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April 30, 2006 - May 6, 2006 Archives

April 30, 2006


It's the Gentrification Hour!

Bookended by the comic "there goes the neighborhood" North Ward collection tour, we learned that A.J. is truly Tony's son, complete with panic attacks (memo to Mr. Chase: bring back the ducks!), but can't pull off the tough guy stuff yet. After failing to carve Unca Junior into cold cuts, there's a touching scene in which A.J. calls out his dad for being a hypocrite for loving a revenge scene in "The Godfather" and Tony reminds him "it's just a movie." Along with another scene of A.J. watching a movie on the monitor at Blockbuster, there was some multilayer fiction/reality stuff happening there, still a little heavy-handed but we'll give 'em a pass on it.

The slow and by now pretty boring Vito subplot introduces the Screaming Queen Fire Department, the last vestiges of Vito's self-loathing/denial, and New Hampshire Public Radio, just to remind you that he's still up there. Melfi's back to seeing Peter Bogdanovich for some pointless padding, while Tony sells a building- after some token "it would be a shame to change the neighborhood" stuff- to Julianna Margulies, who plays a real estate agent Tony almost boinks and who also is named "Julianna." They couldn't come up with an actual character name?

Good: Reasonably entertaining. Bad: Didn't really advance the story- just more "insights into characters we already pretty much figured out." No Paulie Walnuts, although next week promises to be a Paulie-fest with a climactic confrontation with, of all people, Bobby Bacala. And what is this with each episode showcasing one or two characters? Last week, it was Christopher in L.A. and the Benny-Artie conflict. This week, it was all A.J. and Vito. Next week, it's Paulie's turn. Silvio had his episode, Johnny Sack had his... Considering the intent to wrap this up in reasonably few episodes, I'd expect more action, more momentum, more conflict. But I'm not complaining. Not too much.


May 1, 2006


I have been in one ragingly bad mood for a week or so. Part of it is sleep deprivation- thanks, Ella- and part of it is overwork and part of it is plain ol' stress. Plus, my knees are acting up. However, I did, finally, after over a month, get back to the gym this afternoon. I will be feeling it tomorrow. But I needed it- you lay off for even a few days and all the muscle turns into tapioca, and I've been away from the weights way longer than that.

The gym was crowded today- more teenagers than usual for a midday. (No, not because of the boycott- they were all spiky-haired Asian hipster dudes, a couple in frighteningly tight wifebeater T's, a look that I would imagine would be quite popular in some circles but doesn't really fit at a suburban, utilitarian Y) I managed to get all the desired exercises in, and now I'm home, aching, in dire need of ibuprofen, wondering why I put myself through this torture.

Of course, I know why. You don't get to look like this by just sitting around the house. You need plenty of chocolate, too. And THAT'S why I needed to hit the gym today. It had better work.


May 2, 2006


Sometimes, when I write stuff for pay, I agonize over every word, edit and re-edit and read it out loud and rewrite and do the whole thing over and over and over until it's in some useable form, and I send it off and get no reaction.

And other times, I wait until the last minute, dash off something as an afterthought, ship it out thinking "that'll have to do," and it gets huge response.

You'd think I'd learn something from experience.

This week's All Access newsletter took about five times as long to write as last week's. Last week's received a ton of response, 99% favorable, most wildly so. This week's... well, it hasn't gone out yet. Maybe it'll be an exception to the rule. But when your best-received work is the stuff you crank out at the last minute- the stuff I sold for TV use was all written at the very last minute, and one sketch that made it to production was written longhand on a legal pad while sitting a few rows behind the goal at a Kings-Flyers game at the Forum the night before deadline- it should be considered a lesson: just crank it out, don't edit, don't even think about it. Just write, baby.

Or maybe the lesson is this: as long as the check clears, it doesn't matter. But I care too much to believe that.

Actually, I think the lesson is this: it's late, you're rambling, go to bed.

But this is apparently when I do my best work....


May 3, 2006


Every muscle in my body hurts right now. I made it through a workout at the gym, but I'm feeling it now. And I have absolutely no energy- I couldn't get energized enough to drive up to the stadium for the Dodger game tonight. I couldn't even get energized enough to walk to the car to drive anywhere. I don't even have the energy to write at the moment, or scan anything.

Gonna go sleep it off now.


May 4, 2006


What have we learned from today's events at the Susquehanna radio stations, where several employees discovered that they won't be around when Cumulus officially takes over?

