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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Televison Favs

As I plan my escape from the boob tube, I've become obsessed with television memories (blame She - she started it with a comment on the previous post). Here's some of my favorites from childhood and teen years. What are yours?

The Wonderful World of Disney –I love Tinkerbell to this day, even though my daughter has informed me that Tinkerbell is a bitch – after all, she tried to kill Wendy.

The Ed Sullivan Show – Remember the guy who spun plates? And well I remember Topo Gigo. I loved him! “Hey Eddie, kess-a-me goodnight.”

My Favorite Martian – Starring Ray Walston (who decades later showed up briefly on the show, Picket Fences) and Bill Bixby – before the Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

The Patty Duke Show – But they’re cousins, identical cousins. They laugh alike, they walk alike, sometimes they even talk alike – what a crazy pair!

Julia – A ground-breaking show starring Diahan Carrol (much later of Dynasty fame). Carrol is about 70 now, and still quite the dish.
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show – political parody extraordinaire – but I didn’t know it back then.

The Soupy Sales Show – Soupy aired early in the morning. One of his gags was to look real close in the camera, and in a whisper, instruct children to enter their parents’ bedrooms very quietly, on tip-toe, and take all the money from their fathers’ wallets and send it to Soupy.

Laugh In – The Fickle Finger of Fate and Here Come de Judge – Nixon even made an appearance on the show – can you believe it?

The Smothers Brothers Show – God bless summer replacement shows – Mom always liked them best.

The Prisoner – “Who is number one?” “You are, number nine.” Or was it really, “You are number nine.” The comma makes all the difference.

It Takes a Thief – Pity that Robert Wagner had to grow old.

I Spy – starring a young Bill Cosby (who even back then had some sort of fetish for sweaters - though thankfully not yet of the Cliff Huxtable variety), flush with comic success and trying his hand (quite successfully) at acting. He and Robert Culp made quite the pair.

Star Trek – The FIRST ONE – which in my book, is the ONLY one. “I’m a doctor, Jim, not a knock-off!"

All My Children – I’m talking way back, kids. I watched the very first episode – with the original Phillip, Richard Hatch, who later appeared in The Streets of San Francisco – after Michael Douglas left the show and much later, in the first Battlestar Gallactica series.

Maverick – before Mel and Will ever got their hands on the role.

The Rockford Files – starring James Garner, of Maverick fame, as a PI, living at the beach in a trailer and driving that cool Firebird. Mike Post composed the theme song – which is certainly one of the best TV theme songs EVER.

The Mod Squad – with some of the worst writing, worst acting known to television; yes, with all that competition – Mod Squad can beat any other show in the “worst” category. We watched it all the same- thinking it was so cool. Peggy Lipton often looked morose.

Saturday Night Life – You know, the one that was actually funny!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Unplugging – sorta, kinda, a little bit.

Once upon a time, long ago, back in the day, before there was dirt, you only got about 5 channels on your television set. You didn’t pay anything for this – except the electricity to power the TV, and of course, the TV itself – and mind you, there was only one TV in the house. You didn’t have a remote control – so you had to get up and walk across the room from the easy chair to change the channel. If you were very lucky, you watched at best no more than two cartoon shows on Saturday morning (but not every Saturday – daylight’s burning – go out and play) before Dad took over to watch a football game. You watched maybe one hour of TV of an evening – but not EVERY evening. On Sunday evenings, you might get a little extra time – to watch the beginning of the Ed Sullivan Show after Disney. But only just a little, and only on special occasions. After all, that Ed would sometimes show some pretty racy stuff and besides – Sunday is a school night. It wouldn't work any way to stay up too late watching TV: the networks shut down every evening around midnight. Stations would play the national anthem, show a picture of the US flag, waving majestically in the wind, and then the screen would go grey and black and fuzzy until 6AM, when the local, early morning news shows would start up.

Yeah, for you youngsters – it must sound downright primitive, eh? Can you imagine?

These days, almost every household in America has at least one TV (even if you’re dirt-broke poor – you’ve got TV), and little over a third of us have more than one. The average American watches close to 4 hours of TV a day. We surf through these channels as we sit on our butts – you never have to get up to change the channel. And you can watch 24 hours a day if you like. And the number of networks and channels? There’s a gazillion now.

