One of the wonderful things my wife did when we got married was that she made me stop dating. Okay, I honestly wanted to stop. I love Lori more than any other person on earth. Thank God for not having to go through the sham ritual of courtship anymore, though. I was never any good at relationships. Or personal interaction. Or speaking to people without gibbering and flapping my arms. Flirting was impossible. I just never got it. Maybe it was because everything I tried to say came out in 452 word bursts. Some people have a gift for nonchalant flirtation, some only manage to catch fire from zipper friction, because they wear cheap pants. I don’t flirt. There are times when I make the vain attempt at speaking casually and end up paying for it (and having to purchase new pants when the old ones burn up).
I went for a haircut. This is always a mistake, because hair stylists often are the best at making therapeutic small talk. They know nearly everything, because they’ve heard nearly every story conceivable. Once in the chair, I began to babble about how my hair always ends up looking like that of Sopranos tough guy Pauly Walnuts. The side wings just say I should put on a jogging suit and a Members Only jacket. The patient stylist asked me lots of questions about myself and I babbled. And babbled some more. The problem, I noticed after returning home, was that one side of my head is cut differently than the other. This always happens when I try to be funny and light. The rule before each trip out of the house should be: “continue to be a jerk, Andrew.” This is not my first brush with small talk induced failure. A few years before meeting Lori, I tried to practice being fun and flirty at a blood drive. When asked to choose between an older, veteran Red Cross associate to draw my blood, or a cute girl, I went for small talk and jokes. Unfortunately, practice outweighs pretty. I have veins that show like the Mississippi River on a map, but she missed on a half-dozen attempts. Signaling for the seasoned vet and another guy my age, nurse vampire had the three of them sit on my arm in an attempt to get blood from the part of my ulna the needle was bent and wedged into. My arm should hurt as much as it did that night every time that I think about trying to be friendly. It’s good to be married to a beautiful woman who doesn’t pay attention to my dumb attempts at small talk. Hopefully, she won’t ask about my weird haircut.
Sometimes within these blog posts, I’ll reference where I live. This is to give color and background to my life as a wandering mope. The town I live in is picturesque, which often prompts people to take pictures. Strange how that works. Visitors will just get out of their cars as if possessed by something that only exists in J.J. Abrams movies and take pictures of random people. And things. “Look honey! They got them weird birds that flap around on the sidewalk!” Never mind that the cameras are pointed at manhole covers. Who am I to correct tourists? It is with this welcoming spirit in mind that I don’t venture near downtown. I’ve had my picture take with enough manhole covers.
I had to sneak into town to visit our ancient music store and it’s equally ancient owner today. This isn’t ageist, but a fact based on several observations. His Social Security number is 3, and he only received that number after the Ark dropped him off on our fair shores. My daughter needed a gig bag for her guitar and the big box stores in our area don’t carry them anymore. So, after finding a parking spot (or, more accurately, running over a Smart Car with my own vehicle), I purposefully marched down to the old music pro’s lair. Sure, I had to pose for a couple of photos with lamp posts and fire hydrants, but eventually I got to the store. The wise old guru saw me from his desk in back but debated whether to get up. “Whadaya want, kid?” I explained my dilemma and the gentleman (puzzled) asked me “Fender? You mean electrified? Naw, we don’t carry that stuff ya’ hippie. Whadaya been sniffin? Glue? Ahbahahh.” I backed slowly out and onto the tourist filled sidewalk. The ancient is for real musicians, which explains the Stradivarius holding up one load bearing wall. Defeated, I called my wife who’d been smart enough to use Amazon. Then, walking a little slower, I stopped to have my picture taken with a park bench.
Yesterday I posted a bit of verbal nonsense about what its like to find ways to kindle (and rekindle) romance in the midst of marriage. My wife didn’t really let me off the hook. She hasn’t heard the podcast yet (shhh). Date nights are a wonderful, cherished occasion rarely enjoyed during our workaday lives. The times we get to go out and have a laugh (or three) are a relief and a reminder of the days when we were going out. In those days, I either cut out early for home, or pretended that I didn’t notice her father’s quizzical looks if I was still hanging out when he was going off to bed. Nowadays, Lori and I both enjoy our laughs, check on our daughter and then fall asleep, because the sheer excitement of being alone together wears us out.
