Sunday, November 25, 2012

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Many, if not most of you, have probably never heard of this television show.  It debuted in 2006, the same year that the very popular 30 Rock began it's run.  Both shows were about a late night comedy sketch show, however, the perspectives were entirely different.  After 22 episodes, Studio 60 was summarily cancelled.  So, why am I writing about it now?  That's simple - I LOVE IT.  Although I have attempted to watch 30 Rock on a couple of occasions, I find it unbearable.  I find the characters annoying, offensive, self-centered and, frankly, not terribly intelligent. 

When Studio 60 was announced, there was no question that I would watch it.  It was scripted by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Thomas Schlamme.  Both of them are geniuses in their fields. 

I have three screenwriters whom I positively adore, in no particular order:  Aaron Sorkin, Joss Whedon and Lawrence Kasdan.  All three have scripted my favorite television series and/or several of my favorite movies.  All three of these men are funny, witty and take me on an emotional roller coaster ride.  Their characters, both heroes and villains, are fully human and a joy to watch.

Studio 60 was Sorkin's third television series.  His first, Sports Night, was delightful.  It was critically acclaimed, but suffered from low ratings.  ABC gave it a chance and it lasted 3 seasons.  Before Sports Night was cancelled, Aaron had already started his masterpiece, The West Wing.  The two main stars of Studio 60, Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, met and worked together on The West Wing.  Their natural camaraderie was evident on screen.

Studio 60 is semi-autobiographical, with Matt Perry playing a Sorkin like character and Bradley Whitford playing a Tommy Schlamme like character.  Sarah Paulson's role is based upon Kristin Chenoweth.

A couple of years ago, I watched the series again online.  It was as fresh as it had been when it debuted.  I recently borrowed the DVD set from a friend and watched the first 8 episodes in the past 24 hours.  It is simply a travesty that this show wasn't renewed - the only show by Aaron Sorkin that didn't get green lighted for a second season.   If you have Netflix, subscribe to Hulu or can possibly get the DVDs from your local library - DO IT!  As with all of Aaron's work, the scripts are filled with fast paced, smart, funny dialog and great story lines.  The actors are at their best.  In addition to Matt Perry, Brad Whitford and Sarah Paulson, the cast includes Amanda Peete, Steven Weber, D. L. Hughley, Nate Corddry (he is wonderful and adorable), Timothy Busfield and Simon Helberg (of Big Bang Theory and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog fame).  Helberg does a killer imitation of Nicholas Cage and Sarah Paulson's Holly Hunter is a laugh riot. 

Instead of listing the works of Sorkin, Whedon and Kasdan, check them out on IMDB.  I hope you will watch the series.  It's really, really worth it.




Saturday, November 24, 2012

How I Spent My 4 Day Weekend

Well, I had high hopes for this 4 day weekend.  Starting next Saturday, my staff and I will be working 6 days a week.  Trust me, I'm getting way too old for this.  When I get home at night now I rarely have the energy to feed all of the cats (and the 1 remaining dog) and scoop any litter boxes.  Dinner for me?  All too often it's cereal, unless I had cooked on the weekend and have leftovers.  I rarely stop to pick up something to eat on the way home. It's just too darn expensive to eat out.  Frozen dinners mostly end up tasting like the cardboard container in which they are packaged.  Many nights I just skip dinner, after having also skipped lunch.  Yeah, I know.  No lectures, please.

So, I did get my nearly 2 weeks worth of dirty dishes washed.  I tore up my dishwasher at the end of 2010 and haven't been able to afford to replace it.  Can we say VET BILLS????  I just finished washing and bleaching out 5 litter boxes that have been sitting outside for over a year.

I did manage to run my payday errands yesterday.  Yes, on Black Friday.  I got two prescriptions filled at Target, well after the BF mad house.  Next I went to PetSmart for their BF specials.  Friskies canned food, 39 cents a can.  I bought 8 cases and I saved at least $1.50 per case.  Those should last me a month.  I bought 8 of the 35 pound scooping Tidy Cat litter.  On sale for $8.99 with a $5.00 coupon on each purchase.  So, buckets 2-8 were only $4,25, including tax, each.   WHOO - HOO.  Those might last about 2 months.  I had almost gone through my Buy 1, Get 1 free 14 pound each containers of Tidy Cat.  Great timing.  I had bought a total of 24 of those.  At $7.79 for two, that was a super deal at the time.

Then off to the grocery store where I picked up fixings for homemade potato soup and vegetarian chili.  With both I should have something to eat for dinner for about 2 weeks.  Of course, I'm going to get tired of each before that time is up.  Oh, well.

