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I love Fall.  When I made my mad escape from Boston to Los Angeles, I could only think about how glorious it would be to never have to suffer through another Winter.  Sacrificing Fall was a casualty of that decision, but I had maintained for years that I would gladly give up Fall to not have to live through Winter.  My decision may have been hasty, but the Winter before I moved, a branch from the tree in our driveway broke off from the weight of the snow that covered it and landed on my car. So I’d had enough of Winter. But I misjudged how much I would miss Fall.

Perhaps my love of Autumn comes from having grown up in New England, because it really is one of the most beautiful times of year there.

Fall leaves are pretty!

The leaves change to gorgeous colors, the air is crisp, the Patriots are playing, you feel cozy in a sweater…all good stuff. Another reason for my affection comes from the fact that my birthday is at the beginning of October and my sister’s birthday is at the end of October. So, it was an especially joyous time of year in our house growing up because we kicked it off with birthday celebrations, and then went into Halloween, and then into the  holiday season.  We must have been exhausted by the time the new year rolled around, but I only ever remember it being the most fun time in our house.

There is also a certain New England-y aspect to fall that I get quite nostalgic for.  Apple picking was a huge activity for our family every year.  As an adult, I’m perplexed as to how we made an entire day out of it, because it takes, at most, an hour to fill a bag with apples.  But, the weather was usually lovely, the smell of apple orchards is intoxicating, and there are usually old fashioned, general stores at all of the orchards. These are probably the world’s biggest tourist traps, but my entire family are suckers for these things. Imagine pumpkins outside, wagons full of hay, scarecrows, and inside the store, Halloween decorations, gourmet foods, overly priced organic soaps…it’s fabulous.  Also, having an affinity towards apples in general makes me a fan of anything cooked with apples and cinnamon, most notably my mother’s apple pie and apple crisp. Apple crisp became such a favorite, that for the past ten or so years, if I am around her for my birthday, she will make me one instead of a birthday cake. It’s awesome.

Maybe it is the impending birthday, or the proclamation from my parents that they are going apple picking with my

This lady is supposed to be the personification of Autumn. I wish she was better looking.

sister, brother-in-law, and the kids, but I’m feeling a bit more nostalgic for Fall than usual.  To the point where, I actually don’t mind that it’s getting dark earlier (normally this would be my cue for Seasonal Affectation Disorder), or that it is cool at night (it’s still really warm during the day, and it makes for great sleeping weather!).  I enjoy getting home from work, making dinner and being cozy in front of the TV.

Which brings me to another thing I really love about Fall, which is TV.  I will be the first to admit, I watch too much TV. I am not bothered by this, because I love it.  I have cut down considerably, and my DVR has made it possible to get the most out of my time spent in front of the tube, so it all seems fine to me.  Fall is great because my favorite shows finally come back from their overly long Summer hiatus, and it’s also pilot season, when you get to try out all the new shows.  I’ve realized this year that a few of these things that I love so much have merged together in my mind. Because this time of year puts me in the mood for seasonal things like pumpkin anything (pie is great, ale is better) and Halloween, it feels like a great time of year to watch spooky stuff.  This could be anything from Ghost Hunters, to something I saw for the first time last week that scared the crap out of me, called Paranormal Witness (people share first-hand accounts of their own ghost stories) to something scripted, like Supernatural.

Actually, this desire to immerse myself in the macabre during this time of year may have been borne from Supernatural in way. About four years ago, my ex and I were on a flight back from London and started watching the series, having decided we should catch up on it since it always had good reviews. We watched multiple episodes in a row on the plane, and then we were fully immersed as we watched episodes from the few seasons we had missed. It was how I fought through my jet lag. This was in early October, so it was already dark when I got home from work and we’d start watching. Admittedly, sometimes the storylines on that show can be a bit silly, but in the beginning especially, they were pretty creepy. I dare any skeptic to watch the “Bloody Mary” episode alone in the dark and then get back to me.  That period of a few weeks yielded some pretty freaky dreams, and a new tradition was born.  So much so, that I am really looking forward to the debut of Grimm, and I absolutely cannot wait for American Horror Story to start next week.  Even though this video scares the bejeezus out of me every time, I think it will be a great show.