This week, I helped put together nearly 400 date night kits. Despite my caveman ways (“I’m a simple caveman. I don’t understand your modern romance), I try to help out with encouraging and helping local married couples. We put in three suggested dates, along with a lot of incentives to try local restaurants. The idea seems both absurd and novel at the same time. Many couples, when they find out what’s included in the date night boxes, ask why they need any such motivation. The argument we get is that they’re already married, so there really isn’t any need for our box of goodies. What gets forgotten in the business of being married, and the business of raising kids while working, is that we need to make time to date our spouses. After all, we didn’t marry each other and forfeit our souls. Sometimes, it takes a box full of funny sounding, old-fashioned suggestions to remind us that being alone with our marriage partners was (and is) fun. We live and breathe every moment in support of our families, yet often forget to communicate with our own partners. I’m a little proud of having worked on the date night kits. We distributed, by the Grace of God, nearly 300 of them today. Older couples told us things like “We’ve been married 45 years, and it’s been a long time since we dated.” Which is exactly the point. The idea of the date isn’t just time alone. It’s about time alone together.
This is the Mostly Teachable Podcast for the second week of January, 2013. In this episode I (probably) offend Notre Dame Nation as the podcast continues to speed toward irrelevance. This podcast is about as much fun as one can have with a Michigan fan and still be clothed, sober and not named Gerald R. Ford. Catch past episodes and subscribe to all the poddy rockin’ goodness on itunes-just search Mostly Teachable. Yes, those really are my b.c. portholes in the picture-the glasses I had when I got kicked out of the service. Keep calm and cookie on.
I’ve held a certain idyllic image of Father’s Day in my scrambled brain for many years. As the holiday approaches each year, visions of grilled bratwurst and sitting around in a lawn chair dance through my head. I am a simple man and for the most part the perfect holiday involves not so much as…anything. A chair, some charcoal poisoned meat and the quiet of a mind on holiday. Is this typical, or some general behavior of all man-kind? I may have to wonder forever.
This morning, I was dumped from the lawn chair and bundled into the family car for our celebration of Father’s Day. It seems that in our society, when a man has proven himself to be an adequate parent and patient provider, he’s feted with a trip to an exotic restaurant and a greeting card featuring bratwurst. Our food foray was to a Pan-Asian buffet eatery located in a converted roller rink. Pan-Asian is a way of getting round saying that many of the food offering are exquisitely prepared dishes featuring legs and heads sticking out of them. I’ve worked in the food industry long enough to approximate most of the items, but am still surprised and mystified by the way the big buffets produce them. Steam pans of corn starch thickened gooeyness. I, however, as previously noted, am a simple guy. The sauce covered squid and tempura battered nuggets of fish/foul are of less interest to me than the faux Chinese takes on American classics like fried chicken, or macaroni and cheese. If I’m to be dumped from my yard throne, give me phony home cooking, at least.
I shambled through the forty acre buffet in search of macaroni and cheese. The type Mom used to make, or at least mom’s friends at the Stouffer company. Finally, I came across a bright, yellow, steaming pan of congealed goop with caramelized cheese crusting its outer edges. The greasy, laminated placard on the sneeze guard read:
macaroni w. cheese
Macaroni w. cheese? Was this the President’s idiot brother or my sought after casserole? My joy was beyond words. While there was to be no lawn chair nap, at least I’d get to enjoy some good ‘ol Pan-Asian mac & cheese. First, though, I’d have to get the plate safely back to my table and not get tripped up by angry, desperate and lovelorn rural dwellers. Several busses had arrived ferrying a social outing of Farmers Only dating club member and their goats, squirrels and cousins. I should have stayed at home and enjoyed a metal chair in the yard. These boys meant business and they could eat. What could I do, but save a little macaroni and cheese in my wife’s purse and get the heck out of the buffet? Not that I was afraid. No, merely seeking a quiet place to have my dinner. A bunch of old men looking for love in the wrong places and fulfilling their deepest needs with Cantonese Tuna Helper was too far beyond my ideal Father’s Day.
Eventually I shuffled back to the car and was whisked homeward. Dreaming, all the while of burnt sausages and macaroni w. cheese. Maybe, just possibly, I really was a good dad this year. Later, I’ll fish dinner from the bottom of Mrs. Thompson’s purse and smile at a year well lived.
