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April 16, 2006 - April 22, 2006 Archives

April 16, 2006


I was listening to some music when Fran walked by and said "hey, that's our song this year."

She didn't mean our wedding song.

The song in question was the Mountain Goats' "This Year," which ends with these lyrics:

    There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year
    I am going to make it through this year if it kills me
    I am going to make it through this year if it kills me

Yyyyyyep. That's the plan.



One of the many good things about "The Sopranos" is its subtlety, the way themes are woven through episodes and only become apparent near the end, as you put the pieces together. This season, it hasn't been that subtle, and tonight was the equivalent of David Chase hitting viewers repeatedly over the head with a bat.

Independence! Freedom! Breaking away! We get it already!

In case you didn't piece it together from Meadow's Bush rant, Carmela's trials with that new house and her wistful reaction at the body shop, Meadow's new job, Tony's consideration of letting Vito back in the family, and Vito's throwing his phone away and wandering New Hampshire in a daze, you got the last scene with Vito looking at the "Live Free or DIe" license plate and discussing pottery- he's a natural, don't you know- while X's "Fourth of July"- hey, that's Independence Day!- sweills on the soundtrack. Following last week's Vulnerability-O-Rama, it's disturbing to see this show become formulaic. It's starting to become "House"-like in its predictability: you know "The Sopranos" will set a theme and beat it to death in several different ways as surely as "House" will follow its stock script (baffling ailment, House dismisses it, gets worse, white board, House and team disagree, MRI, House is wrong, it gets worse, MRI, House is wrong again, more white board, House puts it together, team disagrees, he ignores them, patient saved, the end; throw in a few clinic and Cuddy scenes for comic relief). "House" is a very good show with a great lead performance; "The Sopranos" is a great show, period. But if the latter keeps up with the lack of subtlety, that assessment may be due for revision.

No matter- next week, Doogie Howser's pal Vinnie gets violent and Artie Bucco hits some turbulence. Promising.


April 17, 2006


Late day. We had to run up to Westwood again for a late appointment and just got back, so nothing of importance here. You can go read Lileks again or something. He's funnier and more perceptive, anyway.

I don't know how people do the whole commuting thing. All we had to do is go in mid-afternoon and then return at the end of rush hour, and it took everything out of me. I'm exhausted. Given that I used to do this every day- for a few months, back east, I even commuted about 90 miles each way- I don't know how I did it. By the end of today's round trip, I was gripping the steering wheel so hard that it almost disintegrated.

Guess what we have to do at least twice more this week?


April 18, 2006


I can usually let criticism kinda just float by without caring much. And I'm doing that this evening, but my general crappy mood after spending most of the day in waiting rooms and on the 405 freeway has me reacting to stuff I shouldn't care about. Take the weekly "The Letter From All Access News-Talk-Sports" newsletter: I send it out on Tuesdays and get a lot of very positive comments. The response is mostly fan mail. But for every dozen "I love it, keep it up" e-mails, I get, there are a few dissenters.

Here's one:

    Don't know the purpose of your letters, but you can drop me from you list. Boring.

    The Very Best,
    (Name redacted)

OK, I couldn't resist, so I looked the guy up. He's- surprise!- a consultant. You go to his web site and you get an audio clip of him using his old-timey Professional Radio Announcer voice, and when you check his credentials, he claims success in several formats, one of which is talk radio. But he specializes in AM talk radio, old-style talk radio, just-sign-Rush load-up-with-syndication talk radio. And if that didn't explain his antipathy, well, then you click on the part where he has show prep and other "tools" and, lo and behold, he's SELLING it. No wonder he doesn't like my stuff- it's competition, and it's free.

Ah, I feel much better about that now.

But here's another:

    why do you send me your random thoughts about nothing?

    (Name redacted)

Er, because you signed up for it, genius.

Looked him up, too. Former morning man at an Adult Standards station. He played the hits of 1947. Then, when he was canned, he went to another station and lasted a few months.

Schadenfreude's fun. Try it sometimes. (And pray that they don't get to practice it on YOU)

But then I get this:

    Just want to say that I really enjoy "The Letter" you send out. Good stuff.

    Felt like giving you a feel good I guess!

And suddenly the sun's shining again, even at 8:30 pm.

So it's petty. It's what I do.



What's wrong with the Phillies?

Other than not hitting, lousy relief pitching, and terrible defense? And a manager with no clue at all?

Here's a quote from tonight, after Bobby Abreu (accidental Gold Glove winner last year) misplayed two consecutive fly balls into doubles:

    "I'm human," said the longtime Phillies star, who won a National League Gold Glove last year. "I can handle [the fans], but it's a tough city to play in, sometimes. They want me to catch every single ball hit to me in right field."

Well, yeah, Bobby, that's generally the idea.

This could be a long season.


April 19, 2006


Got back too late. Spent all day at the medical center, so I'm done for the day. But for those of you who're keeping score, today's medical news was generally good, and we won't have to slog up to UCLA in 5 mph traffic again anytime soon, so you can expect my mood to brighten considerably here.

Until Vegas. Conventions can suck the positivity from anything. But that's Sunday. Right now, all I want to do is go hug Fran and watch some mindless TV. So that's what I'm gonna do.


April 20, 2006


Noted without comment, from 1978:

Remember when all VCRs looked like this? With rotary channel dials and big clunky mechanical play/record/FF/rewind buttons? On-screen programming was a long way off.

We had a Beta machine. It was actually quite good- the video quality beat VHS. But the tapes didn't hold as much and after a while you couldn't find rental tapes in Beta, and soon enough Beta was relegated to the pro category and everyone had a VHS machine. And now we have DVRs throughout the house.

No, it doesn't mean anything. Just happened upon the ad in an old magazine. In this case, progress was a good thing. But once upon a time, Betamax was actually a cool thing.


April 21, 2006


Defendant: ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons

Charge: Lameness

Evidence: NBA playoff preview column using his regular crutch... er, style of using quotes from movies to bullet-point his analysis, except this time he used Pearl Jam lyrics

Verdict: Guilty. Very guilty.

Doug Llewellyn recap: Pearl Jam? PEARL JAM? Dude. It's 2006. Couldn't remember any Alice in Chains lyrics, I guess.

Mitigating Factor: At least it's not as painful as when he talks about hip-hop, with liberal references to meeting the artists on the Kimmel set.

Editor's Note: Yeah, I know, I have my crutches, too (and it's high time I started scanning stuff from old TV Guides and basketball programs again, isn't it?). But at least I don't quote Eddie Vedder.


April 22, 2006


Going up to the NAB tomorrow. I'm gonna try to spend as short a time as possible and still cover everything I need to cover. Two days at a time is about all I can take of that thing.

I looked over the agenda and I don't have a lot of hope that there's gonna be a lot of radio news at this convention. The congressweasels are all staying home, nobody ever asks the FCC commissioners tough questions, and it's mostly a TV thing. The convention is also way, way oversized- the LVCC takes forever to get around, everything is a long, hot walk from everything else, the wi-fi never seems to work in the session rooms, and I never see anyone I know at the Spring show- it's all TV people, engineers, and the requisite tight-ass white guys in suits. The RTNDA part is a little better- a few folks I know show up- but it's still not really a radio show. At some point, the NAB ought to just take the radio luncheon, the awards, and all the radio tech displays and move them to the fall show where you get all radio people. They won't. They should, but that's too much to ask.

So I gotta go to two NAB events, wander aimlessly, pound out copy from the platitudes at the sessions, and plan my escape. I'm already doing the latter, and I haven't even left home yet.


About April 2006

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in April 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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