Daily Barks 09.05 cataroo.com
The Daily Bark: September 2005

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September 30, 2005
Wow. Just heard that a show on Adult Swim will have a character with my name. Ironically, or not, it is a show that I worked on. I wonder if the character will be a crusading animation producer. A producer who fights the odds and saves a show from being cancelled. A producer who allows the creators to have more control, more art created and more retakes than the previous producer. This makes the creators happy. A producer who is able to double the number of episodes delivered. This makes the network happy. Or will it be a questioning producer. A producer who warns the orange walls in a recurring area will be too strong to see the characters. A producer who, to make a deadline, picks blue for the color of a ball that appears in one scene. A producer who discovers errors in boards and scripts and tries to help the creators find solutions. All of which later irritate the creators. With the show just now being recorded, I won't find out until early next year. But knowing Adult Swim characters it is bound to be an obnoxious buffoon, as most characters in that block are. Some folks just think all buffoons all the time is funny.

September 29, 2005
I just finished the latest Harry Potter book. Don't worry, no spoilers here... at least not about the book. I have seen the series go from a book about a boy discovering the wonders of being a wizard to a book about a boy full of anger and angst. Some have said it is merely the character aging, and the author going into darker territory. Unfortunately, for me, it is making the books and, even worse, the characters less enjoyable. Harry certainly had a rough life in his early years in a home with no love towards him. Sadly it seems to have turned Harry into someone who cannot love. He has become a self-centered character who seems to have little regard for anyone in his world. Harry has been torn between the 'good wizard' who he saw almost as a father figure, and the 'bad wizard' Harry feared he was too much like. The good wizard always told Harry it was "love" that kept Harry from being bad. Yet, Harry seldom shows any love to those around him. When trouble comes along, the good wizard would ask Harry what was up. Harry constantly lied to him. When Harry's friends try to help him, he usually rebuffs their suggestions, only taking them along for physical demands. As in the previous book, this new one has lots of characters, plot strings and surprises. And, as the previous volume, the book just ends, without really feeling resolved. The author has promised to wrap everything up in the final book. I just hope she is able to return Harry to a person I might like.

September 28, 2005
The 'n' word. And I am not talking about the word that allegedly fills the animated version of the Boondocks comic strip. I am referring to the word "no". A business exec at a studio once told me that I would never get anywhere in this business telling anyone "no". He may have been right. This is a business where any exec worth his title will not say "no". I was in a studio meeting with the heads of a network. There was a problem with one of the creators. His show was way over budget and very late. On top of that, ratings were falling due to missing deliveries and air dates. The head of the network said if the creator could not get back on track, the series would be cancelled. The only problem was, as the head of the network stated, the network "never wants to say no to a creator". Instead, a producer, like me, would have to come up with a way to tell the creator "no" without saying it. Sometimes there are clever ways to save a production by indicating the problems come from other areas. Sometimes you just have to say "no, you cannot have another week", or "no you cannot have another $50,000." In the old days, creators were professional enough to understand. I remember one stating he was impressed with me being able to be honest with him. He said no one else at the studio would do that. After all, most of the classic shorts and features in animation's "golden age" were produced under strict budget and schedules. However many creators these days will not take "no" for an answer and simply plow ahead. When their show is over, they wonder why other networks suddenly are not interested in picking up their new projects. At that time, the execs have little difficulty saying "no"... at least to themselves.

September 27, 2005
Governor Schwarzenegger, like many republicans, is at it again trying to diminish the power of the people. He is pushing his various government ammendments. One is cleverly called "paycheck protection". It would require public employee unions to seek permission from their members before using dues money for political purposes. Since such unions are frequent supporters of Democrats, it is easy to see from where this law sprung. (Just like he has now claimed Democrats are beholden to Indian tribes, not mentioning the millions he raises from big business buddies.) Oddly, if it were a level playing field, I could see supporting a "paycheck protection" law. By "level playing field", I mean make it law for ALL groups - public or private. For example, the law as being pushed by the Governor could stop a group like the teacher's union from giving campaign money. But it would not stop a text book lobbyist or religous group from giving campaign money. If they want to clean up some of the money mania in politics a law covering everything might be good. After all, as a member of the motion picture industry, I am not always pleased that the MPAA, various guilds and such support this or that law. I think any member of those groups should be able to say which side of an issue their group supports. However the down side to that is then only those with deep pockets (ie "the rich") will be able to significantly guide government. And despite the old saying "what's good for General Motors, is good for the U.S.", big business seldom has the individual's best interests at heart. And neither, apparently does our Governor and other Republican politicians.

