My HBO problem.

I’ve been so disappointed by the fourth season of “Big Love” I’ve taken to sending jeering e-mails to a friend who still likes it. My latest said I’m starting a petition to send it back to Univision and restore the original Spanish dialogue, because surely this allegedly prestigious HBO drama was kidnapped from its ancestral home in the telenovela big house.

But then, watching it, I realize it’s been like this since at least the third season, although that one stopped just this side of the line between incredible-but-entertaining and ridiculous-and-insulting. This season is turned up to 11.

What happened? In the first season, the story of a polygamous Utah businessman balancing a household of three wives was promising and interesting. It raised questions: What is family? How do we integrate religion into our Monday-through-Saturday lives? What do we owe our community, and what do they owe us? When we’re pulled in more than one direction, how do we keep from being pulled apart? And so on. The second season was even better, once the producers figured out that sex with three women on consecutive nights isn’t all that interesting, even by HBO standards, and started looking at the toll polygamy takes on women, both in the suburbs and in the creepy rabbit warren of Juniper Creek. It was in many ways a replay of Carmela and Meadow Soprano’s tango with the mob in that other show, but it was still worth exploring, and raised another question: Why do we cling to the chains that bind us? (Answer: Because they make such pretty jewelry.)

If anyone’s asking questions now, they’re right out loud and in the script: Don, will you take the bullet? Was that baby you’re caring for kidnapped from an Indian reservation? Could it be because you’ve never really dealt with the miscarriage you suffered in Season 3? And so on.

I swear, if it weren’t for David Simon, HBO would be toast with me. “Entourage” moved from ridiculous-but-entertaining into just-plain-offensive virtually overnight; whenever I land on it now I stay long enough to see whether they’re still serving the same tired salad of misogyny sprinkled with screeching homo-hatred (“Ari: Keep your eyes on Andrew Kline. Lloyd: Keep my eyes on him how? Ari: Pretend he’s Zac Efron’s ball sack.”), with a side of sure-I-believe-Jamie-Lynn-Sigler-likes-short-fat-penniless-guys. Look, one of the gang has a new girlfriend! She’s tall, beautiful and anorexic. Look, Ari’s on a rampage! He’s insulting his gay assistant again. Actually, Ari’s the most interesting character on the show, in the sense that it’s interesting to watch the blackly self-loathing Jeremy Piven deliver lines like this:

Mrs. Ari: What time is it?
Ari: I don’t know. My cock doesn’t wear a watch.

And he ran away from a David Mamet play? I’m not the world’s biggest Mamet fan, but he’s William Shakespeare compared to this.

Hurry hurry hurry, “Treme.” Which is sort of a nice segue to the bloggage. (Yes, I know, a bit early, but I’m having a bad morning, people. I am Ari Gold today.

Anyway, I’m told the parents of this young actress will be featured extras in “Treme.” Although now I’m looking forward to their daughter’s career:

And for anyone who’s ever had a relative whose last words were “Hey ever’body, watch this,” the sad tale of one man’s attempt to top his last wacky party stunt. Must reading. For once, the comments on a Free Press story are worth a look: He’s GOTTA be a white guy. Well, hell yes.

The cock crows 10:30. Time to start the day.

Posted at 10:32 am in Television |

59 responses to “My HBO problem.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on February 2, 2010 at 10:49 am

    HBO made it easy for us to leave when it canceled “Deadwood” and “Rome.” We’ve missed “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but have been catching up on it via DVDs.

    I don’t know how many years it has been since Bruce Springsteen sang “55 channels and nothin’s on,” but it remains as appropriate now as it was then. All those cable channels still produce very little that demands regular viewing. We came late to “The Office,” so we are making time for those episodes in syndication, but that is the extent of our “must-see TV” these days.

    It’s kind of interesting occasionally catching an episode of “The Sopranos” on A&E, which scrubs the language. Hearing Tony and the other thugs say “frigging” all the time is jarring. Even heavily edited, however, it is still an insanely watchable show.

