Category Archives: Observations

Fall Lineup

Every year, the new TV season looks more and more like the previous year. Meanwhile, the networks order fewer and fewer episodes. Because, guess what – there’s much better programming on Netflix, Amazon Prime, BritBox, etc.

The problem is that network execs keep mining the same territory. Currently there are countless shows set in Chicago (Why not Dubuque or Roslyn, folks?) Dozens of shows about firemen, lawyers, and doctors. No wonder TV big shots keep rebooting classics like Murphy Brown and Magnum PI, and moaning that they’re losing share to reality shows.

There are tons of underrepresented professions that are full of drama and excitement. Here is my (Free! Unsolicited!) advice to the networks. If you guys start now, you can have your pilots all wrapped up in plenty of time to make it big next September.

Plumber’s Crack: Wise and witty plumber fixes sinks, toilets, broken hearts and dysfunctional families – one visit at a time. (You know this is fantasy because when is any household repair fixed in one trip?)

Lab Rat: Drama about the trials, toils and tribulations of a young assistant in the local college’s biology department. Academia is a fertile area for romance, backstabbing bosses and obsequious colleagues trying to get promoted even though the raise will be miniscule. Come on, people – it’s not just about law and med school!

Garbage Day: A mystery. In the search for the truth, intrepid garbage collector plows through all kinds of disgusting junk to find exculpatory evidence.

Techies: What better source for a new nerdy dramedy than a 60’s high school audio-visual club. Imagine the tension between the prom/football cliques and the guys without whom nobody can watch health ed instructional documentaries.

The Brazilian: Warm, caring aesthetician waxes philosophical as she hears all the intimate issues facing her clients. Every episode has a neat ending. Potential spinoff: “Eyebrow Guru”.

Play It As It Valets: Mix a swank resort, snooty guests, fancy cars and underpaid valets and you have a recipe for trouble!

Oh, the possibilities are endless.

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Images from Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

Good News Monday: Oryx and Eagles and Bears, Oh My!

Happy Labor Day, US friends!

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Today’s heartening item is that several animal populations are finally on the upswing, including

  • Bald Eagle
  • Arabian Oryx
  • Gray Wolf
  • Northern Elephant Seal
  • Brown Bear
  • Giant Panda
  • Humpback Whale

Unfortunately, no politicians have been added to the endangered species list.

 

A Love Letter to a Younger Me

Recently, my friend N sent me a collection of letters I’d written to her the summer we were 14. Talk about cringe-worthy!

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Note: Bob the postman played along; our correspondence continued all summer!

One thing I learned was that my writing style hasn’t evolved much since my teens. That was a bit scary. Also, that I was completely boy-crazy, which did not come as a shock.

These were my major interests:

  • Trying to sort out what appealed to boys and which girls they liked.
  • The Mets baseball team (I had no memory of being such a fan) and the Beatles, especially George. (I was obsessed.)
  • Sailing and tennis lessons. I never got very good at either, but apparently had fun: “Sailing is terrific, but I almost capsized last lesson! It was a panic – I turned too far & we almost turned over. Boy! Was my sailing instructor MAD!”
  • Trying to ascertain whether a 16 year old could possibly be interested in a 14 year old. (Spoiler: We did get together the next summer.)
  • Bad boys in general: “Last year, K got stoned once on the golf course with O, & also got picked up (with O) for trying to steal a car!!!!” I had a major crush on K, who was gorgeous. (I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty face. But a guy who got stoned at 13? That was a surprise.)
  • Obsessing over whether I should say Happy Birthday to K: “Will he think I went to a lot of trouble to find out when it is? Or should I forget it? (We’ve known each other for 13 years.) I really don’t know. He might think I’m chasing him. And I’m not positive that’s his birthday. If it isn’t, he’ll think I like him (which I do, but he shouldn’t know, exactly.) If I don’t, he may think I’m stuck-up, or a snob. If I do, he might think I’m chasing him. What to do?????”
  • I wasn’t a complete airhead. I read a lot (in one letter, I recommend Huxley’s Brave New World) and played chamber music (cello) and chess. And I loved my summer science classes, especially when K and I were paired for dissection and swapped different fish parts on purpose to create two new species. OK, maybe that was less about science and more about the cute boy, but still….
  • Money went a lot further in the 60’s. I was paid $2.50 for 4 hours of babysitting three little kids.
  • I was a staunch Democrat: “J is such a jerk. He swears like anything. p.s. He’s for Goldwater!!!” (I was outraged.)
  • Boy-girl parties were a washout. Most of the boys wouldn’t dance.