September 26, 2005
The other day there was a "situation" at the Los Angeles train station that caused trains to be delayed. The issue was an "unclaimed package" on a bus. One of the riders on my train joked that some "hobo" had probably left their box behind. It made me realize how long it had been since I had heard someone refer to a "hobo". I remember the image given hoboes in classic movies and TV. They are the carefree travelers who ride the rails, hitchhike and stowaway on boats to get around. From Chaplin to Hope & Crosby to Red Skelton, the life of the hobo has been viewed as one of freedom from the evils of corporate society. In many ways, the hobo represents the "white man" version of the singing Black slave. Just as many an entertainment vehicle showed slavery as being a haven of happy-go-lucky Blacks who danced and sang their time away, so the hobo's life was viewed as a comfortable society of camps where they sat around eating stew and swapping stories of their travels. I think in today's world of massive homelessness and unemployed, the image of the hobo doesn't quite fit. It doesn't even want to be classified. We had an episode of a cartoon that had a homeless person walk through a scene, to indicate a character was in a dangerous part of town. The network thought the homeless person was too stereotypical with his torn clothes and dirty face. To satisfy their demands, we re-designed the homeless person to be well shaved and in a suit. Perhaps we should have called him a hobo.

September 25, 2005
Rachel's birthday was held today. Lots of pups, fun and energy. Am totally exhausted... and probably with a bit of bug. Always worth it to see her smile.

September 24, 2005
Tomorrow is Rachel's birthday. Today was full of chores. Tomorrow will be full of pups and fun. Happy birthday, hon. *kiss*

September 23, 2005
When Bob Denver died a few weeks back, I saw many an obit discuss his role as Maynard G. Crebbs and, of course, as Gilligan. Some talked of his other series attempts. Most mentioned how he had portrayed Gilligan in a variety of specials. However, I have found none that remembered that he, and several of the original cast of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, appeared on ALF. In one of that series better episodes, Alf is bored by life with his Earth family. He envies the world of TV families where things are always happening. This leads to a dream sequence where he ends up on Gilligan's isle. There he finds that the much older castaways are bored of their life of coconut food and the same clothes day after day. Alf is surprised to find the castaways' favorite TV show is "The Tanners" where people change clothes every day and get to eat different foods! As mentioned, the episode is quite funny, and it was fun seeing the castaways joke about the silliness of their original series. Hopefully the episode is on one of the ALF dvd sets floating around.

September 22, 2005
The price of gas and oil continues to flutter up and down. I am amused whenever I hear about oil heavily dropping a dollar or two in one day. No one seems to comment that it would need to drop over $30 to just get back to where it was around a year ago! And, as is often the case, humor becomes reality. Around a year ago I read one of Michael Moore's books in which he 'joked' about having to tell his future grandchildren about when the world had oil. Seems he was telling them there was time when machines ran on gas and things like computers were made with plastic (which is made from oil). Recently some real scientists and respected magazines, like National Geographic, have indicated that we may be coming to the end of the era of oil. Just as coal dropped from being a main source of power. There is no denying that oil is not a renew-able power source. And no matter how fast those who have it are pumping out, it seems the demand is increasing faster. I don't know if we'll get to a point of 'no oil'... but we may be approaching in the next decade or two when it is too expensive to 'waste' on such things as automobiles. We may be seeing the start of an era similar to the world of Tank Girl. Only it won't be water that is being heavily controlled, but oil.

