Top ten television comedies

O.K., since almost everyone in my blogging universe has tackled this, it’s (past) time for my 10 favorite sit-coms. My rule: I’m not picking anything still on the air. That means no Scrubs, no Simpsons.

10. Sports Night: watched religiously. Would have ranked higher if it could have stuck around a little longer.

9. All in the Family: groundbreaking stuff. But it went on too long, as Logan noted.
8. Frasier: erudite humor mixed with occasional madcap fun. (Miles ironing his pants is one of the great pieces of TV, all sans dialogue.)

7. Barney Miller: the first year, they tried for Barney to have a home life, complete with a wife (Barbara Barrie), but it never jelled. After that, it found its own voice. I never was a big Fish fan (BTW, to the best of my knowledge, Abe Vigoda is still alive,) but it was the guest stars and their reaction to the cops that really worked for me.

6. Taxi: Reverend Jim was my favorite character, but it was a great ensemble, with Judd Hirsch’s Alex holding the center.

5. WKRP in Cincinnati – is this show as funny as I remember? As much as I appreciated Venus Flytrap and Johnny Fever, and, O.K., Bailey Quarters, my great appreciation was for Les Nessman, he of the imaginary walls and flying turkeys. If the rights to the great music originally associated with this show could somehow find clearance, I’d buy the season DVDs in a minute.

4. Cheers – I wasn’t quite as fond of it after Diane left, but I warmed up to Rebecca in time.

3. M*A*S*H – probably would have ranked higher, maybe even #1, if it had gone when Radar did. I watched those first seven or eight seasons even in reruns, but not the last three or four, which start repeating itself. B.J. falling off the fidelity wagon – touching. B.J. THINKING about falling off the fidelity wagon a few seasons later – boring.

2. The Mary Tyler Moore Show – it wasn’t Mary so much as Lou “I hate spunk” Grant, Murray’s savaging Ted Baxter (often without Ted knowing), full-of-moxie Rhoda, and the sweet-seeming yet savage Sue Ann Nivens, played by Betty White.

1. The Dick van Dyke Show. This is why the show is the gold standard: it lasted five years, not too short, not too long. It had a near perfect mix of work life and home life. It had Richard Deacon of Binghamton, NY, my hometown, as Mel Cooley. It had the superb Carl Reiner, the original choice for Rob, BTW, as the egotistical Alan Brady. It has segments I haven’t seen in decades I still can remember, such as son Richie’s middle name: Robert Oscar Sam Edward Benjamin Ulysses David, or ROSEBUD. It had an ottoman in the opening, which Rob either trips over or dances deftly around. And it had Mary Tyler Moore in capri pants.

Just missing the cut:

The Andy Griffith Show: Another show that went on too long. The first five years with Andy and Don Knotts as Deputy Fife were quite great. Strangely, broadcasting in color also hurt its appeal of the small town quality of Mayberry.

Seinfeld: I really liked this show early on, when REALLY was about nothing (getting lost in the parking garage, e.g.) Of course, it had classic episodes such as “The Contest.” Elaine’s bad dancing, Kramer’s entrances. But there was a point when I started finding it tiresome (the glee at Susan’s death, the whole NY Yankees thing).

The Bob Newhart Show: This is the one with Bob as the shrink, as opposed to Newhart, which was Bob as the Vermont innkeeper. The earlier show won out because of the better supporting cast (I found Julia Duffy’s character often shrill). Bob’s particular way of playing off people is a rare gift. Of course his latter show has the best TV ending ever, but it was inspired by the earlier show, and by Bobby in the shower on Dallas.

Arrested Development: I didn’t start watching it from the beginning. Actually, I tried and didn’t particularly enjoyed it. Then I tried again at the beginning of the second season and it clicked for me.

I Love Lucy: Probably saw it TOO often in my youth.

Soap: over the top zaniness. I loved the dummy.

Friends: it was rather uneven over the years, and there were periods I just gave up on it, only to be drawn back.

The Associates: a very funny comedy with Martin Short that was on for too short a time.

Almost anything with Dabney Coleman.

