Thursday, July 28, 2011

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Recovering DJ has moved!

Join the Recovering DJ now on my own domain name!! Site is under some construction, but feel free to take a look around now!

The Recovering DJ

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Sesame Street" is old and so are you, deal with it

"Sesame Street" turned 40 this month, an anniversary that made me think, “Really, 40 years??”

I still distinctly remember the first episode. I really do. There were cows in it and funny little characters and I was hooked from day one.

I learned all kinds of things from that show, like everyone can be friends no matter if they are tall or in a garbage can or red or blue or yellow. I learned letters and shapes and how to count to 10 in Spanish. I sometimes wish I had learned more of another language as a yongerser, I think it would have stuck with me a lot longer.

"Sesame Street" was my gateway show to all other television programming, since it is the first show I can remember watching.

Some other favorite kid shows were "Mr Dressup" with Casey and Finnegan on the CBC out of Winsor. Mr Dressup was a mellow "Mr. Rogers", if there could be anyone more soft spoken the the Rog. I loved "Mr. Rogers" too, I even had his complete albumn collection, a fact I finaly don’t care about mentioning anymore.

"Mr Dressup" intro

It's from Mr. Rogers that I learned how how to spell friend. The song "You are Special" spelled it out, and my constant singing of the song helped me sort out the “i before e” issue in spelling tests. I’d conjure up the phrase “F-R-I-E-N-D, special you are my friend, you’re special to me” and get it right every time. I wish more spelling had been set to music.

Of course there was Captain Kangaroo, and the clowns-"Bozo", who was the nation's clown,( insert your own "nation's clown" joke here) and "Oopsy" who was a Detroiter. And the zany shows like "The Electric Company" from the '70's (which is being revived) and "Zoom" we really had alot goin'on back in the day.

I look at some of the shows kids have now and I feel bad for them, ha ha.

Some great old school Detroit sites:

Detroit Memories

Detroit Kid's Shows

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nostalgia for the old foods

It's nostalgia time.

I don't know if it's because the holidays are a rambling around the corner or the winds are a rollin' and the days are getting shorter, but I've been thinking about "old school foods" if there is such a thing. The foods that were a comfort then, that probably wouldn't be now, but I can't help think about them and smile.

I was watching a news clip the other day about kids and sugar cereal, and how food companies are marketing “bad” cereals to kids. Nice to know that age old battle is still going on. We were fortunate to have parents who knew better, but man at the time it certainly didn't feel that way. Mom was not big on buying us the "good" cereals, although occasionally we wore her down. And that box full of crunchy high fructose goodness was like a slice of another life.

Oh how tastes change...

Ironically, I now favor cereals like Kashi and Raisin Bran, but back in the day the faves were Freakies (I believe there was a regular version and a fruity version) as well as Grins, Smiles, Giggles and Laughs. Really the same cereals, just different shapes. And the FABULOUS free prize in every box. They were almost as cool as Cracker Jacks.

Other munchies from back in the day: Space Food Sticks. They were marketed as "foo
d the astronauts eat", energy bars for the 70's before Luna and Power Bars came around. It was implied they had great nutritional value, but I'm not so sure about that now. They were basically a long chocolate or peanut butter Tootsie Roll. The last thing you need is a bunch of guys in space bouncing around a 100 square-foot tin can on a sugar rush. But they were certainly good at lunch or snack time.

Fruit Float
was a favorite desert in the household. I believe I favored strawberry while my sister liked peach. It was a can of something fruity, you a
dded milk, stirred it up and instant desert! It was jello and pudding like all at the same time. As a wordsmith even than I loved the commercials where an announcer would go around and ask people to say "Fruit Float" three times fast. I couldn't find that one, but this one is a hoot.

What's your old school food?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Recovering DJ Review: Michael Jackson’s “This Is It”

I don’t go to the movies much. And I don’t watch videos or concert films, like ever. But I really wanted to see “This Is It”, for reasons that seem morbid and silly. I never got a chance to see MJ live, so I thought this might be the next best thing. He still is one of the greatest and talented entertainers of my decade and I was curious to see what made him tick.

If you think about it, the flick’s title is chilling, although “This Is It” that was the name of the 40 or so London shows he would have put on. Unless you have been under a huge rock since June, the untimely death of Michael Jackson spurred the release of this rehearsal footage, which turned out to be his final days.

Lovingly put together by long time collaborator Kenny Ortega, it's a voyeuristic glimpse into MJ and his hardworking cavalcade of dancers, singers, musicians and technicians creating a colossal concert. It’s an inside view of what went on in the dance sessions, in some of the additional videos that were cut for the big screen behind the stage, and all the other nuts and bolts that made up this huge endeavor. And then some of MJ’s best tunes- finished dress rehearsal clips are shown. I could not keep back the tears over how wonderful it all was.