September 21, 2005
The other day a radio story reminded me that there is no 'dark side' of the moon. Just a side that does not face the Earth. This made me think that there is also no 'dark side' of the Earth. That is, there is no true darkness at night. At least in the mountains. As long as there are no clouds, there is a fair amount of light around our home. In fact, when the moon is full, or near full, it actually casts shadows! Makes me realize that in times before electricity, or even fire, man was probably able to accomplish some significant tasks during full moons. No wonder times of the full moon became to symbolize times of mischief. There were probably many a person using the additional hours of light to perform tasks of need and mischief. Of course, on a cloudy night, with no sign of moon or stars, the mountain can be as dark as can be imagined. You can barely see a few feet in front of you. The lack of light pollution, as many manmade items, proves to be a boon and curse.

September 20, 2005
Over the weekend took the time to sit and watch the film version of BRIGADOON. It is one of those stage musicals turned to film that sparks debate. First, almost half the score is missing. Two songs were never filmed due to them being "too risque" for the 1950s. One was filmed, but probably dropped because it was slow. Finally they recorded but never filmed "There But For You Go I". Quite odd since it was one of the hits from the stage show. The stage version is very true to Scottish dance and movement. The movie turned all the dancing into typical Gene Kelly numbers, most likely done since he is the star. Perhaps the biggest debate is the ending. The ending on the DVD is the same as in the stage show. However, for years I had heard that the ending had been altered to make it more "logical" for modern audiences. I even had a lobby card of the scene describing it. The mistake in folks' memories may have been caused by this lobby card. In the decades before home video, one could only see old films when they occassionally popped on TV. Hence many a film has misquoted lines, misnamed characters, etc. Perhaps two endings were filmed and the wrong one put on the lobby card. Despite the debates and mysteries, I think the stage version is better. But no matter which version one sees, one cannot help notice a strong resemblance between the opening number of BRIGADOON and the opening number of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

September 19, 2005
No bark. Thunder and lightning night. No computer use!

September 18, 2005
No bark. Super sleepy night... long weekend... never enough time.

September 17, 2005
Warner Bros LOONATICS has debuted, and as I originally felt when they were announced they will not destroy the original characters of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc. Whether they will create new fans, which is what they are supposed to do, is unknown. Based on the first episode, I don't think so. The show seems generally flat. Strong characters have always been able to survive weak productions. Despite less than exciting films, James Bond, Dick Tracy, Charlie Chan, Inspector Clouseau and Batman have all been able to come back strong. More disastrous than bad films is no films. Without any new references, it becomes harder and harder to keep characters in the public's mind. Now that the Warner characters are only seen on Boomerang, where will modern kids find them? Soon, the main reference for Bugs Bunny will be either the baby seen in BABY LOONEY TUNES or the modernized version in LOONATICS. This is not to say that Bugs Bunny will be forgotten. After all, with little to keep them in the public's eye, Popeye, Betty Boop and Felix the Cat are still remembered. However, it may not be the same for the likes of Babbit and Catstello, Michigan J Frog and Granny. Soon, they may join the ranks of Rapid Rabbit and Cool Cat. Even LOONATICS can't stop that.

September 16, 2005
After the storm. The news is full of all the relief efforts for those caught up in Hurricane Katrina's wrath. Of course, like the guilty child caught off guard, the President now says he will do whatever is necessary... except ask the rich to a pay few extra bucks in taxes. (He stated they would find the money by cutting spending - like levee repair. Kidding. I hope.) Today I heard two first hand stories. One was a voice talent who is very well off. They have a house in Northern Louisiana that suffered no damage. It was asked if they had opened the home to those less fortunate. They responded it wasn't necessary. Most of the folks going to that town "were wealthy, had cars, and had gotten out of New Orleans in time." Then they stated that those who had gotten to the town had simply "bought new homes because they only cost around $200,000 each." Then I heard from an associate on an internet forum who had a totally different experience. They are not wealthy. Their home was totally destroyed. They visited it to find only a few walls standing... and no possessions. They don't have money for a new house. They have yet to receive any assistance or money from any agency. Luckily, they have a friend who is letting them stay until they figure out what to do next. They talked of their friends who had businesses in the area, who also have not been contacted by any agency despite attempts to get assistance. On a side note, they have set up boxes at the studio for us to donate items for those now homeless and even jobless. Will spend time this weekend to find some toys for the children's box. Will also find a few things for my internet associate. Though no child, they need support too while the government tries to figure out something. No wonder the administration is always pushing 'faith based' alternatives. Certainly seems we can't have any faith in the government.