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  2. paddyo' said on February 2, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Jeff B — BET did the same thing with “The Wire,” which of course made watching that famous first-season scene of McNulty and Bunk re-investigating the scene of a fatal shooting — the one in which every word of dialogue was a variation on the F-word — quite funny to watch. Silent movie . . .

    And thanks, Nance, for saying the Emperor Has No Clothes (or the Prophet, anyway)– I thought it was just me re: “Big Love,” and I’ve been a big fan of HBO series since forever. The telenovela comparison is apt. The shark has been jumped.

    Ditto, sadly, for “Entourage.” Bring on “Treme,” and soon . . .
    (And, in a plug for pseudo-HBO, “Breaking Bad” on AMC is just a month or so away!)

    Over the weekend, my girlfriend and I watched the entire six episodes of that somewhat-forgotten groundbreaker of an HBO miniseries, “The Corner,” of which I’d only seen half-an-episode or two back in the day. What an amazing (and hard-to-watch) picture of the junkie side of what would become the Baltimore turf for “The Wire.” Except this one based on true stories. Naturally, David Simon’s book was the genesis of it . . .

    And boy, if you’re a “Wire” fan and you haven’t seen “The Corner” or have forgotten, re-visit it if for no other reason than to glimpse numerous “Wire” actors who were in that precursor show. It’s, like, half the regular cast . . .

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  3. Deborah said on February 2, 2010 at 11:17 am

    This weekend I bought the first season of “The Wire” after hearing you all rave about the show. It was worth the price. I’ve only watched the first episode so far, looking forward to the rest. I may rent the following seasons though. I don’t watch enough TV to justify getting HBO, I’d rather pay for DVDs of shows I know I like.

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  4. Jeff Borden said on February 2, 2010 at 11:29 am


    It’s noteworthy that my wife detested “Deadwood” for its consistently blue language, but she never had any problem with it on “The Sopranos.” Despite all the foul language, however, it was one of the most amazingly literate and well-written series I’ve ever enjoyed. And for a kid who grew up on cowboy shows, where the streets never betrayed a smidgen of cowplop and all the citizens were always clean and combed, “Deadwood” seemed more in touch with what life in the the Wild West must’ve truly been. Dirty faces, greasy and stringy hair, the same set of clothes worn day after day after day, muddy streets and rough-hewn buildings.

    I still miss it.

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  5. MichaelG said on February 2, 2010 at 11:30 am

    There is an ad for “The Office” (I think it’s “The Office” – somebody correct me) that has a supposedly pregnant guy going into labor, standing over a waste basket claiming his water just broke while the laugh track howls in the background. I took it as an absolute warning to stay away from the piece of shit they were advertising.

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  6. coozledad said on February 2, 2010 at 11:38 am

    You wonder if the guy with the explosives strapped to his back isn’t suicidal.Obviously he isn’t terribly familiar with rocket science; it’s somewhat surprising he hadn’t torched himself earlier.
    There was a guy who came to one of our parties who stockpiled explosive chemicals and prescription pain medications. We’d been trying to light a bonfire in the aftermath of a heavy summer downpour, and it just wouldn’t go. He told us he could get it lit. His actual words were “Step aside. I am a chemist.”
    He proceeded to try and light it with gasoline he’d siphoned out of the other party guest’s cars.
    My wife and I still use that phrase when neither of us has a clue what we’re doing and there’s potential for grievous bodily injury.

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  7. alex said on February 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

    And for a kid who grew up on cow­boy shows, where the streets never betrayed a smidgen of cow­plop and all the cit­i­zens were always clean and combed, “Dead­wood” seemed more in touch with what life in the the Wild West must’ve truly been.

    And the women of ill repute always looked reputable. Miss Kitty should have been a toothless, haggard syphilitic, no?