What you’d think would be a big showy spectacle is more like a documentary that is at times very personal and touching. A glimpse into a man overshadowed by myth and legend. A perfectionist, he wanted to put on the best show ever for his loyal fans. And all the members of his staff wanted to be a part of that too. Many of the people were happy for the chance, honored to be working with someone with actual skills.

And oh those skills! At 50 his voice was still strong and vibrant. His moves were still fluid and he really seemed to be…Happy!

That’s what gets you, the realization that he seemed ok…even working the long endless hours with relative ease, you wonder “what if " tragedy had not happened.

It’s a movie for MJ fans, or students of stardom. It’s a last look at how one of the few truly talented entertainers did it, before the American Idol’s, Brit Brit’s and super processed “stars” take over it all.

I can’t wait for the DVD to come out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Soup to nuts, Soup was nuts!

On all things soup

Soup is warm. Soup is nourishing. Soup is SUPER!

Soup is funny.

I’ve been ruminating on soup today, ever since I heard the news that Soupy Sales went to that great laugh factory in the sky last night. I know some people might be unfamiliar with the comedy stylings of Mr. Sales. I myself have a small nugget of knowledge about the man, which ironically has to do little bit to do with soup.

Mr. Sales was known for throwing pies into the faces of thousands of people and a silly style of humor. Pee Wee Herman is said to have “borrowed” some of his act from Soupy, and even SNL paid homage to his stunts. If you liked him as a kid, his antics stay with you in the back of your dark recess of a mind.

Soupy was a comedian who started out essentially in Detroit. He hosted “Lunch with Soupy” in the late 50’s and early 60’. It was a zany midday sketch show on Motown’s ABC affiliate WXYT-7. The show was so successful the station created a nighttime version of his show, which was a bit more adult and incidentally featured some great jazz artists of the time. He was raking in the dough and he helped the network tremendously. But like anyone who’s not actually from Detroit, he left to go to bigger markets, L.A and NY.

I realize now I saw all his shows in reruns. As a kid, I thought Soupy was this funny, goofy guy in Detroit who waited for me to turn on the TV so I could be amused.

Even then it was all about me.

I have fond memories of coming home for lunch, (my elementary was in our backyard) and slurping up steaming bowl of chicken noodle perched on a TV Tray chuckling at the old Zenith. That had 3 channels. Channels you had to get up and change, no remote, horror of horrors.

Reading about him today and going through some old clips, I also realize he was one of those guys that didn’t talk down to kids. His show featured real music, like Motown and jazz, not pre-made over processed bubble gum crap. Soupy also thought that executives were ruining the business. Something we all know continues today in TV and radio. His comedy might have been a little “punny” but he certainly kept the pie industry going.

They don’t make ‘em like the used to, that's for sure.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday music-what songs take you back?

Wrapping up last week’s TV week and on to this week’s flavor…music.

Everyone has ‘em…whether you’re into music big time or only a causal listener. The Songs That Take You Back. You know what I mean, the tunes that transport you to “back in the day”, suddenly remind you of a past place in such a vivid way that if you close your eyes and turn up the volume, you’re almost there.

The first dance in junior high, the first album you bought, the first band you saw in concert, the first kiss, The one song you played over and over again until someone in your household told you to knock it off.

We all have ‘em, and we forget. I have songs that remind me of my elementary days, my high school days, my radio days, when I lived in Ohio, when I lived in New Jersey, etc etc. Half the time, I forget they’re around, as they lie dormant in the back of my full of useless information head.

The other day I actually found myself driving and horror of horrors in a bit of traffic jam. I did what people do when stuck in a non-moving vehicle…fiddle with the radio. And lo and behold, I forgot for a moment I was stuck in Seattle somewhere, and instead was transformed to the Bonaventure Rolling Rink, full of popcorn, frozen cherry coke and dreams while jammin’ with my friends. All while on roller skates.

The song? “ Best of My Love” by The Emotions. I had the 45 and as I cranked the volume way past 11, I could see the Columbia label in my head. I did a little seat dance, (arms and head only, as I was still in a car), sang the lyrics as loud as I could and as the traffic began to move, hardly noticed people were looking at me like I was crazy.

What song takes you back?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Random Friday comments

Here's a pet peeve of mine, among many...why are you sent a "confirmation e-mail" when you UNsubscribe from a newsletter. I just told you I don't want you to send anything to me and you turn around and do it again. I'm thinking NOT sending me anything anymore is confirmation enough. That's just me.

No real spoilers...I thought last night's episode of "The Office" was the best ever-click to read my two cents.