September 15, 2005
Have been reading "The Dilbert Principle", written by Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip. The strip is a somewhat acquired taste. The book is probably similar. Those who work in the corporate world, or in its shadow, will understand the material. Those in other professions just won't get it. I was reminded of this last night when Rachel asked a question about business. My answer made no sense. I had to explain it was "just the way business runs". Oddly, I read about such nonsense that day in the book. The book is both funny and sad. Funny, because Adam has a keen wit and shows good comic timing in his strip. Sad, because I live in that world. His descriptions of corporate types, rules, procedures and rationales are all too true. It reminded me of the Groucho principle. (Not a book.) That is where people will watch Groucho Marx on the screen and think his insults, innuendos and pranks are hilarious. If someone had to actually be around someone like Groucho's character the result would probably be murder. Thus the principle is that it is funny to see a world of irrational nonsense. It is another thing to live in that world. At times you can pull back and laugh... but there times you simply have to sit and let Groucho have his way. All you can do is sit in the meeting and listen to him rattle on a bunch of non-sequiters and nonsense. "This budget is so simple, a three-year old child could understand it. Run out and get me a three-year old child! I can't make heads or tails of it."

September 14, 2005
"It's wonderful what doctors know. It's what they don't know that can kill you." (Sheriff Mack - from THE JADE MASK) This quote came to me because of several recent events. First is my step-daughter. She has recently become afflicted with severe neck and back pains which can cause her to become immobile. The doctors have done everything from x-rays to spinal taps. They have no idea. (Our attempts to assist have fallen on the deaf ears of her father and grandmother - common whenever we are concerned about her health.) Second, pain and numbness have flared up again in my arm and hand. I have never recovered from the 'attack' I suffered a few years ago which caused numbness, tingling, spasms, pain, loss of control and other problems in my lower arm and hand. I went through all sorts of things from x-rays to nerve tests. They could not figure out what caused it, but felt it would eventually repair itself. It has not, and as mentioned, has gotten worse in the past few weeks. My current doctor, after looking over the tests and records, thinks I should do some new tests and therapy. I am no stranger to medical mysteries. My dad returned from a trip pale and feeling dizzy. He went to the doctor who rushed him to a hospital. He had so little blood, he was almost dead. After lots of tests and theories about ulcers or internal bleeding, they never could figure out where the blood went. It never repeated. I had a 'lump' on my shoulder that turned out to be benign growth. The growth is quite common around broken bones that have healed or women after giving birth to large babies. I have never done either, which left the doctor quite puzzled. Even for Charlie Chan, mysteries are not always fun.

September 13, 2005
Gave a call to the Gov-uh-nator today. Used his telephone poll service to signal my "against" stance on the proposed bill to limit aggressive dog breeds. I am always frustrated at laws that punish the innocent and not the guilty. Instead of laws against dog breeds, how about laws against irresponsible pet owners? How about some teeth (and money) into the current laws and groups that are supposed to protect pets? I mean if they want to outlaw aggressive behavior, let's start with the aggressive humans first. Put all the bullies in jail... no matter their age. Next could be abusive parents and employers. Then they could jail pushy salespeople. Just imagine how peaceful, pleasant and safe things would be. Bet even pets would be happy.