My family and I returned from a week of vacation on Wednesday night. Now, I’m stressing returned because Thompsons are not a people accustomed to venturing very far from the fold. Vacation usually means that I’ve accumulated too many paid time off hours and am forced to futz around the house hitting various objects with a hammer followed by going out back to barbecue something or other (generally the hammer). This year we had the distinct joy of taking our daughter to Disney World for an actual vacation. I can say in all sincerity that it was one of the best trips we’ve ever gone on. A week on the go as we visited all of the parks, and created some great memories in the process. Darn! Those Disney people and their memory making jive. They were absolutely right. The parks and resort staff treated our little girl like a princess, all for the price of a ticket. As in any perfectly wonderful life situation, there is always the human element. We brought home one long dreaded souvenir in the process, it seems.
My daughter Anna, as I’ve mentioned in the past, carries the effects of Crouzon Syndrome, a cranio-facial disorder she was born with. One of the peculiarities of Crouzon’s is that the disease left her with hearing loss due Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome. I read and read about LVAS and came away with two layman’s conclusions: She can’t hear much because of the disease and excessive jarring of the inner ear will reduce Anna’s hearing further. So, we’re careful. No soccer, or gymnastics. Definitely no roller coasters, which we avoided at Disney World. The spinning tea cups were pretty much the limit. On our fifth day, Anna complained about hearing loss to such a dramatic pitch that other tourists made that “control your kid” face. Not that we cared what they thought. Anna had given us yet another moment of pause in what has been a decade of pauses. We tested the hearing aid and it’s batteries and both were in order. The trouble was all in her left ear and it persisted into the next day. And the next. It has yet to be confirmed by Anna’s doctors at the University of Michigan, but our school district estimates that she’s lost 20 or more decibels. Gone, just like that.
To put Anna’s hearing into perspective, I’ve started to call her difficulty the “Sargent Pepper Syndrome.” Testing her hearing aids on my own ears gives me a glimpse into a world in which she hears what sounds like the opening of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. The crowd sounds are up front, but when someone speaks directly to her it’s akin to Paul McCartney shouting “It was twenty years ago today…” from some faraway stage. She’s dealing with something we all knew was coming better than any of us. Anna is putting together picture books and having a few brag days at school. The question has always been with her hearing loss “What do we shelter her from?” In the course of being a normal kid, Anna got another dose of damage. She was spending time being a normal kid for once, and making memories. That’s the take away from the situation. She’ll remember Mom, Dad, and Mickey Mouse for the rest of her life and the times when we put our troubles aside and made some memories as a family.
I’ve never been a drug user. The strongest thing I imbibed regularly was Pepsi. Last year my neurologist (what a weird thing to be able to refer to a neurologist as one’s own. “Oh, yeah. That’s my brain guy. We’re tight”) prescribed a migraine preventative drug that took me on a wicked trip. The medication really didn’t impact the frequency or severity of headaches I experienced, but I was too tripped out to notice. I started to have dreams. The dreams started out in a good place. Walmart, actually. For two months I spent each night in a series of dreams I named “Celebrity Walmart Trip.” Each night, I’d stroll the isles of our local super-store with a famous person. Night one was Walmart with Kenny Rogers (the former Tiger’s pitcher, not The Gambler). I asked about what was on his hand during the ’06 World Series. The next night featured quality shopping with William Shatner. He didn’t appreciate being called “Shat” or the fact that I giggled every time I said the word “Shat.” After a month or so, the dreams became markedly weirder. The former Captain Kirk’s head burst into flames on a subsequent somnambulist Walmart visit and the fire consumed me. Fire became a recurring theme in these medication side effect night terrors. I’d be lulled into a conversation with some woman in a bar that could only exist in my dreams (because I like Pepsi) only to be consumed by her hell fire. At least I wouldn’t have to call those women back. Dragons, murderous chickens and devil women gave way after a few months to a sort of garbled terror montage. I stopped the medication eventually and went back to the safety of just living with headaches until another doctor prescribed me some well-behaved, sleep-flame retardant drugs.