Also, "Community" is turning out to be one of my new favorites. Just a little background-it's a show about a wide variety of individuals of various ages who are attending a community college.

Abed and Troy have some incredibly hilarious bits at the end of each episode. Check it out on Hulu or NBC. This bit is after an episode about the gang's Spanish class, and what the boys do with the only Spanish words they know.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The new "Must See" Thursday

Wrapping up my compelling series on “What the Recovering DJ Watches” we come to what I consider to be the best night on television. What used to be “Must See TV” on NBC is now, “Must DVR and Watch Later” for ABC and NBC shows.

And since I don't want to shamefully admit I still watch "Grey's Anatomy", here's a capsule of some new Thursday night shows.

Parks & Recreation

Not really a brand new show, but I’m thinking it’s new to many. I watched an episode in April and it didn’t do a whole lot for me, but I gave it another shot for the lovely Amy Poehler’s sake..and I’m not disappointed. There are some funny bits in the episode I recently viewed called “Stakeout” and I will definitely catch it when I can. It goes a bit too far on the quirky side at times, but there are some sharp moments that make it a standout. You can watch full episodes on Hulu, for free.


The pilot was a little uneven, but I got some laughs out of it. And it’s getting better. Joel McHale who grew up in Seattle , is cute and funny and Chevy Chase isn’t as awkward as he could be, a dash of him goes along way, and the producers seem to grasp that. The supporting actors are great, although for some reason I'm bothered that Alison Brie, who is also in Mad Men is in the show, mostly because I think that it is a bit hoggish to take two parts. Also, does that mean Community or Mad Men will be cancelled and she's hedging her bets? These are the things I think about.

Flash Forward

This is the “Lost” replacement until next year. I’ve only watched the pilot, but truthfully it wigged me out. In a good way. I woke up in the middle of the night contemplating the kooky crazy plot line. That’s a good show in my book.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday TV

This week's television recommendations continue....

Wednesday aren't really a "good night" for TV traditionally in the Recovering DJ household, unless "Lost" is on. But I've stumbled across two shows that might not be completely horrible sitcoms. Half hour comedies that aren't "Seinfeld" but they might be able to fill the vast void for a moment Jerry and the gang left behind.

Modern Family

A quirky show featuring a few veteran TV Actors Like Ed O'Neill of "Married with Children" a show I wasn't really fond of, and Julie Bowen of the underrated "Ed" and a wide variety of other shows. The family consists of Ed O'Neill and his new young wife and son, his daughter and her family and his son and his partner.

I've only watched the pilot, but there were some funny bits involving cream puffs and disciplining a child that shot his sister with a BB gun. I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time.

Cougar Town

A wink, wink, nudge nudge at the whole "cougar" phenomenon, in which older women seduce younger men...I myself just get exhausted thinking about it. I think the town high school has a cougar for a mascot too. At any rate, not being the biggest fan of Courteney Cox, I do give her credit for being the hardest working of the "Friend's" since that show ended...another sitcom that has stood the test of time, and that seems to escape imitation, although very often it is indeed hopelessly emulated.

Again, only watched the pilot but the show had some surprisingly funny moments. For me personally there was a bit of an ick factor. But that's just me. It's one of those shows that might hang on these days, because...well there isn't really anything else.

Cute trivia from IMDB: The show is set in Florida. With the exception of the pilot, season 1 episodes are named after Tom Petty songs, Mr. Petty being a Floridian and all, I think it's pretty funny...and it's the little things like this that will keep me watching. I'm pretty easily amused like that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall TV part deux

The other day I covered my TV viewing suggestions for Fri-Mon. I forget to mention again of course I watch “ Mad Men” Sundays on AMC, but I don ‘t always watch when scheduled. AMC does a great job of posting the show On Demand for free.

An On Demand digression…

NBC charges for On Demand, only 99, that’s just ridiculous. If the networks want us to watch their shows…they should post all of them to On Demand for free, with the spots (commercials) in it and everything. And watch their total viewership go up.

End of rant.

Now I'm getting to the core of the TV viewing week, the days my beloved DVR is truly living for.

Tuesday’s means only two shows for me. "Melrose" and "Wife"

Melrose Place

I was never a "90210" fan only "Melrose Place", which is something I can’t explain; it's just the way it is. Melrose is a gianormous guilty pleasure I’ve never gotten over, so obviously I’ve been looking forward to the reboot since it was announced. And it has not disappointed.

Slicked up for the 00’s, the music is contemporary and the outfit so right now.The characters are not completely memorable but appropriate to the spirit of the show and the crazy casting of the bug-eyed, creepy Simpson-Wenz girl sort of works, she DOES look like Sydney. I’ll give her that. The addition of Michael, Sydney and now Jane seems rather seamless. Of course, I’m looking forward to the return of Amanda, it just seems appropriate.

