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Friday, March 19, 2010

Talk about beating a dead horse...

Today, I'm waxing rhapsodic. Not too long ago I was going through yet another box and out came an old scrapbook. A VERY old scrapbook, one kept by my mother. In typical my mother's style, there are two pages of neatly put together items and then a wad of cut out newspaper clippings stuffed between two pages.

My mother loved Roy Rogers and William Holden and there's an unbelievable cache of newspaper clippings about them, mostly Roy. And Dale. And their kids.

For years, there was a Roy Rogers museum, first in Apple Valley and then in Victorville. A two hour drive, more or less, from my mother's house. How many times did she go?

Not once.

Well, you had to know my mother, if you did, that would make sense. Well, it never made sense, but it wouldn't surprise you, either.

My mother outlived Roy, but not by much. After her death the hubster and the boys and I started going to Las Vegas regularily. She probably didn't approve, but hey, it wasn't my problem anymore. Well, we spent a fair amount of time blasting by the Roy Rogers Museum, all rustic and wood and sitting cheerfully in the middle of it's big parking lot in Victorville. But, we were always in a hurry to get somewhere or it was closed.

One day we heard the rumor that it might be closing, moving to greener pastures or something like that. So we made the trip. Two whole hours drive time. We pulled into the huge and 98% empty parking lot, paid our two bucks (I actually don't remember how much it was) and spent a hot desert day happily wandering through the dark, cool rambling place, looking at silver saddles and original costumes from Nudie, reading newspaper clippings, taking pictures of Trigger, the usual stuff. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. So, when the announcement was official, the museum was moving to Branson, we made another trip. We met up with my father in the high desert for a farewell. As, frankly, I have no intentions of hanging out in Branson. I had a gut feeling the move was a bad idea, but then, no one asked me.

We not only wandered the cool dark interior of the ranch house, a cowboy taught us to lasso a post. We stocked up in the gift shop, but only stuff that said "Victorville, CA" on it. Including a set of four stone coasters which still sit on the end table in the living room. Several of them are pretty creepy dark now too because we use them. A lot. Coffee spills will win, eventually. And my father, ever prepared, brought his camera.

Fast forward to a month ago, when I unearthed the scrapbook. A small picture of the then dating Roy and Dale at the Coconut Grove. Roy and Dale get married. Roy and Dale have kids. Roy and Dale on TV, in movies, news reports of the daughter who was killed in a bus accident and a son who died as a young adult, it's all there. And, what to do with it? It's interesting but I don't have enough room for my own crap, let alone my mother's. So I thought, I know. I'll give it to the museum. I'll e-mail them and pack it up and send it to Branson.

Well, I was right, moving to Branson was a dumb idea. The museum closed for good late last year. The letter to members and fans on the website mentions the failing ecomony and the advanced age of Roy's fans.

Frankly, I always thought Branson was going to end up being a star gone Nova. It shone bright and burned hot for awhile and now it's turning into a gaseous ball of empty space. I mean, face it. I'm NOT going to drive to Missouri to see Andy Williams. Sure, the ticket prices are better but how much is it going to cost me to GET to Missouri? And then I'm stuck in Missouri. Watching Tony Orlando and the Lennon Sisters. Not all the Lennon Sisters either, just Janet and Kathy. And they've recruited Mimi, who never performed with them before. I'm guessing Peggy and Dianne ran screaming out of Missouri and took Dawn with them. There are a bazillion "tribute" shows and something called "Noah, the Musical." No, even I couldn't make that up. Suffice it to say Branson did NOT become the Broadway of the Midwest. More like the Laughlin of the Midwest. Without the slot machines.

So the museum, alas, is no more. The contents are systematically being auctioned off with one last, big blast to clear the entire kit and caboodle out coming up this July. On the block then will be the big, family dining room table made by George Montgomery. The jeep, named "Nellybelle" used on the TV show, their custom Cadillac (or maybe it was a Lincoln, I don't remember), a ton of beautiful saddles and tack and yes, God help us, Trigger.

