Laughing Matters: Chronicles of a Couch Potato


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A 7-part British mini series about the heroin trade and police corruption in merry new England. This series moves slowly, is very complex and filled with top drawer performances right across the board. A 13 episode AMC series based on a Swedish series of the same name, which was actually 20 episodes. Practically every character in the series has a deep dark secret.

This is delicious and addictive. Low key but highly intense mystery series from AMC again, about an intelligence analyst who spots a very strange pattern in the local newspapers.

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This show is perfect for people who like highly intellectual brain teasing with their drama. Rubicon was, sadly, cancelled because of low numbers. This is a pretty straight-ahead series with lots of emphasis on the characters. This was pretty much the best mainline network show of the last couple of seasons. Great story, characters that you love or hate, a big giant story arc with lots of interesting little subplots going on, that all point to the larger arc.

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This is really hard to do and without getting caught up in your underwear. Thanks to the Southern Vampire Mysteries novel series by Charlene Harris, some brilliant casting including; Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, and some pretty amazing effects, he came up with another mega hit classic in the form or True Blood. This series is top drawer, ultra violent and very sexy. Four seasons in the can. I love your idea. I have all the equipment to watch it on my big TV.

The mainline network TV season kind of works like the school season. It cranks up in September and October and goes full tilt for a couple of months, then shuts down between American Thanksgiving and The SuperBowl then cranks back up again until May. After that things kinda go to hell in a handbasket until September.

These networks operate, it would appear, based on the assumption that TV viewers are still around in the late spring and summer months. A fact of life that the mainline networks have never really come to embrace. This spring, I have spotted a couple of new shows worth looking for. Franklin and Bash which is a kind of lighthearted legal dramady, is very well put together and ably anchored by Malcolm MacDowell and Teen Wolf, which is albeit, aimed at a younger audience but is produced and directed by A-list action director Russell Mulcahy, Highlander. New shows that will be appearing shortly include: Falling Skies, a big budget sci-fi adventure series on TNT and probably Space here in Canada and Alphas, another sci-fi adventure series that looks very cool indeed.

Obviously nobody has the kind of money it takes to put on a big time network show and run it year round. So the networks are simply behaving in a very logical way. I guess you could call it one of the few upsides of the billion channel universe. These shows are fine, but here at Spud Central the rules are pretty clear. In every generation of TV programs, since I was a kid there, has always been some show that was the gold standard, to which everything else was compared.

My earliest recollection was Gunsmoke. But about two months ago, a new show was added to this illustrious list. Game of Thrones has pretty much taken the TV world by storm. It actually took me a couple of episodes to figure it all out, but what an entertaining ride it has been. The story itself is a metaphor, it would seem, for the European continent. There are kingdoms scattered all around. The kingdoms are united in an uneasy truce that is threatened in an ever growing number of ways.

I am really oversimplifying here, because the story itself is much more complex. There are questions of succession, shifting alliances and high levels of lust for power. And none of this is sugar coated in the least. This is powerful stuff that really walks the talk. Big, complex, intelligent, extremely well written, acted and produced. We talked for quite a while and I found out that, in addition to living a few blocks from me, Adrienne was a single mom and a totally dedicated one at that.

She told me that she had seen me riding around on my bike quite a few times but for some reason she had never flagged me down. Her dad was not just a friend, he was also a client of mine both when I worked in the agencies and for a couple of years afterwards.

Unfortunately, he died in his early forties from an incurable disease. But he was a good and true friend whom I was in contact with pretty much right up to the time he passed on. I remember him telling me that he honestly felt that he had packed more actually living into his 43 years than most people who live to be twice that ever will. That was true for sure. After he was gone I wrote a goodbye note to him, which I published in a very early issue of the Chronicles.

It seems you are no longer with us. I know this was not an exit of your choosing, as you would undoubtedly have chosen something much more grandiose, in keeping with your true personality. Your passing has left a crater the size of Alberta in my soul. One does not acquire many true friends in this life and I can count them all on the fingers of my hands. Especially those who always seemed larger than life to me. Your approach to living was a study in organized chaos. There was always a method to your madness and your madness was always the good kind.

