Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For Cat Lovers

If you've ever lived with a cat, you'll enjoy this YouTube video...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Goofing Off

An old boyfriend said he was the most productive while goofing off. The down time refreshed his brain. For me, today, it meant avoiding laundry and bills while sipping a latte at a coffee shop and wandering through Golden Gate Park.

I Meant To Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work today—
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand—
So what could I do but laugh and go?

Richard LeGallienne



Friday, July 23, 2010

Mad Men

I love Mad Men, the brilliant TV series about Don Draper's identity crisis (and ours) all wrapped up in the mores of the 1960's. It's my second favorite drama of all time, between The Wire (#1) and The Soprano's (#3). This Sunday night at 10:00 is the season 4 premier on AMC. Don't miss it. But if you haven't seen the series before, I'd advise starting from season 1 via netflix.

I'm not going to go on and on about the sharp dialogue, clothing, casting, styling, acting, and staging. Instead, I will list a few of my favorite quotes and provide YouTube links to the opening credits, Don Draper's soliloquy about nostalgia (from the season 1 finale), and a famous Pete/Peggy scene. The last link is to a Huffington Post article with other favorite quotes.

Roger Sterling:
When God closes a door he opens a dress....
You know what my father used to say? Being with a client is like being in a marriage. Sometimes you get into it for the wrong reason, and eventually they hit you in the face.
Don Draper:
If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation.
[To Peggy] Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it didn't happen.
Joan Harris:
But that's life. One minute you're on top of the world. The next minute some secretary's running you over with a lawn mower.
[Greg to Joan]: Joannie, I don't want to have a fight right now.
[Joan to Greg]: Then stop talking.
Betty Draper:
Go watch TV.
Only boring people are bored.
Peggy Olson:
I'm Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana.
I am so high. 
Lane Pryce:
Am I to entertain your ballad of dissatisfaction, or has something actually happened? Because I am at work, dear. 





Sunday, July 18, 2010

Conan Takes San Francisco

Last night Conan O'Brien came to SF to collect his Sketchfest 2010 Tribute Award at The Herbst Theater. I expected the usual accolades followed by an hour long retrospective of his career.  Instead, I was treated to a 3 hour conversation facilitated by Patton Oswalt with Andy Richter joining in about half way through. No pimping of Conan's upcoming show on TBS, bitter tirades against NBC or Leno, or glib remarks. Conan was raw and loose on stage as he and his buddies polished off a couple bottles of red wine while discussing their industry.

They said all TV executives, the “people behind the curtain”, are scared shitless. The internet, YouTube, social media, and cable have ripped the media business wide open. Studios are losing control and have no clue how to react. When Conan was tapped to take over Letterman's Late Night Show in 1993, there were no photos of him. Newspapers had to run a gritty image they snatched from a TV screen. Today anyone can advertise themselves, which gives more people a chance to shine or make fools of themselves. And reality TV has set a precedent that you can be famous not for any talent you might possess, but for just making a spectacle of yourself.

When Conan left Harvard, he made a pledge that he wasn't going to work on a show he didn't believe in. Money wasn't the priority. Although he had enormous respect for SCTV and wrote for The Simpsons, he felt SNL and Letterman's show were the most creative environments at the time. When he took over The Late Show in 1993, he had a week-to-week contract which eventually turned into a 13 week contract. He was canceled once, but the network had no replacement so he was put back on. Eventually the network lost interest in the show and left him alone, which gave him the freedom to develop the show he wanted. Contrast that to his almost non-honeymoon stage on The Tonight Show.

Conan believes longevity is overrated. It's not important to him how many people are watching him, but who's watching him and his connection to them. Although he's never gotten used to criticism, he's learned to push through it. He appreciates people who love his work and the outpouring of affection for him on Facebook. And it's important to him that he's thought of as a good husband and Dad, not just a comedian. To him, comedy and morality are interconnected.

Of course, Conan was funny too. He did the string dance and joked about his love of Popeye and the fact that his act is more like a cartoon than anything else. At one point he jumped up and yelled, “Fuck you, Jon Hamm, for being so handsome AND such a nice guy!” He made one of the audience members show him his driver's license, because he couldn't believe his name was Lazar. And when Patton was getting the wave to close the show, Conan got out of his chair, sat at the edge of stage, and continued to take questions and play with the audience. He was clearly enjoying himself—as was I. When I left the theater, I felt like I had spent the night at the local pub with my good friend, Conan.

Bon Voyage, Conan! I wish you well, and look forward to your new show in November.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chris Rock Never Scared

Last night I watched Chris Rock's 2004 HBO special Never Scared, which was hilarious. Have you seen it? Get it from Netflix. It doesn't matter that some of the topics are dated. Here are a few youtube excerpts...


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I love Pizza

Don't you? Pizza is always gobbled up at every work event, birthday party, super bowl party, and late night study session. Admit it. You've got some well-worn pizza take-out menus in your office and kitchen drawers. 

When you're hungry, there's nothing more satisfying than biting into a hot pizza,  dripping with melted mozzarella or feta cheese, tomato sauce, and your favorite crust. Pizza can satisfy any need or desire: veggie, organic, deep dish, non-gluten, Mexican, pepperoni, pineapple, plain, non-dairy... I've even seen wedding pizzas advertised. There's a wonderful breakfast pizza at Rose Cafe on Union St with smoked ham, fontina, and eggs. And you can grab a beer, watch the game, and order from a variety of pizzas at Pizza Orgasmica.