As I was laughing, I developed a deep affection for this young teenager:

  • I was enthusiastic.
  • I was a good sport.
  • I was a loyal friend.
  • I had a sense of humor.
  • I loved to write.

So,

Dear 14-year-old Me:

You are a great kid. Some boys will like you. Some won’t. It will all work out; you have nothing to worry about. Develop your talents, try lots of new things, keep making friends, and enjoy the next few decades.

Oh, and you will always be obsessive; try to channel it constructively!

Love,

Older, Wiser, Adult Me

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Good News Monday: Climate Change

We’ve still got a long way to go, but trees are adapting to offset carbon emissions.  They’ve begun to use water more efficiently, which allows them to grow in size and thereby remove more CO2 from the air.

Keep reducing your own carbon footprint, though.  Trees can’t do it all by themselves!

 

Good News Monday

Dear Friends,

Are you as tired as I am of always hearing bad news? I’m planning to devote Mondays to sharing something positive.

Today: Contrary to a common perception that millennials (born between 1980-1996; e.g. my kids) are only concerned with partying and Instagram, consider:

  • 75% would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company AND
  • 84% say that making the world a better place is more important than achieving professional success.

Pretty cool!

More good news: It’s almost Tuesday 🙂

In Praise of Like

As a preteen, “liking” a boy was the highest form of attachment. Somewhere along the way, though, like was deemed second best to “love”. If you liked someone, that meant you were (only) friends but if you loved them, well, that was the romantic ideal.

I’ve been thinking lately that we shortchange ourselves when love supersedes like.

Shouldn’t our romantic partners/spouses etc. also be our close friends? People whom we respect, admire, enjoy and actually like? If those who set our hearts a-flutter are also good company, doesn’t that have more staying power?

Something else I liked this week: some hints on motivation.

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We usually know what we ought to be doing at any given moment – begin a project, get out and exercise, etc. — but feeling motivated enough to start may be more of a challenge.

So when I read this trick to outsmart your brain, it caught my attention.

A woman named Mel Robbins started researching the science behind motivation and discovered that our brains have an innate need to protect us. When we’re stressed, afraid, or in pain, our mind will keep us from doing the uncomfortable activity by communicating, “It’s ok, you don’t need to do that; do this instead”.

It’s not necessarily a lack of willpower or commitment that keeps us from pursuing what we ought to; it seems to be an innate response we can train ourselves to override.

Ms. Robbins has given talks and written a book about her 5-second rule and how to use it in every area of your life. It’s quite simple: when you find yourself procrastinating, count backward from 5 and then begin the activity. Apparently, it’s a form of metacognition that interrupts the excuses. Here’s more detail if you’re interested.

This sounds very cool and I’m going to use it right now to make myself pull some pesky weeds.

Or maybe after lunch….

Random Good Things About Friday the 13th

It’s safer

According to the Dutch Center for Insurance Statistics, Friday the 13th is actually statistically safer than other Fridays — there are fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft on these days. Is that only true in the Netherlands, though?

The first dinosaur eggs were found

Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the first dinosaur eggs at a dig in Mongolia, on July 13, 1923, a huge breakthrough in paleontology and a generally cool thing.

Gender discrimination became illegal in government

Although Title VII prevented private employers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin and sex, it wasn’t until Executive Order 11375 that gender discrimination became illegal for the federal government and federal contractors. President Johnson signed the order — officially titled Amending Executive Order No. 11246, Relating to Equal Employment Opportunity — on October 13, 1967.

Now we need a law prohibiting stupidity in government.

Water was found on the Moon

On November 13, 2009, NASA announced that they had found “significant” water on the Moon. How much? Approximately a dozen two-gallon bucketfuls. But still….

The first female flight instructor got her license

On October 13, 1939, Evelyn Pinckert Kilgore became the first female flight instructor. She then flew non-combat missions during World War II, and owned and operated her own private airport after the war.

Benjamin Franklin wrote one of his most famous quotes

“[B]ut in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”

In a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, a fellow inventor, on Friday, November 13, 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote that the US Constitution had been completed: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”

Heavy metal became a new music genre

Black Sabbath released their debut album on Friday, February 13th 1970.

Every Friday the 13th has been the beginning of a weekend

Duh! Have a good one!

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