The kind that made people laugh when they were down or feel at ease when they were uptight or feel confident when they were skeptical. Those years were great ones. Mid-town lunches at the Pilot. All of the aforementioned. So thanks for that. The thing about good and true friends is that, physical unavailability not withstanding, they are always with you. No matter where they happen to be.

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I think about you all the time. And though the years have caused the memories to fade a bit, the essence of our friendship, like a tiny pearl in an aged oyster, remains intact. Thanks for the good times Professor and the life lessons that you taught by example. Hopefully everyone is equipped to carry on. I am, but the hole in my soul will always be there, and somehow, in some weird way, I can never see that as a bad thing.

This year the final selection has a real international flavour, with a couple of series you may have never even heard of. The Good Wife is the product of Scott Free Productions the highly successful production company owned and managed by Tony and Ridley Scott, who are both great directors ibn their own right.

The show tells the story of a political family in Chicago and starts in the middle of a huge scandal. There are several very strong currents that flow through this series, which are the really the stories of the characters. What makes it Big Kahuna worthy however, is that it transcends genre stereotyping. I always thought she was a little dour.

In fact, all the characters in this series are so well rendered that its really not hard to fall in love with them all. The Good Wife has just wrapped up its second season. If you have not seen it, I strongly suggest watching it in order from the beginning of season one. What matters is that about halfway through the movie, I started to get very antsy and claustrophobic to the point where I actually had to get out of the theatre. At first I thought it was just me. I have a life long nervous condition and sometimes I just have to get up and move around.

But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that this had very little to do with my medical condition and much more to do with the actual movie I was watching. This film was as well produced as they come, with great effects, first class movie stars, a top notch movie script and all the rest of the bells and whistles that make movies like this very profitable.

What I mean by this movie sucked is that, in spite of all the good stuff that was packed into it, the package itself was basically just a slightly different carbon copy of the one that came before it and the one before that. They get to be stars based on their ability to put bums in seats.

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They make big money because they know how to execute movies to the formula dictated to them by the studios who put up the money to make the movie. Same goes for directors. Oh sure they are talented people, with lots of experience and skill. But what they are, most of all, are great paint by numbers painters. All these people and all that talent is focused on one single goal. Making movies that suck. When you are young and stupid, pretty much everything you see at the moves has some sort of appeal.

But as you get older and have more experience with movies, you start to see patterns emerge, patterns of derivativeness. Hollywood calls them sequels.

The Couch Potato Chronicles - Notes On The Democratic Convention

I just finished watching the Masterpiece Theatre sponsored remake of Upstairs Downstairs and even though it could technically be classed as non-original, I enjoyed it more that any Hollywood movie I have seen in the past decade. Why did I enjoy it so much? This form of entertainment was designed for people like me, who have, as a result of having seen way too many formulized Hollywood movie constructs and discovering in the process that they are no longer in the target group, been forced to look elsewhere, like to books and TV.

TV has a lot of other advantages for people like me as well, the most important being that I get to watch it in the comfort of my own swivel rocker, wearing any kind of clothing I wish. Ancillary advantages are that I can watch whenever I feel like it. I can pause it to go the john, and there is nobody sitting behind me making insipid comments or crinkling cellophane. I pay a good deal for having lots of TV channels and download capability. Playoff season, in just about every sport on the planet, is a time when reputations are made or broken.

This season, I picked the Miami Heat to make it to the championship round from the east and the Oklahoma Thunder from the west. I thought it was the best thing that could have happened to the NBA. The voluntary creation of a true supersquad that would take on all comers and bring the east at least back into balance with the NBA West that had been dominating the playoffs for the past decade.

But then the playoffs rolled around and suddenly we all understood what all the hype has been about. They put away the 76ers and then moved on to their nemesis the Celtics. The Celtics, pretty much on their last big time kick at the can with their aging studs, put up a hell of a fight and their point guard Rajon Rondo became the first big hero of the playoffs. In the second last game Rondo dislocated his left elbow, had it reset and elastoplasted and came back out to finish the game, basically one-handed.

This is the kind of effort I am talking about. The Heat finally put them away in 5 games but it felt like World War 3. Out west, The Dallas Mavericks, led by Dirk Nowitsky, probably the second best all around player in the league, took the Portland Trail Blazer in 6 games then stunned the whole world by sweeping the LA Lakers who many had picked to win it all. I watched the Lakers underperforming and squeaking by the Hornets. You could feel there was something really wrong there. It was during this series that the second hero emerged in the person of Dallas guard Jason Terry.