Any number of shows I’m probably just forgetting.
Daniel Schorr, who covered Watergate for CBS News, and delivered a eulogy at Frank Zappa’s funeral, turns 90 today. One of my media heroes, he is still a working journalist for NPR.

Xena and her friends

I was excited and fascinated by the possibility that we might have had three new planets.

When my sisters were old enough to share a room, my father built a couple walls out of the hallway which became my bedroom, of sorts. To compensate for that tiny space, he agreed to paint, right on the ceiling, whatever I wanted. What I wanted was the solar system. The sun was the size of a large beach ball, and the other planets were done to scale. I used to “look at” this part of the galaxy every night before I went to bed for about ten years, until I went to college, and then my parents subsequently bought another house.

The initial changes that were proposed for the solar system didn’t bother me at all. Many things that I “knew” as a child have been altered with new discoveries.

The proposed definition: A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.

What I Knew/What I Know Now
Mercury – had 0 moons/still has 0 moons
Venus – had 0 moons/still have 0 moons
Earth – had 1 moon/has 1 moon
Mars – had 2 moons/has 2 moons
Jupiter-had 12 moons/has 61 moons
Saturn-had 9 moons/has 31 moons
Uranus-had 5 moons/has 21 moons
Neptune-had 2 moons/has 11 moons

Yet, I do have some disappointment. Ceres, under consideration as a planet, continues to be cosmic debris in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The recently found 2003 UB313, which the discover, Caltech researcher Mike Brown, has dubbed Xena (yes, after the warrior princess) remains just some other heavenly body.

And Pluto, dear Pluto, once a real live planet is now – well read this:
“The [proposed but rejected] definition entirely misses the key element of a solar system object, namely its role in the formation of the solar system,” David Charbonneau, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said. “There are eight fully formed planets. The other objects – Ceres, Pluto, Charon [Pluto’s moon], [Xena], and hundreds of thousands of others, are the fascinating byproducts of the formation of these eight planets.” Thus, Pluto, controversial since its discovery in 1930, had its planetary status on the table again, and lost it. Pluto is merely a “fascinating byproduct”.

I suppose it’s for the best. There would have been at least 53 planets, by Mike Brown’s count, had the newdefinitionn taken hold. Imagine the learning curve in school textbooks if THAT hadoccurredd. It’ll still be complicated.

But think of all the ruined mnemonic devices:
My very exciting mother just served us nine pizzas
My Very Easy Memory Jingle Seems Useful Naming Planets
My Very Energetic Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pickles
Men Very Easily Make Jugs Serve Useful Nocturnal Purposes
My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines
My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Peas
Mark’s violet eyes make Jane sit up nights pining

Actually, the last one can still work. No pining, though.
Chris Black on Pluto (August 26)
My sincere condolences to my cyberbuddy, near-twin Gordon on the passing of his father this week. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Gordon.

This Will Be The Last Time

I tend not to be the jealous kind. We all have our different experiences that enrich our lives.

Still, there’s a woman in my office that I’m at least mildly jealous of. She got to see the Beatles LIVE. She got tickets through a local Catholic church group, and went with her friend, with their mothers as chaperones, on a bus to Atlantic City on August 30, 1964. Check those ticket prices!

From Jackie DeShannon’s website:
BEATLES FIRST AMERICAN TOUR (August 19 – September 20, 1964)

This was the first real Beatles concert tour of America. Consisting of 32 shows in 34 days, The Beatles wound up breaking attendance records as they appeared at major arenas throughout the U.S. and Canada. On the bill with The Beatles was the Bill Black Combo, the Righteous Brothers (backed by The Exciters), and Jackie DeShannon.

The Beatles song list for this 1964 tour:
Twist and Shout**
You Can’t Do That
All My Loving
She Loves You**
Things We Said Today
Roll Over Beethoven
Can’t Buy Me Love
If I Fell
I Want To Hold Your Hand
A Hard Day’s Night
Long Tall Sally
(**-For some shows, The Beatles would open with I Saw Her Standing There, delete She Loves You, and close with Twist And Shout).