A year later, I am having calm dreams of great beauty. I’ve tried to look up their meaning on popular internet dream databases only to find that every dream somehow means that I have a fear of sexual relationships with clowns. The thing that I like about my calm, reassuring dreams is that everyone I’ve ever known comes by for a visit at some point. A nightly talk show of the mind. Sometimes pianos mysteriously fall on friends, but I’d hate to look up the meaning of that on the internet for fear that it goes back to clowns. My dreams have evolved since I was a teenager when all they ever contained was Phoebe Cates or a Camaro. If those dreams ever return, I’ll invite her to the nightly talk show and keep an eye on the sky for pianos.
Everybody goes through my present experience, so this is probably not much of a blog-worthy subject. I’m sure nearly every thinking, feeling person has at one time (or another) had a song stuck in their head. After having the same tune lodged in my noggin for the last week, however, I’m beginning to feel as if my mind is on a deserted island all it’s own and the item it brought along is one darn song to keep it company. That song would be Jolene, Dolly Parton’s hit single from way back “in-the-day.” Back in-the-day is a ruse used to cover up my age, but it would be more honest to say the song is so old that they recorded it using soup cans. Jolene, for those who haven’t been introduced to the Dolly oeuvre, is the tale of a woman who worries herself into a frenzy over the arrival of a husband stealing hussy named…Ralph. No, wait. This is country music, after all, and the temptress went by Jolene. I happened to listen to Jolene (the song) for no particular reason one day a week ago (curse you itunes d.j.! Play some Skynard). It’s been embedded in my gray matter ever since. Jolene, Jolene, Joe-leeen.
I’ve tried everything to erase this song from my memory bank. Some of the measures have been drastic. They Might Be Giants songs have been broken out of my collection in a vain attempt to annoy Jolene right out of my head. My daughter is appearing in a production of Bugsy Malone Jr. this week, so I’ve tried to replace Jolene with catchy Paul Williams numbers. Nothing has worked. The reality is that I’ll have to channel and purge Jolene in a drastic manner. Sometime, maybe late tonight under a Twilight-y moon, I’ll go out to the back yard and howl out Jolene. My next post will be when I return from the pokey. Best wishes ’till then!
Migraines are misunderstood. This is one ofthose “duh” statements found in every pamphlet and web explanation of severe headaches. One website went so far as to reassure readers that their migraines weren’t brain tumors (“We’re not sure what causes your blinding headaches, but rest assured that the culprit isn’t some giant thingy growing in your head.”). WebMD, God love ’em, tells visitors that every symptom is in fact related to brain tumors. Darn that Athlete’s Foot, it’s got to be a brain tumor. Annnnyway, this was a long way of saying that my doctor (ActualMD) threw another preventative at my headaches. This one is fun, because it’s turned off my speech filters. Now I just say things. Not funny things, per se. Just streams of words. Here’s something I learned. When the filters get turned off and speech isn’t strained of impurity, it’s probably not a good day to visit Wal-Mart.
All three readers of my old blog know how I feel about Wal-Mart, that seventh level of hell. A store where produce discounts wouldn’t make sense, because Hamburger Helper qualifies as a vegetable dish and we don’t talk about our vegans unless we’re shopping in the personal hygiene isle. The right front tire on my venerable Honda CR-V went flat and the spare had a two-inch screw stuck in it, so I threw the wheels in the trunk of our other car and rolled off to Wal-Mart. The service clerk, a venerable woman with a two-inch screw stuck through her, told me that I could buy tires, but no service person had time to put them on. Filter gone, I began to ask “Really?” She got mad, because despite the fact that I knew exactly which size tires were required, she needed the three-digit prefix. “3-6-9-The Monkey Drank Wine.” Not amused she started rattling off numbers. I knew it was 205, but let her dully recite digits anyway. By the end I had her phone number. Woman of Service then quoted me a price of $180.00 for two tires. I stopped myself from going full rant, reminded that in Wal-Mart’s world it’s perfectly reasonable to expect to pay $200 for a set of Big Wheel tires that I then have to install myself. The tires, sadly, would be worth more than the car. I wandered off. The clerk urged me to come back, but I reminded her that I could take the tires, I just wouldn’t have time to pay for them.