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  8. Julie Robinson said on February 2, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Last week I was in a hotel for five days and I didn’t turn on the TV once. I enjoyed this enormously, kind of the equivalent of a cleansing diet. Instead I listened to music since I had brought along my MP3 player and portable speakers.

    TV is just noise accompanied by pictures to me, and I don’t find most of it good for my soul. We still don’t have any version of cable, and though this puts us out of watercooler gossip the good stuff is always available later. Netflix and the local library fulfill our needs. Well, I guess the DH would really like to see his IU basketball games live, but there are good alternatives there too.

    These days I only watch Glee and if I don’t forget, 30 Rock.

    Edit: I lost any urge to set off fireworks when a neighbor’s son was blinded by a late fuse. His vision eventually returned but after that they just didn’t seem fun anymore.

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  9. Sue said on February 2, 2010 at 11:56 am

    MichaelG – The Office can’t be judged based on a commercial, or even an episode. It’s just one of those shows you need to see a few times before you decide. I watched and enjoyed for awhile but quickly got sick of the Jim and Pam thing (we were supposed to love Jim and Pam because they’re so nice, without recognizing that they’re both doormats), and I also felt that the show was unintentionally misogynistic.
    Having said that… “Save Bandit!” – hilarious.
    And I knew I would never be able to watch the British version. Ricky Gervais’s humor can be brutal and hopeless; his stuff is described as “cringeworthy”. “Extras” is a good example.

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  10. paddyo' said on February 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Michael G — if it had an actual laugh track, it wasn’t “The Office,” which has none . . . but there WAS an episode a couple or three seasons ago where the designated office dork Dwight(Rainn Wilson’s pitch-perfect portrayal) was coaching office boss Michael (Steve Carrell) on the upcoming birth of not-his-own-child to Michael’s girlfriend/ex-boss where if memory serves Dwight did something along those lines . . . “Office” fans out there, did I get that right?

    Jeff B– I totally mourn the short, sweet, “SWINNgin cocksukka!” life of “Deadwood.” And I’m still smarting from that unfulfilled promise from HBO et al. of two more 2-hour movies to wrap it up. Then again, the actual Deadwood, SD’s heyday didn’t last much longer than the series did, so maybe some poetic justice or something.

    It was the dialogue of “Deadwood,” apart from the C-word-filled rants, that enthralled me . . . it was absolutely Shakespearean. Remember Swearingen’s soliloquies with that ghastly Indian-chief’s head-in-a-box? Talk about “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio . . . .” And there were many more such touches.

    Maybe the dialogue grabbed me, too, because of Ian McShane (Swearingen), he of the astounding and amazing voice and delivery and diction. Man! I was really pulling for “Kings,” last year’s short-lived NBC dramatic series (12 episodes). Sure, it was prime-time-soap-meets-the-Bible, but several notches above the usual and with McShane at the core, something else.

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  11. ROgirl said on February 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I went HBO-less after the Sopranos ended. I miss Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I liked Deadwood, Rome and the Wire, but the good stuff only represents a small percentage of what HBO broadcasts, while most of it consists of the same bad movies shown a million times.

    Ian McShane was great in Kings. I would have loved to see more.

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  12. beb said on February 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I haven’t seen a single one of the shows mentioned today. A show about gangster I tink is anti-American. A show about foul-mouthed cowboys? Who needs it. A show about dope addicts? Intervention is painful enough. thank you very much. Morman? Even if I had free HB O (which I don’t) I would not have watched any of these shows.
    Just call me Crankyoldman today.

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  13. jcburns said on February 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Ian McShane’s also not bad in Lovejoy, which he produced, way back in the big-ish hair late 80s. There’s a complete set at the Atlanta Fulton County Library’s Ponce de Leon branch…tell them I sent you.

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  14. Sue said on February 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    jcburns – apart from the actor, how is the Lovejoy series? Worth watching if you like the books? How do they do all the history of antiques and how to fake them – just a lot of dialogue?
    I looked at my library system website and they list six seasons!