August 30: Convention Hall Atlantic City, New Jersey: Three days after the Democratic National Convention was held here, The Beatles played one concert here. Over 19,000 Beatles fans attended the concert which started at 8:30 p.m. After the show, the Beatles left the hall in a laundry truck, as leaving by limousine would have been impossible.

Sure, the Beatles were far away and difficult to hear over the screams, but still…

What put me in mind about that is the fact that TODAY is the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ gig at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, which turned out to be their last concert performance. The opening act line-up included The Remains, Bobby Hebb, The Cyrkle and The Ronettes, without Ronnie Spector. The set list was:
Rock and Roll Music
She’s A Woman
If I Needed Someone
Day Tripper
Baby’s In Black
I Feel Fine
I Wanna Be Your Man
Nowhere Man
Paperback Writer
Long Tall Sally

And, of course, after that concert, they were pretty much finished as musicians.

The Fantasy Company

I recently spent $12.95 for Comics Journal #277, the 30th anniversary issue, initially because an old FantaCo bud, Tom the Mayor (not to be confused with Tom, the owner) sent me this e-mail:
I do not know if you keep in touch with the comic biz, but in the latest issue of “The Comics Journal”, they have an article on the black and white comics boom of the 1980’s, and they show the cover to “Sold Out” #1, where a character named Roger Green is hunted down by the color police. Poor fellow is probably still in the color concentration camp. Wasn’t Steve McQueen in the “Great Escape”, based on that Green Fellow?

Gee, I co-wrote that story, yet I don’t remember THAT aspect of the plot, but it HAS been 20 years. The artist, BTW, was John Hebert, not John Herbert, as indicated in TCJ.

As it turns out, there are other very interesting things in the magazine, including a piece on the late direct comics distribution guru Phil Seuling that will be VERY useful in the future.

Then, last week, I had breakfast one morning with Mitch Cohn. I worked with Mitch at FantaCo from 1980 until 1983 – he started there a year earlier – and later worked for him at his Midnight Comics store in Albany in the early 1990s. For FantaCo, Mitch edited the excellent Deja Vu and Gates of Eden as well as the Chronicles magazines dealing with Daredevil and the Avengers. (I did the ones for X-Men, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.)

Mitch is a middle school English teacher in New York City, and he looks remarkable similar to the guy I last saw about a decade ago. He was in town visiting folks, including our old FantaCo colleague Rocco. Right after I saw Mitch, I happened to walk past 21 Central Avenue, which had been a music store, a couple other things, then some sort of religious center after FantaCo, but had been most recently boarded up. The boards were down, the door was open, and it appears that some new retailer was cleaning up the place in anticipation of yet another venture.

So, it’s been a FantaCo kind of week. FantaCo was started on August 28, 1978, and closed 20 years later, but given the fact that I worked there for 8.5 years, it remains in the DNA.

Please Come to Boston

This post was inspired by GP’s Boston glasses.

My now ex, Zoe, and I were in Boston on Flag Day, 1991, when, pretty much at the last minute, around 5:30 p.m., we decided to go to Fenway Park and see if we could score a couple tickets to the game starting about an hour and a half later. We held little hope, for the game featured the pitching duel of Red Sox’s ace Roger Clemens (whatever happened to him?) and the California Angels’ one-handed wonder Jim Abbott. Surprisingly, not only did we get seats, we got GREAT seats right behind home plate. I’m thinking that someone must have turned in tickets at the last moment.

What I remember about the game is that California was ahead early, Clemens spent too much time keeping Dave Winfield on first base, and that the Red Sox came back to win. The box score of the game is here.

Afterwards, we went to the Howard Johnson nearby, where we stayed. We decided to go down to the hotel bar to get a couple drinks. It was fairly busy, with several people trying to gain the bartender’s attention. At some point, he acknowledged that he saw me and stuck up his index finger in the “just a minute” fashion. But what eventually became apparent is that people who came after me were being served, but I was not. And people who came after them were being served, and I, standing in the front, still was not, only being given “just a minute”. The “interesting” thing about this that only he, I and someone carefully observing the scene would be aware of what was going on. Also, he never didn’t serve me, he only hadn’t “gotten around” to serving me. Any claim of discrimination would have been very difficult to prove.