Podcast Episode 12: Favorite Things. This is the return of the little podcast that could (or would, but usually doesn’t). Lots of Olympics riffing, and funny voices included to describe the voyage of the Curiosity Mars Rover. Have fun, enjoy some of your own favorite things and try not to fall off the couch watching the end of the London Olympic games this week!
Welcome to the 22nd(ish) podcast. Enjoy the crunchy audio goodness here, or subscribe to the whole mess at mostlyteachable on itunes. In this episode I goof on the news and throw in a story about trying to make a fire-proof Home Depot flower tower.
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Welcome to the 22nd(ish) podcast. Enjoy the crunchy audio goodness here, or subscribe to the whole mess at mostlyteachable on itunes. In this episode I goof on the news and throw in a story about trying to make a fire-proof Home Depot flower tower.
Falling in love makes the heart sing and the eyes well up with tears. Compared to the act of falling in love with eternal God Almighty ,though, infatuation is just desire floating up and down with the breeze for a moment.
I’ve been watching The Bible on The History Channel over the past few weekends. I enjoy the program on its own level. The writers have taken some creative liberties with God’s word, but overall the series is very entertaining. The folks in the basic cable version of the Bible are a handsome nation of clean-shaven people. Good Englishmen and well spoken, one and all. The point is made, however, that God used all kinds of people to build His kingdom.
There is one small issue I take, but not with the show itself. No, my issue is with the moronic advertisements for one of the principle sponsors of The Bible, ChristianMingle.com. The ads feature a snippet of an old Jars of Clay song called “Love Song For A Savior.” The song refers to wanting to fall in love with “you.” The “you” was written as God. The love song was always about falling completely in love with God. ChristianMingle has thrown the images of doves and hand-holding together with the very temporary, infatuated feeling of falling in love. Falling in love makes the heart sing and the eyes well up with tears. Compared to the act of falling in love with eternal God Almighty, though, infatuation is just desire floating up and down with the breeze for a moment. Like many people, I’m easily duped by anything with Christian attached to it. A Christian dating service sounds wonderful because it’s got the Christ seal of approval attached to it. A Christian song, or bookstore holds the same place of honor. A Christian coffee-house is seemingly better, because the owners have deemed it Christian. The truth is that patronizing a business, watching a show or using a product doesn’t make a person a Christian. Pasting “Christian” onto a dating service doesn’t mean that two people can forge love a lasts for a lifetime and honors God any more the relationship formed by meeting each other in some less structured way. I want to fall in love with God, too. Over and over again. He takes me back. He alone lifts me up. The companionship I’ve found with my wife is amazing, but doesn’t have the same eternal ramifications.
If I’m a dupe for the Christian cottage industry, then so be it. I’ll get the shirt and the Bible with the inspirational bookmark. What means the most and gets me away from dupe-dom is the knowledge that I’ll be able to go share the words in that Bible with others and meet people where they’re at. For all the ideas the sales arm of Christianity has put forward, I still managed to meet my wife in a sinful world without the help of the name-of-Jesus dating service. God made it possible for me to find a Christian in this weird world, just as he’s done throughout history. Now, there’s a History Channel mini-series if I’ve ever heard of one.
With the beginning of each new year, I find myself inevitably tuned into American Idol. Every year, I ask only one thing of the show: human sacrifice night. So far, after watching AI for over a decade, the program has not met my viewing demands. Too bad. Offering up the sacrifice of a bad singer would be a ratings winning family pleaser. Oh, sure, sacrifice is a disgusting, inhumane notion. The fact is, I could be sacrificed for mediocrity. Still, I have a whole President Snow sort of vision of the nation being riveted to a more fierce style of Idol elimination. In my ultimate version of the once relevant singing competition contestants are made to walk up an active volcano, sing and then wait for the verdict on their performance. If they are deemed to have performed poorly, emcee Ryan Seacrest hits the singers in the kneecaps with his tiny microphone until they fall into the boiling lava.Such a simple, quality idea. Life, death and being pummeled by the dwarfish incarnation of Dick Clark until you fall into a pit of molten rock. Oh, and singing. Now that’s a show.