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  15. nancy said on February 2, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I can’t believe more of you aren’t discussing the rocket-sled guy. Trust Coozledad to know this guy’s first cousin.

    Oh, and hey, beb? You’re a cranky old man. There, I said it.

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  16. Bob (not Greene) said on February 2, 2010 at 12:45 pm


    That’s my new line — “Step aside. I’m a chemist.”

    As for The Office, I like the British version better, precisely because it’s so cringeworthy. Extras was equally cringeworthy (the David Bowie scene is classic). The American show is, I don’t know, trades too much in stereotypical behavior. And while Gervais is a complete pompous creep loser in the lead role, Steve Carrell is more of a sad sack who you don’t actually hate but just feel pity for.

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  17. ROgirl said on February 2, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    You would expect someone who pulled the rocket sled stunt to be in his 20’s or 30’s, but this guy was 62. Why isn’t he dead yet?

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  18. John said on February 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Off topic, but today is my wife and my 30th anniversary. It has been a fun ride, but usually without the explosive fireworks strapped on the sled.

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  19. Dexter said on February 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I think last year’s “Big Love” lacked sustainability until the last four episodes, but then it kicked it up a notch and even though I was calling for this to be the finale of the series this year, it is now can’t-miss TV again.
    Ginnifer Goodwin continues to steal every scene, and the sub-theme of her and young Ben’s mixed-up feelings makes for good TV, and Margene’s melt-down during her live TV commercial was a good scene.
    I like to watch how Bill has turned into a real schizophrenic, half evil and half good, so ambitious , so self-centered, and still trying his best to keep his family together, even with Nikki’s infidelities and Barb’s ambiguities and half-truths and Margene getting all wet over his son Ben.
    I still love HBO and just roll with the shows. I can’t stand Entourage but I watch all the other series and enjoy them. They’re all good. Alan Ball lit my fire with Six Feet Under in 2001 and Simon and Burns blew my mind with The Wire. Deadwood, Rome, all of them were great, and Larry David just cracks me up.
    I watched a Johnny Depp movie in the middle of the night…”Blow”. I had never even heard of it. Being in a perfect time and life situation to become involved in the cocaine lifestyle circa 1980, I never once cut a rail or spooned a snort, but I remember it well, and this movie was sort of a historical trip through the years when blow dominated US society, the disco era and all that shit. When I quit drinking in 1992 the rooms were full of “cross-addicted alcoholics” who detailed their struggles with crack and powder—jeezuss, made me glad I never bumped that first rail.

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  20. brian stouder said on February 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Congratulations, John!

    So – prime rib at the best restaurant in town tonight?

    (that’s what we normally do on anniversaries; and for one ending in a zero, cheese cake crem brulee for dessert!)

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  21. crinoidgirl said on February 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    “Before the mishap, the man had been drinking, he said.”

    Now, THERE’S a surprise!

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  22. John said on February 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    We leave for Negril in 15 days so tonight is probably just a quiet evening a small restaurant.

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  23. Deborah said on February 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Nancy, What more is there to say about a 62 year old party guy who straps a muffler on his back filled with gasoline and lights it while sledding?

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  24. paddyo' said on February 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    MufflerMan sounds like a candidate for the Darwin Awards, but that doesn’t explain how he lasted 62 years … survival of the fittest? Methinks not

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  25. Julie Robinson said on February 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Congrats to John, and wishes for many, many more.

    Thanks beb, I felt like crankyoldwoman until I read your post! When will we learn that just because the TV is there, we don’t have to turn it on?

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  26. Scout said on February 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    As soon as I read the rocket sled piece I knew Coozledad would come through with a true life account of a colorful local acquaintance. As always, C-dad does not disappoint.

    I might be the only person on earth (besides beb) who has never seen The Sopranos, but I have enjoyed Curb Your Enthusiasm on dvd and am a big fan of The Office.

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  27. Colleen said on February 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I still watch Big Love. I love Ginnifer Goodwin.