“Relationships are complicated, cooking comes with instructions, " Auggie. It’s lines like this that make the guilt go away, ha ha. It’s trash TV people, not fine lit, so take it or leave it.

The Good Wife

For me, a big surprise this Fall Season is “The Good Wife”. I’m honestly not a Julianna Margulies fan or foe, there being that fine line between love and hate that both imply emotion.

And frankly I think Chris Noth is over-exposed, playing all his characters the same exact way in different shows. Not that I don't think he’s hot

But back to JM- she does a wonderful job playing the part soft spoken when it could easily be screechy and hysterical. I see now her ER character was annoying to me and also she was mackin’ on Geogre Cloony. This is a personal blog people, not a high minded critical writing spot.

At any rate, it's many members of the remaining cast that makes me happy.

I'm glad to see Josh Charles, playing JM's former colleague and new boss. Josh, formerly of the critcally acclaimed, never watched by anyone but my hubby and I, “Sports Night” seem to immensly help the careers of Felicity Huffman and Peter Krause but Josh Charles, who was “the star” disappeared. At any rate, it's good too see him.

Christine Baranski too, is another actress I really enjoy. Loved her in "Cybil" and “The Bird Cage” She's one of those character actors its just nice to run into.

I finally had to google the woman who plays an assistant at the law firm JM works at because it was driving me nuts, and I couldn't figure it out. It's Archie Panjabi who played the older sister in Bend It Like Beckham

Toss in the Rory’s last boyfriend on "Gilmore Girls"Matt Czuchry, and this show is full of actors I enjoy. The writing isn’t bad, the “ripped from the headlines” topical nature behind the storyline is not too overwrought. The husband’s a slime ball politician who actually went to jail in this one, and the wife went back to work. Her character isn’t defined so much as what we see now, but I think despite the fact we need another lawyer show like we need another hospital show, the "Good Wife" will do good.

Comin' up....two new shows for Wednesday

Friday, October 2, 2009

Some call it Fall season, I call it TV season

I’m not ashamed to admit it, I unabashedly love television, especially when the new fall season kicks in. It's like the beginning of a sporting season…you wonder which team will make it to the finals, (renewed or an Emmy nod) and who will be gone?

Yes, I know TV is mindless entertainment at times. But don’t you want entertainment to be somewhat pointless? I mean, then it's not entertainment…it's work.

Sometimes I view a show for story arc and dialogue. You can learn a lot about writing by watching TV. Good shows for what works. Bad shows intrigue me. I wonder: why does this show suck? What would make it better?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus made a comment at this year’s “Emmy Awards” that this is "the last official year of network television”

I disagree. Radio was supposed to die years ago and it's still kickin’ along. The networks should adjust to the way things are…people don’t want to be, or can’t be…tied to time schedules
. Hence the proliferation of DVR’s, on demand and online viewing.

The Tube still rules!

Recovering DJ Recommends:
Here’s a list of what I generally watch Fri-Mon


I don’t really watch TV on Friday. I understand “Ugly Betty” has been bumped to TGIF, so I’ll catch it on the DVR. Enough with the braces already girlfriend! I think at this point the show is a goner. Friday nights seem to be the path to the television graveyard now, a far cry from the 70’s where shows like “The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family” ruled the roost.


For me, this seems to be the day of sports, old movie reruns, and sometimes “SNL.” If a show is scheduled on Saturday nights, it also seems be the beginning of it's demise. I honestly couldn't tell you what is on Saturday night prime time, but I can remember watching “Love Boat” on Saturday nights and BEGGING to stay up and watch “Fantasy Island”, which I don’t think was allowed very much. I LOVED “Love Boat.”

And now the theme song is in my head, and probably will be all day.


The former night of the wholesome “The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” and of course my beloved “Hardy Boy/Nancy Drew Mysteries” is now “Family Guy”/”American Dad “night, which I catch if I can. I love Seth MacFarlane. I used to watch “Desperate Housewives and “Brothers & Sisters” for a bit…but honestly all you have to do is watch the promos and you pretty much keep up with these shows. I can’t be expected to watch everything for heaven’s sake.


This is “Gossip Girl” night, which I know has some harebrained storylines, but I can’t help it. It’s a GP (guilty pleasure). I’ve come to realize I watch it mostly for the stunning scenes of the show’s co-star-NYC. Recently, Serena and Blair were sitting on the steps of my favorite place in the world, the Metropolitan Museum and I just, welled up a bit, but then smiled through my tears. That’s what TV does to me sometimes.