I have an expanded, basic cable plan and I receive about 100 channels (some folks get 500). But what am I watching? I channel surf amongst maybe 10 channels at best, watching mostly reruns, movies that are edited to death (to spare my innocent ears and eyes of foul language – but not of sex and violence), and stupid news/entertainment shows. Now why am I paying a bundle of dough for 100 channels of crap when I’m really only watching 10 channels of crap? And why am I watching this crap? Aren’t I worth more than that? Don’t I have better things to do with my time, my brain?

I decided to make a change. But I work slowly.

First, I researched what shows or clips of shows I can watch online. I love the Daily Show and the Cobert Report – but I can get that online. I like Countdown with Keith Olbermann, but again – I can get that online – for free.

For what’s new and fresh with pop culture- I can go to You Tube. Again, free.

Then I investigated the radio – wow! What a wealth of possibilities the radio offers. I listen to the radio anyway- time to expand my options. And I can listen to radio either on my computer or my stereo.

Being anal, I made a list of shows online and radio productions I’m interested in. The list is posted prominently in the middle of my refrigerator. Random pictures of my kids and friends have been pushed off to the side to make room for this ever-so-important list.

And then I signed up for Netflix. I can order Rome, The Sopranos, etc. I have 100 selections in my queue: documentaries, foreign films, and yeah – reruns (some of shows I’ve never seen): Rome, The Sopranos, 6 Feet Under. I have the cheap plan, so I only get three DVDs at a time. I’m trying to be moderate.

In the Bay Area, you can’t get regular channels (local, PBS, and the basic networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC) without either an antenna (always temperamental and ready to scorn you at will) or cable. I called the cable company – and discovered they will charge me to downgrade - cause a tech has to come out and block channels from entering my home. Yeah, these channels, they just willy-nilly enter homes at will.

Of course, the tech can’t come for several days, and at that, it is a WINDOW (you know this drill – he’ll arrive anywhere between Monday at 10 AM and Friday at noon – that’s what it feels like, right?).

I am scheduled to go bare bones on the televised media next week.

In the meantime, I am watching as much crap as I can!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Ironical GOP

Ah, irony can be so sweet...

Did you know…

Michael Kamburowski, an Australian citizen, is the California GOP's chief operations officer? Yup, the GOP hired an alien (but not an illegal). To be fair, Kamburowski is in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen. However, he has no previous experience in state politics. His last gig was as a real estate agent – selling property in the Dominican Republic. Ok, so maybe he IS qualified.

Did you know …

In turn Kamburowski hired as State Deputy Political Director Canadian Christopher Matthews (no relation to Hardball’s CM)? Again, Matthews is not experienced in California politics, but he has a HB-1 Visa – though it doesn’t become valid until October.

Political operatives in California are dismayed – after all – the state has a long list of qualified and stellar political consultants and operatives who have worked the California political scene adeptly for years and are also, er, um, citizens who can vote. But apparently, foreign talent is superior – even if that talent lacks political knowledge of the state.

So, we’re outsourcing, in a sense, our political campaigns now. At least the Repubs are. I wonder if a little digging would reveal anything similar on the Dem side.

I have no problem with hiring foreign talent - if we tap our homegrown resources first. One could make the case that because these folks having nothing at stake, they can operate more objectively. Still, there's something not quite right with having individuals who can't even vote in our elections running our political campaigns.

(I found this little tidbit first at the Carpetbagger’s Report, but links led to the San Francisco Chron. CB of course has some interesting and entertaining commentary. )

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

This Body Belongs To Me

Senator Brownback (R, Kan) and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, made a point at the National Catholic Men’s Conference, that even in the case of rape, women should be denied the right to an abortion. (Guess he didn't have the guts to say this to a roomful of women.)

I don’t get it. Why should a woman be forced to be what is essentially nothing more than a vessel? Why should her life, her body, be of less value and consideration than a fetus’s? If Brownback and others have their way, the hapless rape victim will first lose control of her body through the act of rape, and then will once again lose control as she is forced to bring the fetus to term.

Why is the right of a woman to control her body so difficult for some to understand?

At least California’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals understands. The court recently overturned a decision by an immigration judge to deny asylum to a couple from China based on forced abortion. The immigration judge simply could not comprehend how a government edict ordering an abortion is “forced.” But the Circuit Court found that just as forced sterilization is grounds for asylum in the US, so is forced abortion.