Terry basically shot the lights out on the Lakers who had absolutely no defense for him. Helped by Nowitsky, it was a real clinic. I stayed up late to watch every game, because nothing gives me more joy than watching the Lakers go down and go down they did. Meanwhile the Heat began their series with the 1 seeded Chicago Bulls, who are an excellent defensive team. But aside from their amazing point guard and league MVP Derrick Rose, have very little in the way of scoring power. It took the Heat a couple of games and one loss to get their bearings against the Bulls, but when they did, there was really no stopping them.

The hero that emerged from this series was former Raptor Chris Bosh, who had always been considered the low man on the Wade, James, Bosh totem pole. But he stepped up big time on both ends of the court and proved to just about everybody that he had as much game as his two brothers. James Hardin became a big time hoops star in this series, despite being on the losing end. Hardin is the next hero to emerge, this time in a losing cause, but he played with amazing poise and savvy for a 21 year old with only two years of pro experience.

Westbrook and Durant played well, but James Hardin shone like a true superstar and all I could think was, they need to hold on to this dude. Unfortunately, the youth and inexperience of the Thunder was no match for the Mavericks, who have turned into an amazing juggernaut of veterans who sense that this is probably their last collective chance to take it all the way. The Heat will probably close out the Bulls tonight, and set up a final against the Mavericks which is going to be a classic generational matchup.

A young powerhouse against an older powerhouse. This is going to be incredible to watch. And the best part is the games will not be starting at my bedtime. That all happened as as of this posting date, the Championship series is tied one-one. Here we are on a bright sunny and warm Saturday, the first of the long Victoria Day holiday weekend. The low pressure system that was stuck over us for the past week has moved on to depress the hell out of other North Americans.

Is television really so desperate that they would green light a show that showed inept idiots basically making a complete mess of some renovation project? Why on earth does there seem to be no shortage of inept idiots who are willing to totally embarrass themselves by participating in a show that makes them looks like inept idiots.

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Then there is a third question, which has to do with the fact that this bottom-of-the-barrel reality show has been on the air for 6 seasons. The question is why? The answer to this question has very deep socio-psychological roots and it goes something like this. People, bless their shallow minds and pointy little heads, like watching other people fuck up, because it makes them feel less like fuckups themselves. This is a very sad state of affairs for our culture to be in when watching someone else inadequacies on display gives us a weird sense of satisfaction…makes us feel less inadequate than we do most of the time.

In a general sense most people are slobs. They have nano second attention spans, no sense of history, and more and more these days cannot tell the difference between right and wrong. The do stupid stuff all the time and get angry whatever someone points it out to them. And they tend to believe that anything they see on television is somehow just as real as a lot of the stuff they see in real life.

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This is why a lot of people think manipulative bastards like Charlie Sheen, are just nice guys who are misunderstood. This is how, in another era someone like Tiny Tim could spin a number a one hit single singing Tiptoe Through The Tulips and accompanying himself on the ukulele. Mainly because they put stupid shit on the air and people watch it, and get stupider doing so.

Why do you think it cost 3 million bucks to put a commercial on the Superbowl or any other massive event on television? Because most people are smart enough in that regard, to hold down a job and manage to make a living.

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Laughing Matters: Chronicles of a Couch Potato [Bobbie Siegle] on linawycatuzy.gq *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A collection of essays about everyday. A collection of essays about everyday life, written by a woman who is surviving middle age with humor and as little energy as possible.

This stupidity expresses itself in a willingness to surrender yourself to whatever contrived idiocy comes your way on TV. Secondly, not participating in the watching of idiots will do more for your self-esteem that watching this kind of programming ever could. Because watching these shows is time you will never get back.

With very few exceptions, mainline network television is an ever iffy proposition. And since the point of this column, besides being a place for me to rant, is helping people get the most out of their entertainment time, the following list make another appearance. It could actually be much longer, but, hey if I put everything in one column what would I have to write about next time? Modern day vampire tale created by Alan Ball. AMC-produced story of power and corruption in the intelligence business. Everything that happens in this exquisitely produced series has two meaning and the puzzle takes a long lovely time to figure out.