I generally actually watch the CBS “comedy” line-up, and then DVR “Gossip Girl” Certain people in my household will not tolerate any shows on the CW.

Most sitcoms are hardly funny anymore, with the great exception of the supremely under rated “How I Met Your Mother” HIMYM is superior to “30 Rock “and so much funnier than “ 2 ½ men “ which I think is just OVER with a capital “O”. And Jon Cryer will always be Ducky from “Pretty in Pink”.

“Accidently on Purpose” the new Jenna Elfman vehicle, is more accident than purpose. I never got her appeal. But I will admit to warming up to “Big Bang Theory” which I thought was awful at first, but the nerdy characters are really growing on me. After that I generally watch “CSI Miami” the only CSI show I ever catch. For some reason I tend to fall asleep early on Monday’s, not sure if it's the show lulling me to sleep, or my weekends wear me out. Probably a bit of both.

Coming up next week-Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday viewing and new show recommendations!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Milestone: 100th post and The Recovering DJ turns 1

We love milestones. Anniversaries. Points along the way to trumpet our progress, that shout to the world “look at us, we’re still here”

You have your milestone birthdays…21, 30, 40…

1 billion burgers sold
500 tubes sock worn

75th anniversary of the Bugle Awards

Today, I’ve hit my own little milestone. And I’ve been pondering it for a while.

The Recovering DJ is 1 year old, and this ironically enough is the 100th post. If I was a TV show I would do some sort of retrospect of the past seasons, but I’ll trust that you can do that yourself by clicking on old posts.

100 posts is not a good average for a blog really. It means I’ve written less than a third of the time. The truth is, writing is hard, for me anyways. It takes a lot out of me sometimes. But I’ll tell you, I think about this blog all the time, about what I’m going to write, and how. I have many many unfinished pieces. I try not to post something just for the sake of posting. I write and rewrite. Heck, I’ll admit I write and rewrite my Facebook and Twitter posts a lot too. There’s a “rule” in writing: edit edit edit. And of all the rules this rule breaker follows it’s that one. It’s not as easy as it looks kids.

But people thought radio was easy, and it was never as simple as it seemed. I would practice and re-practice a multitude of breaks. Occasionally a good one would just come out of me, like a radio muse was channeling through me, which would always entertain me. Sometimes making myself laugh is half the battle.

But it was always hard work, being “on” day after day, putting your heart and soul into it week after week. Someone once told me -you knew you had a great show if you were exhausted at the end of the day. The harder you worked, the better you were.

A year ago I started this blog (and it was kinda a dorky start) for a variety of reasons. I wanted to write and showcase it for future employment, and I wanted to make money by blogging, and I just wanted the discipline of keeping something like this going.

But most importantly, I see now…I need an outlet to entertain.
To entertain, perchance to amuse. Ah, there’s the rub. To misquote Mr. Shakespeare.

I love love to make people laugh and amuse them and entertain them. That's why I loved acting at a young age, why I loved radio, why I like to write and why I just like to be around people and crack wise.

When I started this blog, I didn’t know who would read it. I know it's not a huge audience, probably because I haven’t really obeyed any of the “blogging rules” of attracting followers. But there are a few people who are reading and have told me they like what they see. Some have praised because they’ve known me a very long time or they're related to me. And some people might feel they have to be nice. But there have been a few surprise compliments that keep me going…even if it's only a third of the time.

In radio, a station has a “target demo”; the ideal listener a staff wants to keep tuned in. I learned as a baby DJ that it’s best to focus in your mind on one person so you can talk directly to them. It’s called “one on one communication”, and it’s part of the magic of radio called “theater of the mind”. Every person listening should think the announcer is talking directly to HIM OR HER. Its how you get ratings and keep your job. It's sometimes how you get stalkers too but that’s another story.

It's been hard sometime to focus on who my “blog audience” is; it’s quite a mixed bag. If I write to one person, I alienate another…. (another trait I can’t seem to shake is the need to entertain EVERYONE.) All the blogging books and websites say you have to focus, you must find your niche you should have an exact description about what your blog is about.

And yet a year later, this blog still is about nothing. But it's not for nothing. And I’m ok with that as long as you are dear reader. Cheers to you! I'm evolving, the blog is evolving. That's the way it goes.

So lets go for another milestone, perhaps another 50 posts…by the end of the year? Or maybe 20 good ones… or 10 really really good ones…. ☺.

Humbly Yours,

The Recovering DJ

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ode to Vegas

I've been going to Las Vegas now for over 8 years now. My DH (darling hubby) first dragged me there when we were dating, and I've been bedazzled by it ever since. It's one of those places I just KNEW I would like.

I've decided there are two kinds of people in this world-people who get Vegas...and people who don't. It's kinda like New York or L.A...either you are in or out. There just isn't any wiggle room.

