Last night was the season opener for NCIS, which has been our favorite show for a few years – although recently Breaking Bad overtook this honor. Since last season’s cliffhanger, we’ve been highly anticipating this and although it had a somewhat satisfying ending, it was disappointing due to a number of vast plot holes. The writing was less than stellar – in fact it was downright sloppy at times. First off at the beginning there was a glimpse of the criminal/bad guy (Scott Wolf as Jonathan Cole) who tried to redeem himself by defusing the car bomb. He was dead on the ground and virtually intact. OK, we knew he would be dead because he was kneeling on top of the bomb when it went off. But considering the size of the blast, he should have been incinerated.
This morning Betsy called to tell me she had heard on the radio that Ray Bradbury had died. Just moments later on Facebook a friend posted the news of his death. Now, less than an hour later the story of his passing has been covered by virtually every news outlet and blog that I follow. He was 91. Even though the most recent generation may not remember him, Ray Bradbury is certainly one of the most beloved American writers of all time. He is also one of the best. His prose lifts you to new heights of wonder. The pacing of his words is remarkable and no other author sounded quite like him. The legacy of his stories planted deep roots in our culture and entertainment. To me he had a special place in my heart, and here’s why:
…No, It’s not for “ED”… I’ve had asthma for most of my life, since my early teens. For at least the last couple of decades I managed it with what they call “rescue inhalers,” primarily albuterol. Generally the asthma only flares up from exposure to certain airborne irritants, snow shoveling and sometimes when I play tennis or volleyball. I’ve done quite well on the albuterol. In recent years there has been a shift concerning asthma treatment. Most doctors advocate treating it with long-term steroid type inhalers to prevent, rather than treat, asthma episodes. About 8 years ago one doctor I was seeing wanted me to try one of the newer medications. I can’t remember the first one I tried, but it did not do anything for me. He then put me on Advair, with its cute, round purple inhaler. I wasn’t on it long before I developed a mouth infection as some steroid treatments are notoriously for. After that I stuck with my albuterol. Last week that prescription ran out and when I tried to get it refilled, the doctor’s office required that I go in for a checkup first.
On many an occasion, Betsy and I have been delighted about how our interests and experiences with candy, toys and pop culture have coincided, despite having grown up in very different circumstances. Numerous times we have brought up the subject of Sid and Marty Krofft and the psychedelic Saturday morning shows they created. Last weekend I discovered that all 17 episodes of H.R. Pufnstuf were available on Netflix. So Sunday morning when we sat down to eat breakfast I fired up the Roku box to watch the first episode. I guess our expectations and memories of the show were quite different since we had last seen it more than 40 years ago. I tried to keep in mind that I was just 10 years old when I first saw it, but I still sat there in disbelief at how BAD it was. Betsy and I glanced at each other numerous times to communicate our astonishment.
I could hardly believe it. This morning when I turned on the TV the very first thing on was that stupid, annoying Audi commercial. I thought it had been retired, but there it was again. Only this time it had been shortened even further. Omitted was the brief scene where the son looks out the window sadly as his parents steal his car, as well as a few seconds showing his dad hanging the stocking with his name on it.
First of all, it’s going on 3 days since I’ve seen that HORRIBLE Audi car commercial which seemed to play endlessly no matter what channel I watched. I have a new most hated tv commercial, and once again it’s for a car company:
Luxury car commercials on TV seem to pop up a lot in two venues: tennis tournaments and the month-long buildup to Christmas. Tennis tournament ads I can understand. Most of those commercials cater to the affluent. Luxury items such as Rolex watches, Jaguar autos and high-end financial planning entities dominate there. Sure, there are a lot of commercials for non-luxury cars aired during Christmas season as well. The ads that baffle me the most are the ones where a car is given as a Christmas present with a big bow on the top of it. I mean, how often does this really happen? Especially in this age of increasing austerity. And where in the heck do they get those big bows? But the commercials for the luxury cars are the most baffling. Seriously, how many people in the demographic of any given TV show (NCIS in this case, where I saw this ad last night) can afford a car that probably costs more than $50,000. They also seem to defy logic, but perhaps the pampered rich who can afford those cars do act in ways the rest of us cannot imagine.
I’m a real grouch when it comes to commercials. I hate, detest, despise and am fed up with most of the advertising I see on TV. Lately a couple of Subway ad campaigns have really gotten my ire up. I’m talking about the endlessly annoying “Five Dollar Foot Long” series and the offensive “Office Workers Talking Like Kids” ads. Normally I would have a link to, or embed a commercial I’m grouching about in this post. But I want to spare you, dear reader, any possiblity of suffering through this insult.
One aspect of running a blog I had not anticipated was dealing with spam. Not just any spam, but computer generated SpamBot spam! I’ve known for years about ‘bots trolling the Internet to harvest email addresses. A lot of the spam you receive in your email can be a result of your leaving comments in various Internet forums or any other online venue where an email is listed on a Web page. The owners of those ‘bots will harvest any email their minions collect and sell the list to the real spammers. Now another type of spam bot is the one that trolls blogs and attempts to leave garbage in the blogs’ comments area. I use a plug-in called Askimet that does a very good job of isolating those comments before they get posted on the blog.
I’m going to tackle one of my pet peeves – bad behavior of other people in grocery stores. Certainly some of these behaviors apply to other types of stores. The mentality and skills of searching through racks of clothes, pegboards with hardware and shelves of toys are somewhat different. But only in grocery stores have I seen such blatant violations of what should be deemed common etiquette. Personally, I use a hand-held basket in most of my grocery visits. Only when I’m buying large bags of apples, a gallon of milk or cat litter do I need a cart. I really like those smaller carts you can find at some stores like Meijer and Marianos. When I use a cart I always “park” it somewhere out-of-the-way while I browse.