The court's decision has nothing to do with fetuses, religion, right-to-life, etc., but everything to do with a woman’s right to control her body. Three cheers for California’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Look, the issue is really rather simple: The right to control one's body is basic. Without this control, one is nothing more than chattel.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Grab-Bag of Online Reading

Andrew Sullivan – a Republican and conservative who backed the Iraq War early on, but switched gears – separating him self not from his conservative roots or Republican party, but from the neocon cohort that has, according to many a “true” conservative” corrupted the Republican party.

Check this out. Although Rush Limbaugh tried to use this video as a dig against Gore and liberals-at-large, I view it for what it was in ’92, and what it really means now – that we, the US, under the auspices of Reagon and Bush I, made our own bed – the messy, horrible, never-a-happy ending, disaster-ridden one we lie in now.

I don’t think Gore was advocating at the time that we invade Iraq, rather, that we should not have cozied up with Iraq in a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend – even if that ‘friend’ is a despot and stands for everything we purport ourselves to be” maneuver.

I’m sure some will say – “well see, in 92 Gore was saying Iraq was developing WMD.” Yeah, yeah – but 1992 is far different than 2003. So, was Bush II relying on 10-year-old intelligence? Hah!

More video! This is a hoot. Loch Ness Monster vs. Ron Paul.

Oh joy – gambling on political futures – more fun than the stock market! (And perhaps just a tad bit more interesting than the so-called debates.)

The originator of this video claims it’s nothing but a joke, and women who are offended by this piece are overly-sensitive. Hah! Surely this video is a scathing indictment of men who are misogynist assholes. For some solid, feminist commentary on this video, see http://www.shakesville.com/2007/06/rape-is-hilarious-put-to-music-edition/.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Political Potpourri

Good job, Nancy!

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi squashed a proposal yesterday that would have pre-empted California’s exemplar attempt to reduce carbon emissions (i.e., pretty much telling carmakers “if you want to sell cars in California, better make ‘em more fuel-efficient). The proposal, cooked up by Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., both leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee (and proof that Republicans aren’t the only idiots around) would have expressly prohibited the EPA from granting the great state of California (and any other enlightened state for that matter) from enacting emission rules more stringent than those currently if effect by the Feds.

More atta-girls for Pelosi and the Dems: William Jefferson (recently arrested on corruption charges) was removed from his place on the Ways and Means Committee and the House is moving rapidly to investigate. My, what a contrast this is to how the Repubs handled DeLay (for whom they changed the rules to protect). Hopefully, the Dems will continue to show their integrity, and unlike the Repubs (who worked mightily to protect DeLay), will not shelter Jefferson from the consequences of his actions.

In the meantime, anyone as colossally bored as I am with the weak, tepid, juvenile, and less than intellectually rigorous Republican and Democratic “debates”? What’s with this trend of discussing complicated issues with a mere “showing of hands” that indicate a yes/no response, instead of a reasoned debate that explores the issues, if not fully, at least with some attempt to dive below the surface? These debates are (as they have been for quite some time) so light, they could float off into the atmosphere and with their blather and bluster – truly nothin’ but a blast of hot air – contribute mightily to the greenhouse effect. These debates may just accelerate Greenland’s rapidly melting ice (which of course, will mightily effect the East Coast, possibly requiring New Hampshirians to pull up to the polling places in boats come January).

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Natural Culling of Males

A recent study shows that the population of males on our planet is declining. Yes indeed, fewer males are being born and fewer males make it past infancy – and this is a worldwide trend. Mother Nature is “culling” the male population in a “systemic fashion.”


Although the true cause is yet to be known, researchers suspect environmental factors. While females seem better able to withstand the assault of “gender-bending pollutants,” it’s getting harder to conceive a male, harder to bring one to term, and harder for the poor dears to survive in the early years.

In the tradition of Jerry Falwell, may I suggest that perhaps this is God’s punishment on males?

So men, heed the warning – make some changes:

Put down the toilet seat
Pick up your socks
Ask for directions
Share your emotions
Stop beating your wives, daughters, sisters, etc.
Relinquish all attempts to control women’s bodies
Change your war-mongering ways
Moderate your obsessions with sports and video games
And cease the farting and belching as well

before God weeds you out!

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