September 12, 2005
Around 1pm today, everything went dark. Southern California had a series of blackouts that included my workplace. As we wandered around by window light, several reactions were noted. There were those who knew it was a terrorist attack. There were those angry at the inconvenience. There were those ready to head home early. Then there were those who claimed all we did was lose electricity. Folks in New Orleans lost even more. As one of them kept saying, we don't know what its like to live through something "like that". It got me thinking. I might. While living in Houston during the 1960s a hurricane hit. We had tremendous rain. I remember spending around 8 hours taking turns with my sister and parents using a broom to push the water off the patio so it wouldn't flood into the house. Luckily we saved the house. I remember when we lived in Dallas that a tornardo blew the awning off our patio when the winds blew so hard the awning poles were yanked out of the cement. In the 1970s, while visiting Cozumel, an island off of Mexico, a hurricane hit that washed the beach away and caused us to cut our vacation short. One night my apartment complex caught fire with the help of angry tenant who set his vehicle ablaze in the parking area. All that was lost was a good night's sleep and my parking spot. Then there was the Northridge quake. Didn't lose the house, but had to keep out of the studio for a week while they patched it up. And of course there was the Old Fire which had us evacuated for several weeks while everything within a few blocks of our house burned to the ground. And this year we had the rains that washed away major roads leaving us trapped on the mountain for several days. No, I have been fortunate enough to never lose my home. But I have come close enough to know the feeling and fear... and frustration. It does make a power outage look pretty small... unless you were one of those trapped in an elevator or in one of the many street accidents. I always remember even the smallest of "disasters" can alter lives.

September 11, 2005
Doctors and experience... sort of. When I was growing up, the doctors were always older than I. We kept the same doctor unless we moved. However, as I've gotten older, I now find that my doctors are retiring and I am getting new doctors because the doctors are moving instead of me. This came to me again when we met our new vet over the weekend. Since Rachel and I have been seeing vets, we have seen one move. He left his practice to our current vet, who is one of the best surgeons I've ever seen. He joined with another local vet so there were two. Recently they added a new partner. We met her on Saturday and she seems very nice. Finding good doctors is as hard as finding good vets. You need someone who is a good medical person. You need someone who has a good 'bedside manner'. You need a person you can trust. It is not easy finding such people. Guess we are lucky to have found doctors and vets that we trust. Hope we can keep them for awhile.

September 10, 2005
Super busy day has left me feeling exhausted and feverish. Fear the flu may be making a comeback at me. At least the weather has cooled down. Actually had to turn the heater on. The noise and smoke worried some of the pups... as well as their dad. No matter what is happening, the world continues to turn... and to surprise.

September 9, 2005
Revivals vs. revisions. Sat in on a conversation the other day about the attempts to revive an old series. The artists all griped how "the network" had ruined the concept and it had now died. The series was one of those 1980s action-fluff shows that is now obtained a sizable cult following. To protect the innocent, I'll just say it was THE SMURFS. The artists complained that network, having seen the success of teen action shows like TEEN TITANS and KIM POSSIBLE, decided the revival should have the Smurfs as teenagers. This, they moaned, killed the project. Having lived through MUPPET BABIES and YO YOGI, I know youth-enizing characters is pretty common, and has been successful. Then the artists started talking about the original revival concepts. As one stated it was going to be "cool and dark". The plans had been to kill off the comedy relief character in the first episode "because he's just annoying." Then the plot was to be about how the Smurfs had all broken up over the years. Some were slaves. Some were in unhappy relationships. Some were even now working for Gargamel (the villain). As the story unfolded, the leader was going to bring them together. And to make it even more gritty, some of the other cast might not survive. As I sat there, I held my tongue. First, as tired as I am of seeing baby versions, I am equally tired seeing dark versions. Ironically, the classic Looney Tunes characters have gone through both recently with BABY LOONY TUNES and the upcoming LOONATICS. (And more ironic is the fact that these artists were horrified at making Bugs Bunny dark.) Why can't folks simply revive the characters where the original ended. The Smurfs are in their village and just have more adventures. Maybe forget a few of the old Smurfs and add a few new Smurfs for good measure. But if the creators and networks need to alter the characters... I guess I would rather see Teen Smurfs than Dark Knight Smurfs.