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  28. maryinIN said on February 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    I wonder if anyone here besides me watched and enjoyed the HBO series “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.” Certainly was a change of pace for HBO. The (I think) seven-part series was beautifully done and mostly faithful to the books, and while some would say they are very light entertainment, some fans, myself included, just like how the protagonist is portrayed – optimistic, gentle, wanting to contribute to a society (Botswana) that she feels indebted to and responsible for. There is a dark side and you know it’s there lurking, but it’s held at bay as life goes on. I’m hoping for a second season, but haven’t heard yet if it will happen. If it does, I will re-instate my HBO.

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  29. Dorothy said on February 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I’m still watching Big Love but there’s not the same vibe for me this year. I miss Harry Dean Stanton. We burst out laughing at one of the insulting lines he threw at his son Alby on this week’s episode. I’m looking forward to seeing Claire Danes in “Temple Grandin” this weekend.

    No one has commented on the video Nancy posted. I consider myself pretty open minded, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people have little kids swear like that. It’s just not right. And especially not funny. Now it’s my turn to be Mrs. Crankypants.

    Happy Anniversary John and Mrs. John! We had our 30th back in October.

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  30. Sue said on February 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Dorothy, then you don’t want to watch Will Ferrell and Pearl:
    From what I hear, Pearl retired from acting once she started understanding what she was saying.

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  31. Dorothy said on February 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Now see, here’s the contradiction, Sue. I find that clip hilarious. My son showed it to me a few years ago. Maybe it’s because Pearl is so tiny and probably won’t remember what she said. Those other kids look old enough that you would not want to set bad examples by having them say ‘fuck’ for the camera.

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  32. Lex said on February 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Down here, the correct last line is, “Hey, hol’ my beer ‘n’ watch this!”

    This guy’s epic adventure belonged on YouTube as a cautionary tale. I’d thought by now that Americans knew to have their phonecams rolling when the potential for such bounteous servings of Fail heave into view.

    And I like, “Step aside! I’m a chemist!” Somehow, “Step aside! I’m an English major!” just doesn’t have the same oomph to it. Although “First, we’ll need to be heavily armed!” can help make up for that a little.

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  33. brian stouder said on February 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    “Step aside; I’m in Inside Sales” just doesn’t have the same lilt, y’know?

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  34. MarkH said on February 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Congrats, John; hope you have a great celebration. And, Dorothy, whoa! Did you mention that back in October? If so, I spaced it. (Belated) Congrats to you and Mr. Dorothy.

    Jeff B. said it at #1; all those channels and nothing on. We don’t get any of the premium channels (although I debated regenerating HBO just for “Big Love”), so our regular fare is AMC, TCM, Dicsovery, History, NatGeo, PBS and cable news (yes, all of them, when the remote is in my hands). I know that sounds really boring, but when someone waxes on about some “wonderful” standard TV drama or “comedy”, I go, “what the f*** are you talking about?!”. I can’t believe all the channels I get from DirecTV that go unwatched.

    I don’t know how Brian feels about it, but SPEED has been completely destroyed by NASCAR. Anything else, like motorcycle racing, or German and British touring car races are all on at odd times. Formula One is still shown live, but they don’t repeat the races later anymore.

    I may have mentioned this before, but Deb and I watched Big Love when we could and were enthralled. Her first husband was Mormon and her then-father-in-law was Roman himself.

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  35. Jolene said on February 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    A professor friend of mine used to say that he was waiting for a situation in which he could say, “Let me through. I’m a decision analyst.” I haven’t talked to him for a while, but, so far as I know, he’s still waiting.

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  36. crinoidgirl said on February 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Not as cuddly as the puppies, but still interesting – live video feed of a bald eagle nest:

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  37. Joe Kobiela said on February 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I have been watching men of a certain age. It started off slow, but I gave it a few weeks and it just kept getting better. There is a new show on Canadian history channel called Ice Pilots, I have looked all over the net to try and find it, but no luck.I can get previews but not full episodes. Any one else seen or heard of this?
    Pilot Joe

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  38. Dexter said on February 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Somehow I missed this, but The Acme Bar is back in business now. I didn’t even know it had been sold to folks who cared enough to fix the place up and carry on.
    You damn-betcha I will be going there the next time I get to FWA.