So, I will be sleeping with the lights on until at least Christmas, but it will be totally worth it for that old, Falltime feeling.

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So Alec Baldwin walked out of the Emmy’s last night after the FOX Network nixed a joke about the phone hacking scandal in which their parent company is currently embroiled.  Now far be it from me to come to the defense of Jack Daughnagy but I think the man has a point.

Baldwin’s rationalization was that the entirety of the sketch had would be compromised were it to lose that single joke.  Maybe so or maybe not.  Have you ever watched the deleted scenes from a movie and wondered how the film would have played (better or worse) had those scenes remained?  And, as an aside, have you ever wondered about the quality of a screenplay that has entire blocks that can be omitted and still be a coherent story?  But I’ve gone adrift.

My point, and I do have one, is this: sometimes the whole is compromised by the elimination of a part.  I will use my life as an example but only because I think everybody cares what happens to me.

Three years ago I had a son who was born seven weeks early.  I guess a more concise way of saying that is I have a three year old son who was born seven weeks early (it would be less hilarious if the reader thought I “had” a son instead of “have” a son).  Either way, my kid comes out of the oven before he is fully cooked.  It is a scary time; ambulance rides, confusing jargons and no doctors who want to kiss me (which always happens in TV hospitals).  He’s born and put on a machine that breathes for him.  A machine that eats for him.  A machine that makes his heart beat.  A machine that poops for him (and even that poop was gross).

When I get to go home (wifey and the kid are stuck in the hospital), the first thing I do is get a vasectomy.  Then I send out an email to everyone announcing the blessed event.  Basically it is nuts and bolts (weight, length) but I throw in a flourish or two.  One of which being “he is small and tough like his mother and he came prematurely like his father”.

My wife calls and asks where the hell I am (I tend to lose all track of time on the internet) and I read her my email.  No way.  She nixes the “came prematurely” bit.  She says there is no way that is going in an email about a kid who still only merits a shrug from doctors when we ask what will happen next.  I argue that that’s the best part.  I argue that without that line the email is pretty much the same as all the other birth announcements piling up in my trash folder.  She makes a buzzer sound like a game show and orders it out.

And, like my second favorite Baldwin (my first is the Harlem Renaissance author James), I remove the offending line.  I break the continuity of the entire bit and make it very bland.  Had I been thinking clearly, I would have walked off the project.  I would have asked to remove my name from the whole thing.  But instead I did the opposite.  I signed it and hit send.

I have 34 people in my contacts, the Emmys was probably viewed by twice that.  Here three and a half years later I am still (obviously) concerned about the judgement past by my distribution list so I can only imagine what Mr. Baldwin was thinking when word came down that his bit was being edited.  He likely was concerned he would be burning all the goodwill engendered recently from ’30 Rock’, hosting the Oscars and his supporting turn in “The Departed”  and we would be looking at him and asking why the guy from “Mercury Rising” ruined the Emmys?

 

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1).  Jimmy Duggan is Jimmie Foxx

The put-upon manager in “A League of Their Own” is based on the Hall of Famer known as “Double X”.  Due to some poor, post-baseball investments the all-time home-run leader of the Philadelphia A’s was forced back into baseball later in life.  Unfortunately a serious drinking problem precluded him from being given the reigns of an actual major league franchise and so he found himself managing a bunch of girls during World War II.  He hit .325 with 534 homers in his career but, if not for a name change, would be most remembered as the guy who said that “there’s no crying in baseball!“.