American Idol will never take me up on this idea, probably because the producers have some noble, sane idea of what constitutes moral television viewing. My answer to this is that if wrestling is fake, then reality television shows should be more real. If only TV shows could combine the great elements of Lost, Survivor, and a singing competition. Something involving Christina Aguilera in a loincloth fighting with tigers (while singing), a fiery volcano and Jeff Probst interviewing Nicki Minaj while she yammers about something only surgically enhanced automatons from North Jersey understand. Aw, I ain’t mad at TV. I just want more entertainment for my viewing time. That, and Ryan Seacrest pushing whiney singers into volcanos. And Muppets. I don’t ask for much.
There are days when my mind is made up of nothing more than collections of jumbled, random thoughts. Today is one of those days. What follows is a half-coherent post made from mental scrapple.
It’s okay for Manti Te’o to have made up an imaginary girlfriend. I have an imaginary Manti Te’o.
President Obama’s upcoming swearing-in ceremony looks exciting to me. I’ve been waiting years for the President to swear at something.
There are many things I want to confess to Oprah Winfrey, but I’m afraid I’d never be able to ride a bike again. That would be a shame for paper route customers.
I never used performance enhancing drugs. Once, in a fit of hunger, I ate my Live Strong bracelet and then tried to tell Oprah everything I’d ever done wrong.
The new American Idol judging panel is not quite what I’d hoped for. The producers need to bring back Paula Abdul, because she made crazy look so classy.
The previews for the new film Jack The Giant Slayer make the movie look pretty entertaining, but I’m holding out until Humpty Dumpty 3-D hits theaters.
64% of Republicans recently polled believe that President Obama may not have been born in the United States. This percentage is made up mostly of individuals who ask where the horses are kept every time they visit the Golden Corral. This number also doesn’t account for the number of conservatives who are too busy for polls, because they’re busy looking at the sides of their TV sets trying to see where the Fox news crawl comes from and where the words go off to.
A new line of adult undergarments has hit stores and the advertisements encourage the bladder stricken to take up dancing. I often think about dancing when I’m peeing. Or vice versa. Either way, I’m the life of any party.
I’m rooting for Anne Hathaway to win the Oscar this year. As a child I dreamed of shaving my head and portraying a French prostitute. Ah, this is why we go to the movies. Dreams do come true in Hollywood.
Watching tonight’s episode of Downton Abbey, I was reminded of how much it takes for a wedding to actually take place. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any of the salient plot points. The episode got me thinking about my own wedding day. I remember waking up on the day Lori and I were married and wondering why everything seemed so calm. Almost surreal. I’d stayed the night before in the hotel where we’d spend our wedding night. This added to the unreal quality of the situation. It was a little weird to be alone in a room with a heart-shaped hot tub. Of course, I’d rigorously tested the tub out. You know the drill. Washed my socks in it, made bubbles, pretended to be the captain of a very small, awkwardly designed boat. Getting to the wedding venue was about like driving the hot tub. I really wanted to eat fried chicken. That morning I awoke in a very clear frame of mind. There were two things I wanted for my future. Fried chicken and to pilot the hot tub some more. First, chicken. I got in the car and drove off in the general direction that chicken might be found and purchased. After a nice winding drive along some tree-lined roads, I noticed that the road narrowed. Eventually the pavement ended and I was just bouncing along a dirt road in the forest. The day was one in which you could positively savor the sunny, early fall weather and not pay any attention to pressing responsibilities. Like getting married.
The road ended at a padlocked gate and I was forced to quit bouncing along and turn around. Back then, I drove a vehicle with a sun roof and could climb half-way out of the car and get some perspective on the world. Looking at the world from the top of my Buick, I realized a great truth about my wedding day: poultry might have to wait. Responsibility kicked into my chicken-fried mind and a second truth occurred to me: my socks were still at the bottom of the hot tub. Now, I’d need to get socks and find chicken. Then I thought about my fiance Lori and reality forced me to sit back down in the driver’s seat and point the car back toward town. I really loved her more than anything in the world and still do to this day. I needed to be at our wedding on time. Love may mean never having to say you’re sorry, at least according to the movies. Arriving late for one’s own wedding is something for which a man will apologize forever. Driving in dust cloud (inside the car, because the roof was open), I made my way to the wedding in time for pictures. On the way I’d found a Popeye’s. When they asked me at the drive-through what I wanted, I was giddy. “You’d better give me two thighs. Today’s my wedding day.” I don’t know what that means, either.