And it's not just the gambling in Vegas. I have a friend that doesn't touch a table or sashay by a slot....(and I envy her for that) She just loves the GLAM. The sheer pulsating energy of the place. You can get a cocktail whenever you want, eat at some of the most WONDERFUL restaurants and hang at the pool, heck IN the pool all day long. It's funny to see so many people midday in the middle of the week just soakin' it up. It's Disney for grown-ups.

We've been going for several years now under the banner of "Luckypalooza".( I even just bought the domain name ;))

What started as a celebration of a milestone birthday for my DH, has continued as a celebration of the friendships that have endured all these many years as we have moved around different parts of the country. Anyone can get to Vegas pretty easy and fairly reasonably for the most part. And the end of summer seems like a good time to get together and toast each others accomplishments.

If you're a Vegas person...I say Vegas Baby! If you aren't...I probably don't know you ;)

Check out my Amazon Fresh Review

Monday, September 7, 2009

What Labor Day Weekend Means to Me

Labor Day Weekend to me has been like a new beginning.

Back in the old days Labor Day weekend meant it was just before "back to school". The days had a frantic frenzy mixed with dread feeling. I rushed around trying to get all the things done on my “what I want to do this summer “ list. The new school year was looming ahead with a whiff of promise of a new me heading down a new path.

Now this time of year is still a bit of a "new chapter". It's a chance to revisit New Year’s resolutions and make them right one last time in the fourth quarter. The weather is turning, and I really try to get serious once again. We’ll see if it works this time.

Recovering DJ’s Top 5 Songs about Working

  1. “Working’ for Livin’” Huey Lewis & The News
  2. “Welcome to the Working Week”- Elvis Costello
  3. “Working for the Weekend” Loverboy
  4. “Working Girl” The Members
  5. “The Working Hour” Tears for Fears

Monday, August 24, 2009

It’s Monday and I’ve got Mad Men on my mind

No, not men that are mad, but “Mad Men”, a show on AMC that started its 3rd season last week. The program is ultra cool, suave and a critic’s darling. Plus it won a bunch of awards last year, a sure sign that it’s probably a good show and it's not on a “Big 3” network. (Are they even the “big” 3 anymore?)

I personally didn’t hop on the hip bus until after the first season, when I bought the DVD. And then I actually missed the entire 2nd season live. Thanks goodness for on-demand. The point is, these days you can start watching a show even after a few seasons, the catching up part is virtually painless.

For those of you not familiar with the show, ( and it seems most people are not, as it’s not exactly the highest rated in TV land), “Mad Men” takes place at a fictional advertising agency in New York City in the early ‘60’s. The stories circle around Don Draper, played by the mad hot Jon Hamm, and his office staff, family and “friends”. I think the “Mad” stands for Madison Avenue initially, and just the shear madness of the era later on. Just a theory.

New York City is a grand dame in the show and it’s a very interesting commentary on the times. Women are getting stronger in the workplace, for the most part as secretaries, but the truth is good administrative assistants run a company underneath it all.

Elisabeth Moss, the former Zoey Bartlet on one of my fave shows “The West Wing” turns in a fabulous performance as a girl who wants to get out of the pool and into the boardroom with the boys. As an aspiring copywriter, nothing, and I mean Not A Thing, stops her from reaching her goals.

You’d think I’d identify with her; I myself worked in a male dominated business for some many years, putting up with some of the crap. And I’m trying to reinvent myself as a copywriter. But I really identify with the character of Betty, wife to the lead character Dan Draper. Her lonely suburban housewife feels more realistic than any of the characters, who become over-the-top caricatures every once on awhile.

The show is not for everyone, it's a bit dark but very stylistic…and if you aren’t a fan of vices you won’t like that EVERYONE freakin' smokes and drinks ALL the time…something I personally find a hoot, but I know some don’t.

But hey, it’s only a TV show. And if you like it enough, you can “Mad Men” yourself…loads of fun for those slow moments, when you could use a little madness. ☺

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Julie and Julia"-foodie film that feeds the soul

On my list of "pending possible posts", a mocking and menacing list that taunts me daily, I’ve been meaning to comment on the new movie “Julie and Julia”, spurred by an article I read in the “New Yorker” last month about Nora Ephron.

I didn’t actually think I would go see the movie myself, I just don't go to the movies lately, but I wanted to encourage others to do so, for two reasons…I read and loved one of the books the movie is based on, and I really admire Nora Ephron, a strong female writer and director who creates the kind of movies I would make, if I was a film maker.