2).  Johnny Drama is Johnny Alves

Many of the characters on “Entourage” are thinly-veiled parodies of actually Hollywood players.  Some are obvious while others you (or I might not get). For instance,  Ari is based on the Rahm Emmanuel’s brother who is as powerful in Hollywood as Rham is in D.C..  Not much is known about Mr. Alves given the fact that he is not actually famous.  He is basically Mark Wahlberg’s cousin and (assumedly) fulfills many of the same functions for Mr. Wahlberg that Drama fulfills for Vince.  There is no word as to whether Mr. Alves and whomever is the inspiration for Turtle ever really “crossed swords” in the bad kind of three-way.

3).  Jeff Dowd is The Dude

Some times there is a man…Some times there is a man who was one of the “Seattle Seven”, did a stretch in the can, moved to LA, produced some b-movies and became the basis for one of the most iconic characters in the history of cinema.  Also, that man is apparently a pretty good bowler.  Dowd is now on the lecture circuit giving his version of what really happened to Bunny Lebowski.

4).  John List is Keyser Soze

The original title of “The Usual Suspects” was “Who is Keyser Soze?”.  Had that title stuck, the answer would have been “John List”.  List was an overly-average middle American who, at one point, murdered his wife and their three children.  And then, like that, he disappeared.  He was at-large for almost twenty years before he was apprehended.  Writer Christopher McQuarrie has said that List was the basis for Soze, though, obviously, not a direct knock-off (no pun intended).  Where Soze was a spook story gangsters told their kids, one more imagines List to be a spook story that husbands would tell their families.

5).  Duncan North is Dex

Back when people used to make independent movies that could be consumed by mainstream audiences (instead of wholly for miniscule niches), there was a great little romantic comedy called “The Tao of Steve”.  It was basically the story of this over-weight kindergarten teacher named Dex  who did a bit too well with the ladies for someone in his station in life.  It was a witty script with winning characters (and a Lemonheads’-heavy soundtrack).  Apparently Duncan North was the basis for Dex.  Originally the director had intended on making a documentary about him but must have realized that that would either be really self-serving or really creepy and so they made a nice rom-com.

I include this here not because society has been clamoring to know on whom Dex was based but perhaps because not enough people are aware that Dex exists.  If you take a single point away from having read this let it be that you should bump “The Tao of Steve” to the top of your netflix queue.

Who have I missed…

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Of Daniel Tosh

I feel the need to clarify a few things regarding Daniel Tosh since, for some strange reason, that very sub-par entry seems to be getting a lot of traffic lately (https://twynne105.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/i-dont-think-i-like-daniel-tosh/).

First is the admission of an error on my part in getting his show name wrong in the original entry (thanks Reader Troy!).  His Comedy Central show is actually called “Tosh.0”, not “Tosh 2.0” as I mistakenly wrote.  I still kinda maintain – who cares?  He’s a jerk!  But getting the name of the show wrong doesn’t really help my argument and takes away from my credibility, so I wanted to at least acknowledge that.

Second – and I’m sure everyone realizes this if they actually read the entry – I was not calling Daniel Tosh a racist.  People seem to be searching the keywords “Daniel Tosh Racist” to end up on this site.  The reason they end up here is because I took umbrage with the fact that he called my hometown the most racist place in the country.  I have no idea what his views are on race and just want to be clear that I would never say something slanderous like that without very good reason or some sort of citation.  It’s quite an accusation.

Sorry to be all serious and stuff when I normally try to keep this thing fun and light-hearted.  I just want you all to know that I have no intention of  bashing someone’s reputation – even if I do not find him funny.

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Two artisans who’s work I respect, nay, treasure are the title of this post.  The reason they are so linked is not my doing but hers.  So far this season ’30 Rock’ (easily the best show on TV now and possibly the best show on TV ever) has made two passing jokes about the former Celtic legend.

Initially, in the episode where Tracey is diagnosed with (this is really hard to say) diabetes he reacts by claiming that the disease is a “white person’s myth, like Denver or Larry Bird”.  