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  39. jcburns said on February 2, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    To answer Sue at comment 14, the Lovejoy TV series is, well, dated, to say the least. Big-haired 80s women, a grainy film look, But McShane can sit there and stare at another actor for 30 seconds, and he commands the screen, even relatively early in his career. But the show is, hey, an entertainment. I’m concerned that Joe has been watching men of a certain age. Doing what? OH! Men of A Certain Age, the TV series with the Homicide detective, the starship captain, and the sitcom guy everyone loves.

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  40. ROgirl said on February 2, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Off topic, but if they make a biopic of the John Edwards story, Matthew Broderick should star.

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  41. paddyo' said on February 2, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Love the sway of the nest-tree in the eagle-cam, crinoidgirl — quite cool

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  42. LAMary said on February 2, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Step aside, I’m in Talent Acquisition. (I used to be in recruiting, but things change.)

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  43. alex said on February 2, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Step aside, I’m a Toyota driver.

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  44. MarkH said on February 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    That’s funny, mary. Here, one of the local banks was running a series of ads touting their personnel. One ad had a picture of their recruiter/HR honchess, who actually has the title VP of Talent. Now , we could take that (and your department name) a certain number of ways, couldn’t we…

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  45. brian stouder said on February 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Hah! And the thread-Oscar for Best Line goes to Alex. (Actually, I’d leap out of your Toyota-drivin’ way)

    Someone upthread mentioned coming to these sitcoms late. Over the years, that’s how I came to appreciate Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond. Lately, my lovely wife is quite taken with The Office, but I’m with whoever expressed a doubt or two about that show.

    Honestly – C-SPAN/Book TV is good stuff more often than not. A number of books on my shelf are the result of seeing the authors there (Demon Under the Microscope, Mellon, IBM and the Holocaust, Dreadnaught, and The Yard leap to mind)

    edit: Mark – regarding Speed; that channel justifies having a dvr. I can catch all the British and German Touring Car races*, and all the F1 stuff – and I’m happy as a pig in mud. NASCAR could learn a thing or two from the euro-sedan races. Two races on race day? Why the heck not? And – lose the ovals, right?

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  46. Deborah said on February 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Another great post at Sweet Juniper. Jim complains about his family’s lack of singing skills. He writes this about his 2 year old son’s inability to carry the tune “Happy Birthday”:

    “He learned the words quick enough, but there’s something about the way he sings them that makes the simple tune sound like an Estonian funerary dirge performed by an in-bred goatherd into the merciless winds of the Baltic Sea”.


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  47. MarkH said on February 2, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    OK, so I’m trolling through imdb and decide to go to “Treme” and look for cast updates. Did we know already that John Goodman’s Ashley Morris-based character is named Creighton Burnette, and his (I assume) wife, Toni is played by Melissa Leo? Does anyone know if Leo bears any resemblance to Ashley’s wife? I may re-up HBO just for this series.

    EDIT — yessir, Brian, a dvr is required for us more genteeeel SPEED viewers. I don’t know if NASCAR could learn a lot,as they are making plenty of dough now. But their rabid fans certainly could. And, yes, a weekend, or even a day at any road course event with multiple races is worth more than any roundy-rounder event. Except maybe the Indy 500.

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  48. deb said on February 2, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    rocket-sled guy reminds me of an aunt’s husband who once entertained the assembled extended family by grabbing an aerosol can, shooting out whatever was in it, and then flicking his lighter under the stream to create a big fireball. in a big kitchen filled with many, many people, including about a dozen kids. i can’t believe he’s still alive; natural selection should have weeded him out long ago.