What I felt was a deep volcano of rage, the kind of furor that if I had had a baseball bat, I would have been sorely tempted to smash all of the glasses hanging over the bar. Of course, I really wouldn’t because 1)I could have hurt an innocent, and 2)I would have been arrested, a black man gone crazy for “no reason”. Or I could have started yelling, demanding service, but that, too, would have likely make me look as though I had wanted preferential treatment.

Zoe and I left the bar, and I complained to the night manager of the hotel, who recommended I write to the day manager. I did write him, and also my credit card company, but never got any satisfaction.

I’ve been to Boston subsequently, had a good time, didn’t have any difficulties. But GP, the Boston form of racism, indeed, the Northern form of racism, tends to be far more subtle, more clever than in there was in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, from what I can gather from folks I know in the South, folks with racist attitudes have adopted the more subtle forms of discrimination from their Northern brethren (and sisterern). So, GP, keep that gray filter on those rose-colored glasses.
Jim Abbott, motivational speaker.

The Lydster, Part 29 Girlfriends

From the pictures I’ve shown, you’d think Lydia was a bit of a loner. Untrue.

One of the benefits of three trips to Binghamton is that Lydia got to see her friend Kay, twice there and actually once in Albany. Their mothers are great friends, in each other’s weddings (as was I), and the girls are only a couple months apart, so I think the mothers really wanted the girls to bond, and it appears that they have.

Of course, that only goes so far. When we were at our house, I was reading stories to them when Kay got on my lap. Lydia sulked. So I had to put Kay down, put Lydia on one lap, THEN put Kay on the other. And occasionally, there were sharing issues. But they seemto really adore one another.

I’ve never been sure: is this a hug or a chokehold?

Lydia with three of her five-year-old cousins at the Olin family reunion.

This picture in response to those who claim that I only show my daughter smiling. (But the picture at the top happened soon after this one.)

Don’t mess with this child.

Love you, daughter of mine.
Before we had Lydia, the Kix cereal registered trademark used to bug me. But now, “Kid-tested, Mother-approved” is starting to really offend. It maintains the stereotype of the caring mother and absent father. Feh.

Another Pleasant Valley weekend, featuring Ms. Julie Hembeck

The first weekend in August, Carol, Lydia and I trekked down to Pleasant Valley, NY, not far from Poughkeepsie (where one picks one’s toes, but that’s for another day). What was interesting about this particular edition of this annual gathering was that there were far more children than usual. Generally, there are one or two, including Lydia, but this time there were over a half dozen. Which made the fact that the adults shooed the kids off the badmitton court even more humorous. They wanted to play a “serious” game. The three-on-three match was competitive, and for reasons not even known to me, I started doing a play-by-play commentary: “Ooh, Klonfas lost that one in the sun”, stuff like that. And it’s not like a network announcer in a booth some distance away; these players were as little as 10 feet away.

The next day, we went to visit Fred, Lynn and Julie. Well, we tried. How does Dutchess County have two such oddly named streets, with one a Road and the other a Drive? Anyway we eventually got there, talked, and ate and swam. Fred and I blathered about obscure television shows and even more obscure music. He played for me a great cover of the entire Revolver album that he had gotten from MOJO magazine, performed by various artists that were unfamiliar to me.

Self-portrait of Julie, stolen from her father’s blog of August 25, 2005

Julie goes through music phases; currently, she is listening to Elton John and especially David Bowie. The most notable thing about Julie’s language is her use of language. She has a near-constant use of “emo”, as in “that’s so emo.” Emo I know what that is, but don’t quite understand it in context. I managed to have totally missed the term 420, but Julie assured me it, at least with her and her friends, does not refer to drugs, even though the original meaning did, but rather something that’s sort of funny. I do recognize that the language is fluid.
Julie did a very good caricature of me, which I should scan one of these days.
Anyway, it’s Julie’s 16th birthday today. Happy birthday; it was great to see you. Oh, and your parents, too. Glad we didn’t get to see the bat.
I was playing The Best of Elvis Costello this week, in honor of his 52nd birthday today, and I was thinking:
*I wonder how Diana Krall, one of my wife’s favorite singers, is feeling these days?
*Some days, the last line in the chorus of Oliver’s Army reflects how I feel about work.
*Lots of his early songs could be done in different styles and would work. For a long time, I have thought (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding could/should be done as a doowop song. Really.