As luck would have it, I had the great delight of checking out the flick yesterday and I’m pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. It felt like a cozy bowl of soup with some flaky biscuits on the side. It was a movie of a sweet and wondrous love between a husband and wife and the marvels of plugging away at your dreams little by little. A nice dinner with a good bottle of wine afterward kept the glow a goin'

I knew the story of Julie Powell,I read her book "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously"when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest. My sister, who is an excellent cook and is ironically named Julie, loaned it to me. I enjoyed the amazing food preparation descriptions and escapades, and the loving details about the wonderful mecca that is called New York City. But I hated it for the same reason; I was so homesick for New York at the time that sometimes it made me sad. I was so annoyed that this girl who was an admin in a crappy office situation became a famous blogger, plus got a book deal out of the whole thing. Yes, of course I was jealous…I admit it.

I have vague memories of watching Julia Child on television, her quirky voice and the interesting way she cooked, hunched and looming over her counters. But other than that and the Saturday Night Live sketch in which Dan Akroyd portrays a blood spewing Child after she cuts herself, any other knowledge I had of the famous gourmand was pretty limited.

But after this movie I suddenly have a deep interest in her. She seemed to be a robust, passionate woman who was so upbeat and alive, enjoying whatever challenge came her way. I am eager to read "My Life in France" a memoir that half the movie is based on. I am also now convinced I could make a Beef Bourguignon, and whip up several other recipes as well. I think Julia Child was the Food Network all on her own, before such a thing existed.

Meryl Streep embodies the character so seamlessly it’s hard to tell where she ends and Julia Child begins. I would imagine for such a well-know actress this is no easy feat. Stanley Tucci plays a wonderful doting husband and chemistry between the two is truly magical. I’ve read some other reviews that state the Amy Adams sections aren’t as strong, but I think that’s like saying watermelon doesn't taste like cantaloupe. Amy Adams portrays the blogger Julie and it's unfair to say that an unknown person such as Julie Powell can compete with the star power of a Julia Child. Plus, I think reading “Julie and Julia” beforehand allows a better sense of those sections in the movie. I’m generally an advocate of the “read the book before you watch the film” movement. (If there is indeed such a movement, and if not I should start one. )

At any rate, two thumbs up from me, "Julia and Julia" is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, something I haven’t done in quite awhile. If Meryl doesn’t get an Oscar nod, than I’m not watching them.

Ha, ha that’s not true of course.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Post Problems

Lately, I’ve been thinking I really need to post more. There seems to be a bit of a demand, at least 5 people are regular readers, and I hate to let any audience down, not matter how small. Old habits.

Sometimes, yes life distracts me. I can’t sit my booty down long enough to jot something down. I’m also shockingly a bit particular, something I’m realizing later in life. I normally don’t like to post anything just to post.

That’s how I was in radio. I hated to do a break just because the clock said it was time to crack the mic. It sucked if it talk break time and the talk over song had a 1 second intro. Can’t say much with that time, although I would certainly try...if not switch my break completely, much to the chagrin of the boss. I was never a time and temp jock. I really wanted to say something funny or relevant or give a little fact. I couldn’t just talk to talk.

Or so I thought.

But I digress and as I do, I realize….here I am with a little post. Funny how that works out
The posting “problem” (is it really a problem in the grand scheme of things?) but the issue isn’t quite frankly, a lack of something to write about. The real rub is this-I have too much to write about.

So many thoughts and fragments run through my tiny little brain on a daily basis that it’s hard to know where to start. So sometimes I start everywhere and then end nowhere.
Yes, that in a nutshell is the story of my life my friends. So many beginnings, so many things started and nothing is finished.

Writing isn’t easy, just like opening up a microphone isn’t as easy as everyone thinks. The biggest problem I’ve always had is how to wrap it up. And how to wrap it up smoothly, in a compelling fashion with a pretty little flourishing bow.

The other thing is my audience. In radio, for the most part, the station format dictated who we were talking to-the “target demo” that was the catalyst for one to one communication. Radio is theater of the mind, and in order for anyone to buy into it; every single person has to think the jock is talking directly to him or her.

No small feat. The same goes for writing, but sometimes knowing who my audience is holds me back. The gripes and groans and opinions I want to ramble on about don’t seem appropriate nor interesting to the people I know are out there. You have to play to the audience. It's not what you want to hear, or write's what your listeners/readers want. It takes awhile to learn that, and even then…it's still a hard rule to follow.

Not the prettiest bow, but it’ll have to do for today.

Radio Demystification 101

A Radio Clock: Essentially the schedule of music, talk breaks and commercials

Song Intro Time: The instrumental length at the beginning of a song that a Top 40/AC jock can talk up.

Hitting the Post: Talking up an intro perfectly..ending the exact time the vocals start without chatting over the vocals.