While it saddens me that there are no longer any fans left it saddens me more that a) fans now age off the radar and there is no history to pass on. Grandparents didn't give their grandchildren a taste of the fun they had and the things that they appreciated. Some kid MIGHT want to go see the Roy Rogers Museum because he or she remembers watching "The Paleface" one weekend at Grandma's and they LOVED it but grandma never showed them that film and b) they've stooped to putting the stuffed horse on the auction block. Why don't you put your parent's headstones up while your at it? BTW, yes, I KNOW where those headstones are, I'm mildly surprised they didn't move Roy and Dale to Branson and try to make a buck off them, much like Lucy Arnaz did with HER mother.

Come on, of Roy's kids, grandkids, a rogue niece...please? Take Trigger with you. Jeez, who the hell wants a stuffed horse in their den anyway? Besides, he's on his hind legs, he's gonna be WAY too tall for the average room.

Have a heart. Keep the horse.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The "Y" Chromosome And The Optic Nerve.

Well, okay, it's that time of year. Something must be said about "American Idol." I don't know why it's on Fox. It sounds like it belongs on The Nashville Network with the grand finale live from Ryman Hall. I'm guessing country is in this year. Except for the girl with the Irish name who rocked "Paint It Black", I liked her. Otherwise, they all sound like Reba McIntyre and they're all boring. Unlike Reba.

Oh, and Ellen? What's with the hair? Okay, the hair looks okay. She basically looks fine, I think she's got the prettiest eyes since Paul Newman in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof." But the hair does something odd for her ears. I've never even noticed she had them before, now I can't take my eyes off them. Sorry, but it makes her look as if she should be speaking Elvish. This is so boring I'm actually starting to look forward to "Dancing With The Stars" next week. Oh boy, Buzz Aldrin in Copabana sleeves attempting the Samba. Television doesn't get much better.

Maybe it's the time change, when my circadian clock settles back into some sort of rhythm the contestants might get better. I doubt it, but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt here. When we "spring ahead" it always seems to take me a week, it's kind of like jet lag for me. I'm tired and therefore more aware of things that would normally sort of slide by. For example, just how long has the hubster been IMing me at work and asking me things like "where's that blue envelope I wrote the phone number on that chick from the bank gave me?" "Where's my blazer?" and "I can't find my notebook." I think it's losing that hour, I've suddenly become aware of this. Yeah, that's it. In my exhausted state my senses are heightened. Or else I'm just testy.

Whatever the reason, there's definitely some sort of disturbance in the force. A friend of mine, who is also married to a guy who works from home, has been experiencing the same phenomenon lately. She's getting calls from her husband with important, day interrupting questions like "Do you know where the box I got from Amazon yesterday is?"

Guys? After the obvious, as in "your jacket is in the closet" and the inevitable response "no, it's not, I looked there" what do you expect US to do? I can look everywhere but the blue envelope with the phone number on it isn't IN MY OFFICE. For what it's worth, your blazer WAS in the closet(I found it there on the hangar when I got home), the charger for your iPod was in plain sight on the coffee table and the box from Amazon (so I hear) was under the morning paper. Where you all said you looked. Is it some sort of vision thing maybe? That "y" chromosome you're so proud of has some sort of strange effect on the optic nerve of the male of the species, enabling them to find absolutely nothing except the TV remote until a sudden influx of estrogen achieves a sort of balance in the cosmos?

And no, I'm not picking on husbands in particular. I have two sons. It's the same thing. The lost W2s showed up in the exact place I told him to look, the place he looked in three times. Belts, shoes, wallets, you name it, "Have you seen my shoes?" "Hmmm, let me check. No, they're not under my desk." Do you suppose Tiger Woods used to text his wife "where'd I leave the salami I've been trying to hide?"

Speaking of Tiger, he's going to tee off at the Masters next month. He's out of rehab, at least for the week and being allowed to work. I saw this on the news today, all day. It was only eclipsed by the earthquake I slept through. And then it hit me.

What if Tiger didn't do anything? I mean, let's think this through. The only women who have come forward in front of cameras are porn performers. Now, I'm guessing their acting abilities aren't going to get them noticed by Kurasawa anytime soon, but they can probably deliver a line and they wouldn't be shy about appearing in public and discussing their sex life.