British made mini series about the heroin trade in England. Full of nasty characters and extremely clever plotting. Like all British series, the writing is incredible and the acting superb. British made sci-fi series about a group of earthlings in the process of establishing a colony on a far planet, after our earth becomes unlivable.

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Totally compelling viewing and complex plotting all the way through. Just finished its second season, this extremely well put together series features a collaboration between Graham Yost and legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard. This is arguably the best American made series on cable. Another extremely complex murder mystery series that plays out its season in three episode long stories.

Black comedy about a couple of British TV writers who sell their successful series to an American producer and go through hell trying to get it made. This is an AMC produced murder melodrama set in Seattle. I found this at least as good as the other great AMC series, Rubicon. They stay true to that all the way here. This is the kind of asshole that causes accidents, anger and road rage.

Kind of sad when you think about how self-centred a lot of people in our society have become. This was angry shit. Soon I find myself slowly passing a grey minivan. In it is a nerdy looking guy with a white short sleeved shirt and tie, wearing horn rimmed glasses. His hands are at the top of the steering wheel and not just holding onto the wheel, but also a small Blackberry phone. This asshole was a one man DVP traffic jam. That fantasy was easily one of the most satisfying of the day for yours truly. Texting and driving are a lot more dangerous than you think.

If somebody kills you for fucking up their day by your asinine behaviour, you only have yourself to blame. Sure it was probably cold-blooded murder. But the American people have been needing something to feel good about for quite some time and even if the killing of Bin Laden is just a temporary feelgood moment, it is a feelgood moment all the same. But today, and for probably a couple of days to come, the USA can turn east and shake a fist at radical Islam.

Last time I did a little rant on Facebook and my bright young nephew, Michael Gunn, dropped me a line to straighten me out on the matter. I figured you would eventually get tired of not talking about TV shows and movies. And I agree with what you said about FB. But if you want to know the truth, it was made for my generation, and we know how to make the most of it, because we use it to plan social events, even mundane social situations. We extend our consciousness into it, and for some reason it works for us. The risk of addiction is the price we willingly pay. Now in addition to skillfully putting me into my place old fart who knows how to use a Mac , he managed to very succinctly sum up the attitude of a whole generation of people, about whom, it could very well be, I know very little.

I do understand Facebook. I guess what I really find lacking on Facebook is the true conversation that people are supposed to be having. The real interchange of ideas. There are hundreds of recreational lifestyles, from fishing and hunting to boating, camping, and more. I now have two recreational passions in my life.

The second photo is Hunter running. I am committed to exposes my grandchildren to both of my passions. An Accidental Athlete is available now.

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I worked for 10 years in a motorcycle dealership and I can remember nearly every motorcycle I ever even sat on. For the two or three of you who have not yet seen it, I would suggest that you do so in the biggest baddest theatre you can find. Have a question for John? Those years were great ones. The similarities of events are already striking. Adrienne is a beautiful petit woman now, but when I last saw here she was in her mid-teens.

What ot hers are saying: Read your book, loved it, it was wonderful. It made me laugh, it made me cry. In it I saw glimpses of myself. Wow, thanks John, for enabling me to see that! D W, Senior-Onset Athlete. Have a question for John? What a wonderful day. My travel schedule allowed me to visit my son and grandchildren this week, just in time to be here for their first day of school. The twins are actually entering first grade and the little guy is starting kindergarten. They are all at the same school which will certainly make life easier for everyone.

I walked each them to their new classrooms, watching all the anxious parents — and some grandparents — and eager children and teachers. For this time, at least, they have all been thrown together. The hope is that they will all bring their best selves to the situation. There are vague memories of standing outside the red brick school building that is still being used today.

I have images of children lined up like soldiers waiting for permission to enter the school. It seems to me that we were faced that experience without parental assistance. We got to the parking lot, took off his helmet, and — with some hesitation — walked into the school. I think I was probably more emotional about it than he was.

When I peeked in the school window he was there in class, making new friends, and enjoying the start of a new phase of life. It reminded me that each phase of life has some of the same elements. Even if we are surrounded by thousands of other participants we have to take every step on our own. What others are saying: Create a free website or blog at WordPress.