Emmys (in August?) QUESTIONS

O.K., if you care about such things, you’ve already kvetched about who has NOT been nominated, so my questions for today are about the Emmys this Sunday, hosted by Conan O’Brien:
1)Who do you want to win?
2)Who do you think will win?
3) You may also indicate who SHOULD win, but I haven’t seen enough to answer that.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Arrested Development, Fox
Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO
The Office, NBC
Scrubs, NBC
Two and a Half Men, CBS

I watch The Office and Scrubs and watched Arrested Development. Will they give another award to a now-deceased show? Maybe, but I hope not.
WANT: Scrubs. Or The Office.
WILL: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Outstanding Drama Series
Grey’s Anatomy, ABC
House, Fox
The Sopranos, HBO
24, Fox
The West Wing, NBC

With its lead actors not nominated, I think the Sopranos are a mortal lock.
WANT: 24, which really shocked from the first episode this season. I know this despite the fact that I didn’t actually WATCH it, except for about 24 minutes, but did read about it regularly.
WILL: the Sopranos

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race, CBS
American Idol, Fox
Dancing with the Stars, ABC
Project Runway, Bravo
Survivor, CBS
Don’t much care.
WANT: Amazing Race, since the Browns like it.
WILL: American Idol, more popular than ever.

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report, Comedy Central
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central
Late Night with Conan O’Brien, NBC
Late Show with David Letterman, CBS
Real Time with Bill Maher, HBO
The Presidential roast really lifted Colbert’s visibility.
WANT: Colbert
WILL: Colbert

Outstanding Miniseries
Bleak House, PBS
Elizabeth I, HBO
Into the West, TNT
Sleeper Cell, Showtime
I saw none of them.
WILL: When in doubt, guess HBO.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Kevin James, The King of Queens
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
Since my pick, John Dorian, is not here, let’s go with
WANT: Steve Carell
WILL: Steve Carell

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Christopher Meloni, Law and Order: SVU
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Will there be one last send off, for West Wing, or the dying character from Six Feet Under?
WANT: Kiefer Sutherland
WILL: The pity vote splits, and it’s Sutherland

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Stockard Channing, Out of Practice
Debra Messing, Will & Grace
I stopped watching Old Christine after a few episodes, Out of Practice after the pilot, two others years ago, and never saw Kudrow.
WANT: Lisa Kudrow
WILL: Debra Messing

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Geena Davis, Commander in Chief
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under
Allison Janney, The West Wing
Please let it not be Alison Janney AGAIN.
WANT: Kyra Sedgwick
WILL: Mariska Hargitay

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Will Arnett, Arrested Development
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
Oh, throw A.D. a bone.
WANT: Will Arnett
WILL: Jeremy Piven

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Oliver Platt, Huff
Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos
Gregory Itzin, 24
Alan Alda, The West Wing
WANT: Gregory Itzin, pretty much out of pity. I read a TV Guide article how he goes golfing with Dennis Haysbert who played assassinated President Palmer on the show. They LIKE Palmer, but not Itzin’s character.
WILL: Imperioli, to give an acting award to the Sopranos.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Cheryl Hines, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Alfre Woodard, Desperate Housewives
Jaime Pressly, My Name is Earl
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace
DON’T Want: a swan song award for Mullally
WANT: Jaime Pressly, the Earl’s ex, who became better defined as the season progressed from a one-note schemer to a much richer character
WILL: Pressly or Hines

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Candice Bergen, Boston Legal
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
Blythe Danner, Huff
Jean Smart, 24
While Wilson’s supervisor of interns is a great character, I’m leaning towards Smart’s portrayal of the Martha Mitchellesque portrayal of the First Lady. In the last episode, she gave a LOOK after her husband was taken into custody that told volumes.
WANT: Smart or Wilson.
WILL: Smart