And golf has been getting progressively more boring. It's right up there with "American Idol" lately.

Can you imagine the ratings the Masters will get? The galleries? For the first time in 20 years, people might actually know who wins the thing. They won't remember who won it a month later but that's to be expected. Quick. What movie won best picture last week? No Google.

Took you a few seconds, didn't it?

In any event, this just may be the biggest, and most successful publicity stunt ever perpetrated. Or Tiger may just be a jerk. Hard to tell. How much you want to bet he calls his wife in Florida from his hotel room in Augusta and asks her where he put his golf clubs after he picked them up from baggage claim?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good Night, David...

My, oh my, where to begin?

Well, okay, I'll start with NBC and see where it takes me. I've just finished up NBC's 17 day commercial for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, otherwise known as the Winter Olympics. For God's SAKE, I life in California and I'm in the same freaking TIME ZONE AS VANCOUVER! I don't suppose you would care to explain to me WHY every damn night was a six hour old CLIP show? The athletes must have been getting up at 4am to get ready for a 6am start time so YOU could tape, edit, add funny sound effects, write scripts for Costas (who is a damn fine interviewer on his own) and package all of this into a four hour prime time special.

And, considering how much editing was obviously being done, why did you decide to keep it on the air until MIDNIGHT? Oh DUH! More commercials! Or is that more commercial time you COULDN'T SELL? Because guys, I'm not THAT stupid. No one is THAT stupid. Do you really think I believe that someone actually bought time to run that ridiculous, in-your-face-Conan fans "get back to where you once belonged" commercial for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno?

You couldn't sell the time to Proctor and Gambel so you filled it with lame ass commercials for Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld and The Office.

You LEFT THE CLOSING CEREMONY before it was over to run that idiotic "Marriage Ref" and the local news, then went back so we could watch the rest of it at 11:30. Is that really what you think of your viewers? I'm guessing yes, it is. And you actually wonder why you're in 17th place amoung the FOUR major networks? Well, I'll tell you why. As a television SUCK.

Your comedies are borderline funny at best (no offense, 30 Rock, because you're being wasted on NBC). Your dramas are old and tired, your news coverage (with the exception of the exceptionally witty Brian Williams) is abysmal, that guy you gave "Meet the Press" to after the devastating loss of Tim Russert isn't doing you any good, your sports coverage is lackluster and let's not even GO to your late night programming, which everyone knows you totally Effed up.

Nah, I can't stay away from late night. You tied O'Brien's hands when he came in at 11:35, his best stuff was left in New York because it was too risque for the before midnight crowd. So, while a very tall guy in a bear suit could no longer come out and go nuts with a diaper to "The Saber Dance" (because that's too over the line for the 11:35 crowd), it's okay for Leno to bring out Olympic medalist (yep, one of them is gold) Lindsay Vonn, ridicule her Sports Illustrated cover and then, when referencing the fact that Vonn's husband is her coach and manager, actually ask:

“Does that work in all aspects… in the bedroom, everywhere?”

Now, not only is that a question asked by a pig, it's not funny. I can, will and have forgiven a LOT of totally inappropriate stuff in my life because it made me laugh. Not only was that question not funny, it wasn't even mildly entertaining. What WOULD have been entertaining is if Lindsay Vonn had slapped Leno. Because, frankly, no one would have blamed her. The thought occurred to me though, that, had she done so, no one except the studio audience would have seen it. Because Leno and NBC no longer have to be on the up and up regarding what is and isn't shown.

So, here's my take on the whole thing. At NBC it's okay, in fact encouraged, to aspire to mediocrity. It's perfectly okay to be a chauvanist. It's okay to rip off other performers ideas. It's okay to deliver bad coverage of news, sports and current events. It's okay to badmouth your own ideas and try to make them everyone else's fault but your own.

It, apparently, is NOT okay to be funny, smart, informed, creative or just plain entertaining. Now this, in it's own way, is also okay. What isn't okay is to whine about your lousy ratings because of it.

Almost 30 years ago, David Brinkley left NBC and landed at ABC. David Brinkley was one smart man.