes chairman of General Motors Corp. knowing nothing about the auto industry. “I don’t know anything about cars,” Whitacre, 67, said in an interview after his appointment.” Well that’s comforting.

 

It’s become clear that the only thing that Dale Earnhardt Jr. shares with his legendary late father is the name. Little of the talent, toughness, and skill were passed on, no matter how much others are blamed and made to fall on the sword.

 

After more than three decades I’ve finally developed an affinity for popcorn.

 

Despite the fact that he’s a raging lib, I actually enjoy Bill Maher’s show. I don’t agree with the guy but he’s funny. However on a recent episode he and his panel were seriously lamenting the fact that, in their opinions, President Hussein Obama seems to be holding back. Essentially they were calling for him to be more radical. It was stunning.

 

Bret Favre needs to just let it go.

 

I was having a bad day recently and made the mistake of making it known in a public forum. One response was a call for “tough love”. I don’t understand that logic. Someone is down in the dumps and the prescription is to be harsh to them, to get their attention and get them to snap out of it?? I get the concept in certain situations…..if the person is a drug addict or criminal or is exhibiting some other form of destructive behavior. But it’s quite an inappropriate reaction when the person is legitimately depressed. All it did was make me angry and feel worse.

 

American Idol runner up Adam Lambert has come out of the closet. What a shock. Somewhere Ryan Seacrest just passed out.

 

Which reminds me….In response to a Facebook survey question on gay marriage I quoted scripture (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, Romans 1:26-28) that clearly expresses God’s opinion on the subject. In return I was referred to (indirectly) as a “religioso” who’d “gone off my rocker”. That’s cool. That guy will be burning in Hell while I’m walking streets of gold wrapped in the loving embrace of my Father.

 

I really hope former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich makes a run for the White House in 2012. There was a time that I thought maybe Newt was better as a behind the scenes power broker, but now it seems as if he might be the unifying voice we need to properly articulate the cause of conservatism.

 

“Former sitcom star John Stamos confesses that he’s conceptualizing a Full House feature film. “I’m working on a movie idea, but it wouldn’t be us playing us,” he told us. “I’m not 100% sure, but it would probably take place in the first few years” of the 1987-95 series.The former “ER” doc votes for James Franco to reprise Stamos’ role as Jesse Katsopolis. “I see Steve Carell as Danny Tanner and Tracy Morgan as Joey Gladstone because he’s funny,” he added.” Let the countdown begin.

 

The Brownie Batter Blizzard at Dairy Queen is quite tasty.

 

Michelle Obama. You can take the girl outta the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto outta the girl.