This is a note to my friends to let them know that I really haven’t been playing hooky to watch the 3rd season premiere of Downton Abbey. Not entirely, anyway.I’m not avoiding my obligations, or begging off things on our mutual to-do lists that have to be done. To be completely honest, I’ve got the same flu and cold that large swaths of the country is toughing out. So, it stands to reason that tonight, this glorious 32° night of January 6, 2013, I might as well call in sick from life and the bonds of friendship and watch all the drama happening in the House of Crawley. My sickness will pass eventually, but until then just slip life-sustaining food and whatever it is you need me to sign underneath the door. I’ll just watch Downton and get by on my own. Thanks for thinking of me, but please don’t bother calling.
I’m through the first hour of the premiere. If you don’t know anything about the show, I”ll break it down while watching. Titanic. Heir. Bates. Thomas. William. Mrs. O’brian. Matthew. Lady Mary. Mr. Pamook. No Mr. Pamook. Daisy. Mrs Patmore and her cataracts. Anna. Anna and Mr. Bates. Women’s Suffrage. Lady Sybil and Commie chauffeur. Lady Edith and Old Boy. Dowager Countess says something snarky. Lady Cora. Mrs. O’Brian. Lady Cora Missed The bath mat. Lady Cora no bun in the oven. World War I. Matthew takes William off to war. William Loves Daisy. Daisy does a nice thing. William finds comfort. Matthew is wounded. Matthew gets mad. Matthew is miraculously off and running. Downton is happy. Dowager Countess says something snarky. Matthew has gorgeous girlfriend. Poor girlfriend. Sybil has rebel chauffeur drive her around Ireland. Bun in the oven. Matthew says “Mary! Look it’s snowing!” Lady Mary is Happy. Anna is happy/ miserable. Bates is justifiably cranky. Bates’ ex is justifiably not going to be visiting the estate again. Bates remains cranky to this day.
The third season promises to be just as good and toothily dramatic. I’ll conclude my confession of playing sick-hooky by saying please go and watch Downton Abbey. If I don’t see you around on Sunday nights, there will be no need to explain. Downton flu is a well documented phenomenon. Even when not coupled with actual flu and cold, it’s best to stay away.
I am a rotten, sniveling television viewer. Easily bored, prone to wandering, apt to wear the same outfits as Rachel Maddow (although, not nearly as well). Last Monday night presented a prime-time example of my wah-wah-wah TV watching attitude. NBC’s new J.J. Abrams produced series, Revolution, debuted and I rated it as a two shrugs up show. I’d spent quite a few summer evenings watching past episodes of Sons Of Anarchy, Mad Men and Downton Abbey. The truth is, these were shows that spoiled me for even the best that the networks have to offer. The premise of Revolution is intriguing. The first episode, promoted to death during the Summer Olympics, imagines what the world might be like 15 years after every electrical device in existence stops operating one night. Planes crash, cars stop, former Lost-ie Elizabeth Mitchell looks on pensively. The world a decade and a half post-lights out could easily use the Talking Heads Nothing But Flowers as a soundtrack. Future citizens use wrecked cars as crock pots. Corn fields have replaced the Dairy Queens and 7-11’s. The show then loses power. Under martial law, the kids go all Hunger Games, walk to what’s left of Chicago (“Look! I found Andre Dawson!”), and try to reunite with kidnapped relatives. Slackers. They should have played Yahtzee and waited for Con-Ed to com out and fix the lights. Midway through the premier of Revolution I was waiting for Elizabeth Mitchell’s character Rachel to come back and detonate the nuclear device, destroy the island and remind us that it was all a dream. Instead, we watch the youngsters seek out Bella’s dad from Vampiretown, USA. He’s a winner. What’s with the chip on this guy’s shoulder? He’s tending a bar full of post-apocalyptic freaks! That’s the closest to a Mos Eisley acting gig as he’ll ever get.
Sons of Anarchy was a rough hour of TV to watch last week and doesn’t promise to get any better. Still, it was well a written, not-terribly cheesy hour. There was cause and effect, moral ambiguity, flawed and misplaced emotion. Gee, what weird concepts. The kind of weird behavior you’d expect when the lights have been out for 15 years (or, roughly the last time someone paid the electric bill at NBC).