Intersperse all of this with Laundry.  At my house I'm always doing laundry, mostly because of the cats  Between barfing on the bed and having to wash the bedspread, there are towels, more towels and even more towels.  Years ago I started putting towels under the litter boxes.  Someone, invariably, hangs over the edge.  It's quicker and easier to soak the towels in the washer in vinegar water (bought 4 gallons at the grocery store yesterday) and then wash the towels than to constantly mop the floor or try to peel wet newspaper off the floor.

I had planned to clean and organize my kitchen on Thursday.  That didn't happen, needless to say.  Hopefully I can get started on that tonight and finish up tomorrow.  I did a little bit, here and there since Thursday, but not that anyone but me would notice.  I still need to vacuum the living room carpet.  I am about to get started on scooping at least 4 litter boxes, possibly 6 before the night is over.  My personal batteries tend to run down around 8PM and little gets done on most nights.

I did get the bills paid and out of the way.  Tomorrow, I may be taking my 92 year old neighbor to the grocery store.  And, of course the cooking marathon.  Then, goody, more dishes to wash.  Of course, I have about 20 cat bowls and a dog dish to wash daily.  Oh, I have to finally clean out the fridge, something I've been meaning to do for the past 7 or 8 weekends.  And Monday morning before I leave for work, I'll have to drag a full week's worth of garbage to the street - bags & bags of dirty cat litter in 7 quite heavy garbage cans.  There was no garbage or recycling pick up on Thanksgiving Day.

My world - it's a disaster.  Is it Christmas yet?  Santa, all I want is the energy to clean this place up, the organizing gene and the return of the 2 day weekend.  And, if you have a spare dishwasher and a person to install it, that would be wonderful. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving - A Celebration of What?

Over the years my feelings about Thanksgiving have changed dramatically.  As a child, I looked forward to the new coloring pages of pumpkins, turkeys and Pilgrims.  There were crafts and plays.  That first stage was - FUN.

As an adolescent I looked forward to time off from school and The Dinner.  My mother was a wonderful cook and she made the best dressing ever.  When my father died in early 1965, holidays in general became something different.  Not only was his absence discomforting, but it became a time to reexamine what holidays actually meant.  At the same time, holidays were becoming more and more about consumerism, buying new and better decorations and Family.  Without dad, family wasn't the same for me.  The word was like a slap in the face.  It made me feel like I didn't "belong."  As the years progressed I began to feel more and more like someone on the outside. 

Aging does give one perspective.  My idea of family changed and designated days to celebrate some created occasion has become an artificial construct for me.  These special days had subtle messages for many people.  It wasn't just those who didn't have a conventional or traditional family who were marginalized, but those of differing religions, other than American origins, those who couldn't afford the crass consumerism flooding the airwaves.  The myths of a harmonious 1st Thanksgiving, the forcing of some sort of ideal family and/or lifestyle, the underlying guilting of those who didn't fit that ideal.  Square pegs unwelcome in the Norman Rockwell America.

The final straw and/or the final epiphany happened when I chose to become vegetarian.  My eyes had been opened to the overwhelming abuse and cruelty inflicted upon non-human animals and it was unconscionable.  Their pain became my pain, my sadness.  The sight of a golden brown dead turkey as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table was/is repellent.  Happy Turkey Day became the new expression for this holiday.  Happy Turkey?  Excuse me, but I know those turkeys would be much happier if they were still alive.  The massacre of millions of turkeys each year for Tradition is an obscenity  The truth of how massive numbers of turkeys are bred and raised to meet the ever increasing Need, created by marketing executives, is horrid to see and even worse for those turkeys to endure.  No longer are turkeys the multicolored birds of my youth.  Now turkeys are white.  They are bred to have oversized breasts, so large that it is often difficult for them to keep from toppling over.  Why is this done?  Because the white flesh of the turkeys' breasts are the favored part of this bird.  They are "engineered" to fit the tastes of their predators.

Add to the abuse and cruelty toward these marvelous creatures the abuse and cruelty the European invaders and then the "Americans" visited upon the First Peoples, the REAL Americans.  The violence of this holiday, either hidden or ignored by most is the reality of this holiday/holy day to me.  For the rest of America apparently ignorance is bliss.  Unfortunately once faced with the truth, I can't wipe it from my memory or ignore it.  I will enjoy the day, and will spend it with my family - 4-legged and furry. 

Wishing each of you and all of us -


To see a video inside Butterball, the largest purveyor of dead turkeys, visit this link:

And, if you're interested, here are a couple of links about the first Thanksgiving and the National Day of Mourning, observed on Thanksgiving Day since 1970.