Rock stations are generally different, as jocks in those formats generally talk more before and after a song, not over the song. My only experience with that was college radio, which led to some hilarious 10 minute breaks about MINUTIA…(yes kinda like this blog.) ☺

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hughes, Hughes, Anyone...John Hughes?

I was tired of being “Home Alone”, so I decided to take a “Vacation”. I stopped at the “Breakfast Club” first which was so “Pretty in Pink” with “Sixteen Candles” at the counter. I ran into to “Ferris Beuller” who was acting all “Mr. Mom” when he told me “Curly Sue”…“She’s Having a Baby”, which seemed like a bit of “Weird Science” but I extended my congratulations as “ Uncle Buck” walked by and told me I’d have to take “Train, Planes and Automobiles” to get to my destination, which really made me feel “Some Kind of Wonderful.”

John Hughes, Director, Writer, Producer and by all accounts all around good guy left us yesterday. His movies were the background to my generation and his passing has made me ponder my mortally a little bit, and the fact that I’m getting older a lot. It's been a heck of a summer for our icon's.

John Hughes made the movies that made me feel good at the end, no matter how implausible.

John Candy, Molly Ringwald, Michael Keaton, and The Red Wing Shirt wearing guy from “Ferris Beuller”…All favorite actors portraying great characters that have never left my subconscious.

Speaking of the jersey guy...I just read that John Hughes was born in a Detroit suburb...duh…I could never figure out why a Chicago boy would be sportin' a Wing’s shirt.

My university lumped together Radio, TV and Film as “Telecommunications” so I have a bit of a film major. I studied a huge variety of “films” and “cinema” (those words sound fancier than “movie” don’t they?) I viewed the very first films in America like “Birth of a Nation” and Russian and French flicks, and through it all I learned to develop an appreciation of “film as art.”

I wrote a term paper on the “Auteur Theory” ( A paper created on a typewriter, and no copy exists which bums me out)

The “Auteur Theory” in a nutshell is this: It means “author” in French and is generally associated with the French new wave. Essentially it means that films created by a director all contain his/her ideas and visions, like a personal stamp. I had stated, that directors like John Ford, Billy Wilder, Hitchcock, etc etc were true auteur's despite the fact that they weren’t French. There’s a certain essence to certain directors' movies that resonate throughout all of them. It’s a “Stephen Spielberg” movie, it's a “Michael Mann” etc etc. You get the picture.

I won’t go into it much more than that, but to say that in retrospect, John Hughes is a true auteur as well.

I’m sure many scoff at that notion. He’s never been recognized by the Academy, yet he put his mark on a slew of movies that have never been erased from the collective hearts of those of us, for better or for worse, grew up in that much maligned 80’s era.

Sure, some of his movies and characters are far-fetched and improbable, and sometimes very “cheese on cheese” (The end of Sixteen Candles…,the sister and principle character in “Ferris Bueller” etc etc.) But I personally LOVE cheese and John Hughes’ movies are slices of hope, happiness and entertainment all wrapped up in a sassy bow for enjoyment over and over again.

The music, the dancing, the sappy moments. They take you away for a minute, if only a minute. Because at the end of the day, isn’t escapism why we watch a movie anyways?


Thursday, August 6, 2009

This Radio Life Part 3-Jump in my pool

One summer, I was a midday personality at a radio station in Detroit. The area was in the midst of a scorching heat wave. (As if a heat wave could be something less than scorching??)

I wanted to do a segment that would “take off the heat” so to speak, help people forget for a minute. Being the dork I am, I asked the production guy for a sound effect of water splashing sounds. I played it intermittently throughout my show and asked people to call in and tell me why I should let them “jump in my pool".

There is beauty in simplicity sometimes. The phones went nuts. A little something I was just going to fool around with for a while became a full-blown segment pretty quickly. The sales department was of course trying to sell it immediately, so shortly after I received a request from K-mart to host a grand opening, live in front of their store….broadcasting from my pool.

Radio is theater of the mind, so the live event didn’t go over as big as the powers that be would have liked. But it certainly makes a great story. In fact, it’s a favorite my hubby likes to tell.

It’s occasionally irksome when friends and family tell stories about my past…how I used to be in radio...blah blah blah. I’ve noticed when I meet new people now and I say I’m doing pro bono marketing work or freelance copywriting, they wear an expression of “ Oh whatever”. But if I say, “I used to work in radio” they quickly perk up. Sometimes it’s the only thing anyone remembers about me.

I’ve realized I could live my whole life like this….livin’ off what I used to do, because the truth is anything I do now or in the future will never be as cool…

Or will it?

It could be as cool as jumpin' in the pool ☺

Beauty in simplicity could strike again.