Then this week, in what was seemingly an episode made exclusively for me and the rest of the guys named Sean living in the 617, Jack gets a text from his Boston-born love interest showing “the female Larry Bird” holding hands with someone.

Now these two instances don’t necessarily establish a pattern…until you watch ‘Parks and Recreation’ which I typically don’t.  Except last week.  And there it was, behind Amy Poehler’s desk: a picture of Larry Bird.

What gives?  Needless to say, it would not be difficult for me to link Poehler and Fey into some sort of comedic axis of hilarity and thereby connect the two in Bird-joking collusion.  But the burning question is: why?  

(The case of Ms. Poehler is more understandable given that she grew up ten minutes outside of Larry Bird’s Boston in those halcyon days)

Bird retired from basketball in 1992, meaning that he hasn’t been on the national  stage since I was in high school.  So this is analogous to an extremely topical show doing more than one joke about “Right Said Fred”.  Or referencing an episode of ‘Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’ twice.  Or…you get the point and my wife just told me to put my yearbook away.

I guess my point is not that I’m upset about this (only one of the three Bird-mentions are derogatory) just that I think it is odd that Larry Bird have become such a comedic touchstone at this time and this place.  I am left wondering how (is Tina Fey writing these jokes herself?) and why?

Any help?

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Give me ten men like “The Situation” and I’ll take over the world.  

Like many of you (and by many, I mean all) I have recently gotten swept up in the cultural tsunami that is Jersey Shore.  Oddly this is the first MTV show since “Remote Control” that doesn’t turn my stomach to watch.  I never watched “The Real World” or “The Hills” or any of those but for some reason I cannot look away from this epic masterpiece.  It would be easy to chalk this up to my progressively getting stupider, which I am, but I’m not sure.

Alot of people deride the show (and with alot of good reason) but I’m here to do the opposite.  Has anyone else noticed that “The Situation”‘s purity of effort and focus on his goal can be corrupted by nothing?  “The Situation” is there for one reason, i.e., to get girls and there is absolutely nothing that happens that is going to distract him from this.

Snickers gets punched in the face; “The Situation” is creeping.  Ronnie gets arrested, “The Situation” is creeping.  JWoww pukes in the club, sorry, “The Situation” is creeping.  I’d like to image him in front of a burning building flashing his abs at every woman running out.

Have you ever heard somebody say that they could, like, play Major League Baseball or be a  singer or something like that?  And you think to yourself that they’re discounting the type of commitment and sacrifice it takes to reach that level in any field.  “The Situation” has that kind of commitment and he is willing to sacrifice just about anything else in it’s pursuit.  These are the people who’s will shape our world.   Some people pay their passion with sweat and tears others in hair gel and body tanner.

He is truly an inspiration.  Or he should be.

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Have you heard the news that is the late night talk show debacle on NBC?  Poor Conan O’Brien finally got to take over the Tonight Show, but Jay Leno never actually went away. Instead, they gave him the 10 PM time slot every night of the week for what they are now saying was “always an experiment” (nice cover) and take away five hours of scripted programming from their schedule.  By all accounts, the experiment has been failing miserably and the network affiliates are getting pissed because they’re losing viewers for their 11 PM news (folks are watching other stuff at 10, and apparently not changing the channel back to NBC). 

NBC’s solution?  Put Leno back on at 11:30 and move Conan to 12.  Oh, and Jimmy Fallon gets screwed in all of this too because his show is getting pushed back later as well.  They seem to be ignoring the larger problem here, which is that people aren’t interested in watching Jay Leno anymore, probably because he isn’t very funny.  So why are they rearranging the schedule and pissing off Conan just to keep Jay?  It doesn’t make sense.  I’m very curious to see what Conan ends up doing with all of this. Personally, I think he should be outraged. He waited forever to take over the Tonight Show and finally had his chance….for half a season and now they’re trying to take it away.  Don’t take it lying down, Conan!!  You’ve worked too hard and are too talented for them to pull a stunt like this on you.

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