September 8, 2005
Once again our 'govuhnator', Ah-nold, has proven he is no hero as a politician. He has bravely stated, through a spokesperson, that he will not sign the gay marriage bill. What a man. And what a liar. He states one reason he will not sign it is because he does not want to go against the "will of the people". It seems a few years ago the voters passed an initiative making marriage only between a man and woman. Sounds good... but when Ah-nold's financial butt was in a sling, he didn't hesitate to go against the will of the people and take money from the schools. Money that had been guaranteed to schools by a voter passed initiative several years ago. As if being a liar is not enough, he then becomes a 'girly-man' and runs behind the robes of a judge. He has said this is an issue that should be decided in the courts. Uh-huh. And who will be one of the first to scream "activist judges" should the judges decide in favor of gay marriage. Ah-nold! He is very good at making noise, like claiming he wants to work with the legislature. Unless it is about gay marriage or even drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. On that issue the 'girly-man' is hiding behind Washington stating he will wait to see what they say about official ids. Hope he decides to head back to Hollywood soon. They love liars and girly-men... and then his agent can make all the important decisions.

September 7, 2005
Why do creators assume an audience will get every reference? Especially in a world where there are so few common media experiences. Recently a series did an episode where one of the characters falls into a 'different dimension' and their evil twin comes to this one. The creative folks kept chuckling about how it was just like the classic 'evil' Captain Kirk episode of STAR TREK. A person handling contracts wondered if it was the same voice or different (for pay purposes). When I explained the Kirk reference, they stated they hadn't seen any of the old STAR TREKs and had no idea what I was talking about. During the record the voice actor was told the same analogy to get the acting down. They also had not heard of the episode. The director then stated to just use a speech pattern similar to William Shatner's. The actor said he hadn't heard Shatner enough to get an idea of how he talked. As mentioned in previous barks, I am surprsed at the number of 'hip' creators who think references to 60s TV shows are so funny. I get the jokes, but the modern audience often doesn't. In fact, one animation blogger constantly complains about FAMILY GUY being nothing but a bunch of 80s and 90s cultural references and how they will not be funny in another decade. This same blogger, about the same age as many of these 'hip' creators will point out how hilarious an animated film or show is that makes jokes about 50s or 60s TV or films. Similarly, why do writers make whole episode satires of cable shows like SOPRANOS or SEX IN THE CITY. Many folks don't pay for those services and have no idea what is being spoofed. My favorite is probably the ANIMANIACS segments featuring the "Goodfeathas". A cartoon series, for kids, based on a highly violent movie rate R. How many kids are going to have any idea of why it is funny for a pigeon to keep spouting, "You talkin' to me?" Heck, even I have never gotten around to seeing GOODFELLOWS. I wonder how many 5 and 6 year olds have?

September 6, 2005
Whatever happened to flying saucers? The Loch Ness monster? Bigfoot? The Abominable Snowman (aka yeti)? How about alien abductions? You used to hear a lot about them. But not lately. Even the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet seem to have forgotten them. Wonder what today's kids think about such old mysteries? Wonder if kids today have mysteries of their own?

September 5, 2005
Labor day. Still feeling punk. Watched TV and rested. Saw an episode of TOM AND JERRY KIDS that made me laugh... and remember. The series debuted when FOX launched their Saturday Morning kids block. I remember the network head stated TOM AND JERRY KIDS, ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES and ZAZOO U were going to be the hit series of the network. I also had a show that year, BOBBY'S WORLD. The network head stated BOBBY'S WORLD was not the show they expected and indicated they were not pleased. Much to their irritation, BOBBY'S WORLD went on to be a hit that ran for years. TOM AND JERRY KIDS ran around 3 years. KILLER TOMATOES ran two. ZAZOO didn't even finish the first season, being cancelled by the 11th episode. Don't know if the other two episodes have ever been seen. Guess the moral is that network heads can't always tell what will and won't be a hit. Now I can't even remember what I thought was funny on TOM AND JERRY KIDS. Maybe I was just tired.