It's simple: if you work in radio today, your job is to make more money for your employer than if you weren't around. It's not good enough to be great at your job. It doesn't matter if you're horrible at your job. What matters is your salary, and whether the corporate guys think that the station can run without you. (Hint: it can) Quality is not job one. Pleasing Wall Street and continuing to enable the bosses to drive matching expensive sports cars- that's job one, and the sooner you understand that, the happier you'll be.

And the sooner you'll look for a job in another industry, but that's a separate issue.

(Really, I wish y'all the best of luck finding a new job in radio. Can't help you much, but I wish you luck...)



I keep hearing that Wadsworth Mansion song on both Sirius and XM oldies channels, so I had to look it up.

Number 7?!?

It was a top 10 hit? I swear, I remember listening to the radio in 1970. I listened to WABC obsessively, WABC and WFIL and at night WKBW and WLS and Super CFL and The Big 8 CKLW and anything else I could pull in on our little transistor in the brown case. Wadsworth Mansion? "Sweet Mary"? Rings no bell at all. I remember all sorts of obscurities, but that one just slipped right on by.

Number 7? Impossible. But there it is.

I'm slipping. I should know that one. And I was PD of an oldies station once upon a time. I feel such shame.


May 5, 2006


Dear Abby, or Ann, or whoever's answering that stuff these days:

I am a longtime radio professional who's worked on a lot of high-profile shows and stations, and I've been privileged enough to be responsible for the development of several talk shows. Unfortunately, I've rarely received full credit for my work; I've been kept in the background, and while the hosts of these shows are quick to recognize my contributions in private, when a reporter comes calling, they rarely recall my name. Since I, and they, know what I've done, I've let it pass, for the most part, but I admit it can become annoying.

Today, I received a copy of a trade magazine with a major cover story on a show that briefly existed over a decade ago and was way ahead of its time. It was a show that came about because I needed to replace a departing show and decided that it would be interesting to pair two of my solo hosts, who were constantly sniping at each other off the air. I thought it might be amusing at worst and great radio at best to take these two prodigiously talented personalities and put them on the same show. When I mentioned it to our consultant, he gave me some wise advice on how to broach the subject, and it worked. The show did well and went into syndication in less than a year. The article chronicles the story of the show, interviewing the hosts and including all the people deemed to have contributed to the show's success.

Except one.

Oh, I do get mentioned, but in passing, with the wrong title and as if I had nothing to do with the show. Program directors with whom the team never worked get the same number of mentions. I definitely don't get credit for helping create the show, helping guide it, talking each host down from the ledge when nerves got frayed. Oh, well, that's show biz.

But here's the larger problem. I help a lot of people in the business. I've helped people get jobs, get publicity, advance their careers. I don't get paid for that, and I don't seek payment- it's just kinda what I do. But I tend not to get credit for it, and in some cases even thanks. (Some do return the favor, and it's nice. Most don't.) And now I'm questioning whether this is all worth it. Am I wasting my time? Is there some kind of karmic thing involved here? Why, O Lord, why?


Bruised Ego in California

Dear Bruised,

Stop whining, shut up, and go away. Never heard of you.


Abby and Ann From Beyond the Grave

P.S.: Them's the breaks, loser.


May 6, 2006


Every time, it's the same thing.

It's a movie theater. How hard is it not to talk in a movie theater? How hard is it not to talk LOUD in a movie theater?

This time, it was two older women, a pair of yentas who refused to stop chatting through the commercials, the trailers, and, finally, after the movie started, they STILL continued to talk. I asked them to quiet down during the credits- "shh, the movie's started"- but they kept going, so I gave it a little more force.

"Excuse me, but the movie's started. Will you PLEASE SHUT UP?"

"Hmmph," they responded. One sarcastically said "oh, he might miss some dialogue," as if the absence of dialogue is a signal for the audience to start chattering again.

"Shut the f up," I cheerily repeated, only I didn't say "f." And they kept it down, but not totally off, prompting a woman sitting in front of them to move her seat halfway through the movie.

We all know that young audiences can't distinguish between being at a theater in public and watching a DVD at home. But now it's 60-ish women on a Saturday matinee excursion sans husbands (and no wonder the husbands weren't with them). Nobody will just shut the hell up anymore.

That was the first movie we'd seen in the theater for several months. It'll be the last for a while. We can't be alone on this.

(The movie? "Thank You For Smoking." Entertaining except for one horrible miscasting: Katie Holmes, who can't pull off the sexy-but-hardbitten-ace-reporter/maneater at all. And she looks terrible, too, almost a young, thin Peter Lorre-in-drag. But I'll bet the studio thought she'd bring in the kids)


About April 2006

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

April 23, 2006 - April 29, 2006 is the previous archive.

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