I was googling “Brothers & Sisters,” the TV show, trying to find something I once read about it. I tried to watch that show and gave up after about half a season, when it became clear the writers were never going to give up this maddening music-cue thing they do.
The show is your basic prime-time soap, with comic elements. Whenever a comic scene commences, however, the sound editors insert this giggly little piano/string thing, the universal music code for “French farce scene about to commence! Get ready to laff!” I remember a couple years ago, reading an interview with some network executive who said it was necessary to telegraph every punch that way, because they’d given up the idea of any viewer giving any TV show their complete attention, and they didn’t want someone to look down at their laptop during a serious confession-of-infidelity scene and look up to find a zany oops-we’ve-been-caught-having-sex-in-the-cloakroom scene. Too jarring. And so tonal shifts are underlined, perhaps so viewers know they’re watching broadcast TV, not HBO.
So I was looking for that interview, and got distracted by reveries of the Allman Brothers, who — you younger folks might not know this — had a monster album in the ’70s called “Brothers and Sisters,” which combined with “music” would of course turn up in any Google search. And by then I had forgotten that one of the things I wanted to say was, nobody has any attention span anymore, because they’re always multitasking.
There was a trainer at my gym who liked to combine the ab work in his classes with “Whippin’ Post,” which I always thought was appropriate.
Which sort of brings me to this story from the New York Times’ Department of News You Already Knew, about how kids today are addicted to the internet. As an abusive parent in this regard, defined as “one who declined to buy the data plan for her child’s cell phone, and who also activated the parental controls feature of the computer’s OS,” I read with keen interest:
Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.
“I feel like my days would be boring without it,” said Francisco Sepulveda, a 14-year-old Bronx eighth grader who uses his smart phone to surf the Web, watch videos, listen to music — and send or receive about 500 texts a day.
It’s the texting that makes me insane. A true moderate, I equipped Kate with the moderate plan — 1,500 per month, which feels like all the goddamn texts any normal person would need, don’t you agree, my fellow geezers? Well, you should pay closer attention to your kid, who thinks nothing of texting “yo” or “‘sup?” or “hey” nine million times a day, and I am not kidding. Objecting to this is like saying with all this long hair, you can’t tell the boys from the girls.
I told her if she went over 1,500, I was taking it out of her hide. And no data plan until she gets a job.
After all, I don’t want to happen to her attention span what’s happened to mi– Shiny object! New tab in Safari! Tangent! So let’s go straight to the bloggage, eh? (I pronounce that blo-GAHGE, by the way, from the original French.)
Detroitblog finds a sterling example of that unique American character — the graphomaniac. (Look it up if you don’t know what it is. Why do you think we have tabbed browsing and the internet at our fingertips, fool? If this were a TV show, I’d be playing stern music right now.) Don’t miss the guy’s website.
It so happened I was at John King Books, Detroit’s spectacular used-books treasure house, looking for a couple of volumes that will aid in my horse-eating project mentioned last week. You want to know where graphomaniacs’ work goes to die? Check the local-history shelves at your own town’s version. They are distinguished by their lengthy subtitles (“Officer Down: One Man’s Heroic Crusade Against a Corrupt Police Force and Its Enablers Among the Legal Community, Particularly the Prosecutor’s Office — You Wouldn’t Believe”) and their equally lengthy dedications to the many kind helpers they had along the way to publishing their opus, which no publisher would touch, because it’s simply too hot.
There’s one at my local car wash, or was the last time I visited. I love this car wash, which takes advantage of the few moments you will spend there to push every imaginable sort of impulse purchase at your face. Greeting cards, scented cardboard air fresheners, bulk lots of utility towels, one-size-fits-most floor mats, laminated study guides for everything from the SAT to the periodic table — I have barely scratched the surface. But there, on a table next to the window where you watch them finish your inside windows, is a little pile of books. Self-published, natch. Title: “My Wife Has Cancer.” I can’t bear to pick it up. I hope it was therapeutic for someone.
An odd and an end from yesterday: You Cincinnatians, does Zino’s still have the greatest pizza in the world? We used to drive down from Columbus for that stuff. It’s the big red onions that does it. And Bob (not Greene) wondered if the Kim who commented yesterday had a last name beginning in L, because if so, he thought they knew each other? She does; you do. Contact me privately if you want to catch up.
It’s a new medium, so the growth curve is spectacular: The Chinese folks who brought you the animated Tiger Woods story tackle the Leno-O’Brien-NBC story. And it is awesome. If I were a young journalism student, this is what I’d be studying.
And now, to commence what is, theoretically, my work. If I don’t get distracted.