July 2010

By Wink

I have three boys, William, Felton, and Russell.

I have tried to impart wisdom upon them as they have grown. There are thousands of things I would like them to take to heart, stuff that I find very useful, but much of which I had to learn ‘the hard way.’ Time passes by though, and you forget to touch on many things. I suppose they have picked up a few of my lessons:

Among the few I remembered to address…

  • Be honest at all times. Your reputation is the hardest thing to replace.
  • Courtesy is dying. Say ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ and watch how surprised people look. (And don’t fret the whiners who say “I’m not old enough to be a ‘ma’am’”)
  • Read, read, read.
  • Enjoy the arts, and nature.
  • Sing. You don’t have to sing well, just sing…
  • Learn how to swim and throw a Frisbee. Both are potentially life-saving.
  • Don’t make the first or third out at third base.
  • Don’t forget to carry the ‘2’. (math homework only)
  • Speeding isn’t a great idea, but two more dangerous freeway driving mistakes are changing lanes too often and driving tired (drunk goes without saying).
  • Life begins on the other side of the front door. (Go outside.)
  • Tuck in your undershirt.

I have even managed, to a certain extent, to teach them how to tie a tie, another dying art.

How should a guy deal with women? Uhhhh, that is more than a little tricky

  • Look them in the eye. (Girls are rarely flattered if you stare other places)
  • Conversation is good, but don’t dominate the talk.
  • Listen.
  • Don’t try to be the ‘bad boy.’ If a girl seems to like the ‘bad boys’ run like hell.

That’s about all I have on girls. Wanna know why?
Girls are damned near impossible to figure out, that’s why.

Feel free to offer more suggestions for either list, but please hurry.
For the time being, my kids still listen to me…somewhat.

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By Wink

Trivia question: Who, in 1999, derided George W Bush by saying “We do not want another candidate who needs on-the-job training.”?

Was is Vice President Al Gore? Nope. It wasn’t even a Democrat. It was Dan Quayle.

Remember Dan Quayle?

In August 1988, GOP presidential nominee GHW Bush picked him to be veep, and then won the presidential election in November.

As a candidate and as Vice President, Quayle seemed naïve and made a number of verbal gaffes.

Make no mistake though, DQ was no dummy, just a touch shallow and un-worldly. He was a child of privilege (not that there is anything wrong with that), and played a lot of golf (again, nothing wrong with that).

He was conservative, but not a demagogue.

He wasn’t even way off in the Murphy Brown flap. Kids ARE better off when they have two parents at home. (If you don’t know what the “Murphy Brown” flap is, look it up.)

Liberals made fun of his goof-ups, but Quayle is a Rhodes Scholar compared to ‘W’. Who knows how America (and the world) would have been different had he been able to knock off ‘W’ for the Republican nomination back in 2000?

(This was NEVER going to happen though. The same machine that got GHW Bush elected was in high gear for ‘W’, taking a lightweight, multiple-failed businessman to the highest office in the land. What a country.)

But back to Mr. Quayle.

Republicans will take back some House and Senate seats this fall. This always happens with the ‘out’ party. Regardless, the party is virtually leaderless.

Sorry, Giuliani, Palin, etc. are not serious candidates. Palin is now simply a money hound (there is a less polite term for this) and, unless we have another depression, Giuliani could never beat President Obama.

I am not saying he could beat Obama, but Dan Quayle carries a lot less baggage than all the other candidates, and he WAS the Vice President after all. That has to count for something.

And he is still only 63…..

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By Wink

Are you a fan of the TV show “The Office”? It is pretty widely accepted that Steve Carell is going to leave after this next (the seventh) season.

If you follow this show, you will no doubt be interested in reading this blog article.

This show is still very popular, so there were many comments at the end of the blog. They seem to be divided into two schools of thought:

  1. Please don’t go Steve, the show will never be the same without you, and
  2. This show has ’jumped the shark’ and should end this season…

My thoughts are more in line with number two.

Originally, this show was riotously off-beat. Some scenes, especially those featuring Michael Scott (Carell’s character) were hilariously uncomfortable, making the viewer squirm and laugh out loud simultaneously.

Those same types of scenes more recently just make me squirm, without the ‘laughing’ part. Now I find I can watch 15 straight minutes (of a 23 minute episode) without laughing at all. (Hey NBC, this is supposed to be a comedy…)

Some of this is due to an intentional increase in ‘dramatic’ scenes, but those would be made more tolerable if the ‘funny’ scenes were actually funny. Frequently they are not (but I love what Kathy Bates brought).

A possible solution? Dump some of the cast. There are many good/disposable candidates, but, believe it or not, the show could start by eliminating Dwight. His character is two-dimensional, and lost its’ zip a few seasons back. (We get it, he likes beets…)

Fans of Carell, I am sorry, but if the show is to remain on the air, it needs to make this one big change: Michael must go. As the boss, he is the central character, and his responses have become too predictable. The office needs a new boss, a new dynamic. Regardless of what other changes are made, not enough will be ‘new’ if Michael stays.

To make viewers happy, he should leave to be with Holly (No promotion from Dunder Mifflin, and DEFINITELY no wedding scenes allowed).

On the positive side, if Michael goes, Dwight can stick around to antagonize the new boss… (assuming the new boss has some earnest jerk-like qualities that need to be counter-balanced).

MASH was a better show after each cast change. The Office can be too. If they take this route, they should NOT bring in big-name actors, just bring in funny new people who are different than the ones they replace.

How did MASH do it?

  • The very ‘military’ Colonel Potter replaced decidedly ‘unmilitary’ Henry Blake.
  • Family man BJ Honeycutt replaced party animal Trapper John.
  • Klinger moved into Radars spot, and changed from a dress-wearing punch line to a man with a depth of emotion.
  • Wealthy and intelligent Harvard-grad Winchester replaced the bumbling Frank Burns.

With each change, the show got more interesting, and more popular, and still remained funny.

This could have worked for The Office, but they should have started a few years back. You don’t want to suddenly slash half of the cast this year. The shock would kill your audience.

Truth be told, the door was open for a great transition in season five, when Michael resigned and started a competing firm, the Michael Scott Paper Company. They had hilarious start-up problems and a tiny office. The Scranton office of Dunder Mifflin had to deal with his sudden absence. The writers should have run with this, and continued to let the two companies compete. You would have had two ‘offices’ with more twists and turns. New bosses, new underlings, former friends/now enemies, fresh storylines….

Nope, the show took the easy route, and just finagled a plot that allowed Michael to get his old job back. Back to the same old plot lines, and the same old punch lines. Boring.

To me, THAT was when the show jumped the shark.

Then Pam got pregnant. Ugh. Sharks upon sharks…

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