September 4, 2005
Tough night. Both of us have gotten a case of the flu. Three pups have gone to their new families. The families are wonderful... but still miss them. At least tomorrow is a day off. Probably won't get much done... unless we luck out and discover it is just a 24-hour bug. Watched LILO AND STITCH 2 today. Not bad. Not good. Poorly directed with flat, predictable writing. Turner Classic Movie channel is showing THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED, perhaps the first animated feature film. Easily the earliest one in existance. Beats SNOW WHITE by at least a decade or more. Will get to bed and hopefully beat the bug overnight.

September 3, 2005
Sometimes I wonder if I have lost my sense of humor. I see many folks around me who never seem to laugh and are generally unhappy. I know I don't fit that mold as I can still laugh out loud and have frequent periods of being in a good mood. What makes me wonder is when I see new "comedies" and cartoons. Sometimes I watch the shows on TV or dvd. Sometimes I'm reading scripts or storyboards. Too often, I go through them without a smile. I might comment on something "clever", but I don't laugh. In fact, I generally don't find them funny. Is it me? Is it the audience today. I recall going to see THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. Rachel and I thought it was amusing. However, the whole time a friend who had gone with us just howled with laughter. Again, I still laugh at movies. I know I laughed out loud at MEET THE PARENTS, SHREK 2 and MADAGASCAR. But I find such instances rare in modern films and TV. So much of the material is more ho-hum than hu-mor. Tired gags, flat dialogue, constant cultural references, and "wacky" characters have just worn me down. I still laugh at the Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Peter Sellers, Benny Hill, Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Heckle & Jeckle and even FATHER OF THE PRIDE and FAMILY GUY. So I guess I can still claim a sense of humor. Maybe I just have "selective humor".

September 2, 2005
I am not a fan of long movies. When I was growing up, all the "classic" movies on TV were always around 100 minutes. Such greats as KING KONG, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, DUCK SOUP, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD and more were all under two hours. Yes, there was an occasional epic, like GONE WITH THE WIND, but they were the exception. Even into the 60s the early (good) James Bond films, PINK PANTHER and others clocked in at under two hours. Today, it is hard to find a film under two hours. (Animation is the general exception.) In almost every case I think I could easily take these bloated blockbusters and trim them down to no more than two hours. In all cases, the trims would not be noticed. In many cases, the trims would improve the movie. I wonder if my desire for tighter movies is unique. I know many a folk who feel a movie under two hours is not worth the money to see it in a theater. One inlaw has mentioned that anything under two hours isn't worth the $7.00 to get in. It seems audiences tastes in movies have gone the way of restaraunts. The quality of food is not as important as quantity. And like such heavy plated eateries, the movies have a little bit of meat with far too much bread, salad and vegetables. I prefer more meat.

September 1, 2005
Over the last few months I've been playing with my hair. Hair style, that is. Through the years, I've never been one to understand hair styling. The easist it ever got was when I worked at Disneyland. There was an official "Disney Cut" as dictated by a dress code in the Park. Most of the Orange County barbers knew it. Even better, there was a barber in the Park that cut hair. Just say "Disney Cut" and you got the same haircut all the time. However these days I never really know what looks good, messy, overdone, in style, etc. When I was dating Rachel, I let the back of my hair grow a bit long and suddenly folks thought I was growing a small "tail". It was around one inch wide and around an inch or two long. It was kind of fun having a "tail", so I kept it. When Rachel and I got married, as part of the event, she cut the tail off, symbolically catching the fox. Recently, I have been letting my hair grow longer and am combing it over my head. Hard to explain, but the end result is that I have a slight tuft on the top that sways when I shake my head. It makes me think of a horse's mane. (Well, I was born in the year of the horse.) So from fox tail to horse mane. Guess it's just my final transformation from footloose fox to work horse.

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