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  49. Bill said on February 2, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Step aside. I’m an (ex) adman and I can tell you how great it’s gonna be.

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  50. Dexter said on February 3, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Everyone’s forgotten the 2003 HBO series “Carnivale”. That one got a bit weird at the end, coinciding with Professor Lodz’s escalating usage of absinthe. There’s an interesting cocktail , but I had quit before I heard about this mysterious wormwood drink.

    One of my faves was “John from Cincinnati”, which didn’t last long. “I got my eye on you”…”NO I GOT MY EYE ON YOU!!”

    Some investors are going to refurbish the Loew’s Theater in Brooklyn, NY, a 3,200 seat palace neglected since 1977. Good for them. I still can’t believe The Embassy nee “Emboyd” still has a vibrant life in Fort Wayne. I love that palace. It seats 2,477 with the newer seats.

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  51. alex said on February 3, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Slightly OT, but here’s an interesting video clip showing determined journalists who refuse to let a politician evade their line of questioning:

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  52. Dorothy said on February 3, 2010 at 7:37 am

    MarkH: they must be updating imdb daily about TREME. I looked at it a week or 10 days go and they didn’t even have John Goodman listed as part of the cast, despite evidence to the contrary (pictures from the set posted online). Then a day or two after that check I did, I found John listed as part of the cast but no character name was attributed to him yet. He and Melissa Leo should make a pretty good pair on screen. She’s a terrific actress. And considering her history as part of the cast of HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS (and it’s connection to David Simon), I’m not surprised she’s been cast in the show.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 3, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Still waiting for a word on Lovejoy the telly version cf. the books — can anyone tell fans of the print series how the film approach does the antiques history?

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  54. Dorothy said on February 3, 2010 at 8:49 am

    In yesterday’s mail guess what arrived? The February 2010 issue of National Geographic. And what’s on the cover? Polygamy in America: One Man, Five Wives, 46 Children. The beaming old dude is wearing a hat just like the one Roman wore in BIG LOVE.

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  55. MichaelG said on February 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Brian, MarkH, you two couldn’t be more right about Speed. It’s been ruined by lowest common denominator shows the same way the Food Channel was. The British and German touring cars are lots of fun, F-1 guardedly so (the whole program and Bernie E piss me off so much I can’t really get into F-1) and last weekend’s coverage of the Daytona 24 hours was superb. I miss the Aussie V-8 supercars and the Rally coverage. Do we really need a thousand hours of watching identical ’69 Camaros auctioned for obscene prices? NASCAR was good twenty years ago but I don’t like the spec racing series for a few hyper rich owners into which it’s devolved. Bring back real cars. Also, Brian, don’t get rid of all the ovals. I like a few of the big ones where the cars can really get out and roll. Over the years I’ve seen them at Sears (now Infineon) a half dozen times. Watching those big cars bumping and grinding their way around a road course is a great show.

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  56. Jeff Borden said on February 3, 2010 at 10:21 am


    Bless you for your call for a return to more normal vehicles in NASCAR. When I was a much younger pup, I bought a copy of stock car magazine every month and pored over every page. The race cars (this is in the mid-1960s) looked like the same cars you saw on the street. Richard Petty’s blue Plymouth Belvidere wasn’t much different than the car Mr. Bodkins down the street owned. Today, they are all fiberglass shells bolted to exotic chassis and drivetrain combinations. I miss the sheetmetal.

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  57. Sycamorebaby said on February 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    It is interesting how far these comments have come — I am about to cancel HBO…though I’ve enjoyed aspects of some of the newer programming (if you’ve seen it, you’ve repeated Ted Danson’s whine “I want a colonic”), but most seem to become shadows of themselves fairly quickly. I am either getting 1) too old, 2) too jaded, 3) too difficult to entertain, or all three. Plus, I want all the channels in hi-def now and Comcast doesn’t offer that. Oh, well….Red Sox season will be here soon, thank goodness.

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  58. nancy said on February 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    KB! You’ve found us!

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