My favorite pizza comes from New Haven, CT, and some NYC joints where the crust is thin and the emphasis is more on the cheese than the sauce. You can get a pretty good imitation of it at Amici's on Lombard where they bake their pizzas in wood burning ovens. Both the dough and sauce are made approximately 2 days beforehand, which gives the flavors a chance to mellow and breathe. 

Guess what I'm having for dinner! 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Love at 82

Friday morning, in the lobby of SF's City Hall, I saw a dapper, older gentleman clutching a dozen red roses. He asked me if I'd hold the roses while he straightened his matching, red bow tie. When I asked him where he was heading, he told me he was waiting for his soon-to-be-bride, who was primping in the ladies room. He beamed with pride as he described his lady love. He said he'd dated several ladies over the decades, but never met the one until this past winter.

“Never give up on love,” he said to me. So sweet.

I had an appointment so I couldn't wait to meet his lady love. But I walked away from him feeling a little more hopeful for humanity.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Barbara Boxer Shook My Hand!

Wednesday night I had the privilege of meeting Senator Barbara Boxer. What a thrill! About 100 people crowded into a house in Palo Alto to hear one of the many campaign speeches she had given that day on her “Jobs for California Tour”. The place was crawling with Fox News, CBS, and numerous other cameramen/women and sycophants. I munched on gorgeous strawberries and filmed a testimonial which probably won't be used, but was fun to do.  Once we were all seated, she was introduced, and the crowd ripped into thunderous applause and jumped to their feet. Wow, is she petite! I almost couldn't see her until she was standing right in front of me, shaking my hand.

She outlined three job initiatives:
  1. Clean Technology. She wants CA to be the hub of the clean-energy economy. 
  2. Transportation.   She got stimulus money to fund several highway transportation projects, such as the construction on Doyle Drive in the Presidio near Golden Gate Bridge. And she was instrumental in persuading President Obama to set aside $2.25 billion of the Federal Stimulus Package for CA's High Speed Rail Project.
  3. Her pledge to End tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. 
She also talked about her efforts to block the Bush Administration's proposal to abolish the 40 hour work week and to rob workers of overtime pay; her fight to increase the minimum wage; and her continued support of the Economic Recovery Act and Unemployment Extensions.

Then she ripped into Carly Fiorina, her Republican opponent, who was recently endorsed by Sarah Palin.  She listed several reasons why Carly Fiorina shouldn't be a CA Senator:
  1. Fiorina layed off 30,000 American workers and shipped thousands of jobs to China while her salary tripled as CEO of Hewlett Packard.  
  2. Fiorina was fired in 2005 by the fed-up HP Board of Directors. They gave her a $21 million “go-away” package. HP's stock rose sharply the day after she left.
  3. Fiorina wants to repeal Roe vs Wade 
  4. Fiorina wants to repeal Health Reform
  5. Fiorina opposes the Economic Recovery Act and any form of Unemployment Extensions.
  6. Fiorina wants CA off-shore drilling NOW!
I'm obviously a Boxer fan, and, as a supporter, am considered a “Boxer for Boxer”. I'm happy to lead cheers for our hard working CA Senator. Go Barbara! CA needs you!

Boy that was a fun night!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I blame Alfred Hitchcock

I don't consider myself a particularly flighty person. But the other day, while walking along Baker Beach in SF, I found myself nervously raising my hands in a feign attempt to ward off sea gulls. Damn you, Hitchcock! Why couldn't I shake the image of Tippi Hedren running to a phone booth in Bodega Bay to escape those vicious birds? I'm glad Hitchcock wasn't able to end The Birds the way he originally wanted to: With The Golden Gate Bridge completely covered in birds. 

What else have you done to me, you maniacal master of suspense? I don't fear showers, you Psycho, but I won't stop at a lonely motel on the side of the road for the night. When I drive down Highway 1 from SF to Carmel, my mind frequently wanders to that scene in Suspicion where Cary Grant drives dangerously around seaside cliffs. When I'm in New York City or any large city, I frequently wonder what people are really up to as I gaze through my Rear Window. And while I'm not afraid of heights, the thought of watching Vertigo, or climbing any tower just makes me dizzy. Hitchcock, you get me in the gut every time.

Are you a victim of horror/suspense films too? No? Really? Just remember the words of our master: “...the next scream you hear may be your own!”

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Better off Ted—Why did you leave me?

I laugh every time I see this! Don't know why ABC canceled this show. Click on the youtube link below...

I knew you'd laugh too.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ready, Aim, Fire!

When the Supreme Court ruled that a complete ban on handguns is unconstitutional, it got me thinking. Retailers are missing out. There are several money making ideas they need to address:
  • Backpacks and book bags with gun holsters next to iphone pockets. Arts programs should be canceled to make room for artillery and combat practice. Any wild life “mistakenly” killed on school campuses could be used to subsidize school lunch programs.
  • Yoga mat bags could be used to carry rifles until over-the-shoulder rifle holders hit the stores.
  • 2-sided, clear carry-on plastic bags: one side for toiletries; the other for your gun. Shouldn't I be able to defend myself in the air as well as on the ground? I hate those passengers by the window who feel the need to climb over me on their way to the bathroom.
  • Clutches with a side pocket for pepper spray and agent orange for those guys who don't understand the word “no”.
  • Scented hand grenades for those lousy bus rides.
  • Easy access gun holsters by side view mirrors for those long L.A. drives.
Have I forgotten anything?