What are YOUR thoughts on these or any of the other categories?
CBS Sunday Morning did a story this past week on the new Lassie movie coming out this month

“Lassie Comes Home: Lassie is the quintessential screen heroine: strong, courageous and devoted. Now, like so many great stars, Lassie is making a comeback. Producers are hoping modern moviegoers will sit — and stay. CBS News’ Cynthia Bowers reports.”
For More Information: The original, unabridged, edition of Eric Knight’s “Lassie Come-Home” is available through, as are many of the Lassie movies & TV shows.
Jon Provost
Canine Companions for Independence
Joan Neidhardt & Cathy Schmidt’s Lassie Fan Club
Dr. Jeff Werber
The official Lassie movie
It also showed this parody clip which I found on YouTube, which you may have seen. (I hadn’t.) Since I’ve never done one of these before, I may be doing this a bit redundantly.

If that doesn’t work, try this.

And It Appears to Be a Long Time…and Still Here

Frankly, I’m surprised.

I’m surprised I missed David Crosby’s 65th birthday ten days ago.

I’m surprised that David Crosby REACHED his 65th birthday. Apparently, so is David Crosby. In a Cox news article in anticipation of the CSNY concert this past weekend in Saratoga Springs, Crosby is quoted as saying,”I didn’t think I was gonna live past 30. Gotta remember, I was a junkie – junkies don’t live. They just wait around until they die. So I had no expectation of being this age.”

Anyway, I’ve been playing his music of late, as is my habit with birthdays of performers, and I almost always forget one: the 1999 Live at the Wiltern by CPR. (The Amazon listing is here.) This is a somewhat jazzy disc by a group consisting of Crosby, Jeff Pevar, and James Raymond, a biological son of Crosby that David didn’t know about until a few years ago. Here is a review of the 11/10/1998 concert, which also featured percussionist Steve di Stanislaw and bassist Andrew Ford.

Most of the reviews of the 2-CD set fall into two categories. Fans of CPR really like the first disc, which is primarily tunes from the first CPR studio album, but don’t really enjoy the second disc. Fans of Crosby’s older music tend to find the first disc unfocused and a little boring, but are intrigued by the remakes on disc two of tunes such as Almost Cut My Hair, Eight Miles High and Ohio. I find myself in the latter camp.

But what I really wanted to talk about is the acting career of David Crosby. I saw him on a Roseanne episode, but I remember him best as Chester, the recovering alcoholic on The John Larroquette Show, the AA sponsor for John Hemingway (Larroquette). Crosby appeared four or six times. I thought season one, with that quirky theme by David Cassidy(!), was a great dark comedy. But by season two, the powers that be lightened it up, dropping Crosby (seems as though his character died, but I’m not positive). It is generally considered to have “jumped the shark” after that one great, Crosby-enhanced season.

At the Mike: Wallace

I’ve been watching Mike Wallace for probably 40 years, certainly for the duration of 60 Minutes, which started in 1968. So, I was rather interested in this story from NPR that I happened to catch on the radio that suggests that Wallace, Barbara Walters and Larry King, for three, don’t know how to interview very well.
Then I thought about the interview Wallace did with the head of Iran recently, and I realize that, at least in that instance, the critic may very well have been correct. Wallace’s schtick got in the way of getting actual information. One tends to remember the questions from his interviews more than the answers he gleans. I recall one interview with Ayatollah Khomeini when he suggested that others – not himself – thought of the leader (Arafat?) as a “lunatic”.
I suppose I oughtn’t to pick on an 88-year old man, who indicated in this audio clip from 12/29/2005, “I wouldn’t know what else to do” if he weren’t working, though he’s supposedly semi-retiring.

Mahmood Ahmadinejad’s blog, available in Farsi, English, Arabic and French.
The death of Bruno Kirby last week bothered me for so many reasons:
* He was in two of my favorite movies, The Freshman and Spinal Tap.
* He was in several movies I enjoyed, such as Harry/Sally, City Slickers and Good Morning Vietnam.
* He was fifty-frickin’-seven years old.
(Didn’t know he was in the pilot of the M*A*S*H TV show.)