As Seen on TV: “Put One Foot in Front of the Other”

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Tonight’s post is a quickie, because in just about 15 minutes, Santa Claus is Coming to Town is on.  Yeah, I’m recording it on the DVR, but I love these old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials.  I haven’t seen this one in many, many years.  But I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday.

It’s pretty good advice when you think about.  Put one foot in front of the other.  Get up, get moving.  You’re only stuck if you let yourself be.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to take a few steps backward and relive my childhood for about an hour.

 

As Seen on TV: Doctor Who

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So no one really cares about the music here, except for how it complements the show.  But I’m still a little kerfuffled from watching The Day of the Doctor, which is the big 50th anniversary Doctor Who special that aired today.  I had to record it on the DVR, because I was working during the 75 country simulcast this morning.  (Prime time on the BBC is late morning/early afternoon here in SoCal.)  And I have to say. . .

It was AWESOME!!!

I’ve only been watching the Doctor since he was regenerated back onto TV in 2005.  But it’s great, silly, sci-fi fun.  If you’re a nerd who doesn’t watch Doctor Who, then I’m afraid you’re not really a nerd.  (Sorry, but somebody had to say it.)  I like how the even worked the upcoming Twelfth Doctor into this episode/movie.  They punched all the right buttons and made all the right references–none of which will mean anything to you if you don’t watch, so I won’t make any of them.

Well, just one.  One of my personal favorites:  Bad wolf.

Now go find out what it means.  I’m a little biased, but I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

As Seen on TV: “A Light on a Hill”

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Sorry for being AWOL again yesterday.  I have no real excuse.  I only remembered I hadn’t posted after I arrived at my friend’s house to watch movies last night.  I suck.

As a pretty basic interwebs/computer user, I’m at the mercy of YouTube vidders and copyright laws.  That makes it difficult sometimes to find a good video of exactly what I want to post.  If I were more dedicated (and a little less lazy), I would learn how to create/upload/post/violate copyright law myself.  Although I don’t think posting a good copy of the final few minutes of a seven-year-old episode of Bones and especially egregious violation of anyone’s rights.

Even one as iconic to the show as “Aliens in a Spaceship.”  For non-Bones fans, this is the episode where a serial killer/kidnapper known as The Gravedigger buries Bones and co-worker Hodgins in an SUV.  This is the killer’s MO: kidnap someone, bury them alive, and demand an outrageous ransom from loved ones.  If the ransom gets paid, the buried person’s location is revealed.  If not, that person dies.  Booth and the rest of the team race to find Bones and Hodgins before they run out of air.  It’s a completely unbelievable ending (they get out alive, thanks to everyone’s collective genius), and I am a sucker for it every time.  (There’s a crappy version of it here, if you want to get a sense of how terrific it is.)  TNT reran it the other day, and I made sure I watched the ending.  It always makes me cry.

I’ve always really enjoyed the song that’s played as Booth runs down the slope to get his girl (spoiler alert: Booth and Bones end up together after a few seasons; they’re getting married in an upcoming episode).  I finally bothered to look it up: “A Light on a Hill” by Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s.  A former coworker recommended this band to me a few years ago, but I never followed up on it.  But this is such a sweetly heartbreaking tune, I might have to finally check them out.  Music plays such a huge role in television and movies, helping create emotions and set the mood.  I’ve said before that the context of hearing a song will color how you hear it thereafter.  If you associate the song with something good, then it becomes a good song.  I may only like this song because it was used in my favorite episode of Bones, but that’s good enough for me.

Awesomeness!

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I just had to post this.

As many of you know, BBC announced the Twelfth Doctor on Sunday (in a broadcast that was carried live on BBC America, no less).  Scottish actor Peter Capaldi  was previously best-known for his role as Malcolm Tucker on a show called The Thick of It.  What most of you probably didn’t know (and I just found out about 10 minutes ago) is that Capaldi also used to be in a band with none other than Craig FergusonThe Late Late Show‘s charmingly self-deprecating host.

Now, Craig Ferguson is probably my favorite late night host right now.  I’ll always love David Letterman, and Johnny Carson is a god, but Ferguson’s brand of humor really appeals to me.  He’s also a total Whovian; he even has a little TARDIS sitting on his desk.  The news that his former bandmate has been cast as the Doctor must have tickled him all sorts of colors.  I read this on Dangerous Minds, so I did my own search on YouTube, and found The Dreamboys’ single “Bela Lugosi’s Birthday.”  The sound is dismal, but they weren’t half bad.

They were probably playing off the success of Bauhaus’ song “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”,  but the Dreamboys’ song seems just a trifle more cheerful.  I’m going to have to keep an eye on who Ferguson’s guests are in the next couple of weeks.  I’m hoping he’ll get a visit from his Doctor soon.

As Seen on TV: “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

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Boston is still on everyone’s mind today.  While you know logically that something like this could happen anywhere, anytime, it’s still so shocking.  I was 3,000 odd miles away, and I’m a little shell-shocked about what happened; I can’t imagine what the people who were there are feeling right now.  I just want to hug people.

Which sort of makes the theme from Cheers a great song to post today.  “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” was a familiar part of Thursday nights for millions of people for a decade.  It was comforting the way your favorite chair or a cold beer is.  You always knew what to expect when you heard those opening piano notes.  The show was a familiar sitcom formula: a family of misfits finds companionship with each other at a Boston bar run by an alcoholic ex-baseball player.  Most sitcoms are about families of one sort or another, be they biological or chosen.  I like the idea of a chosen family.  I sometimes feel closer to the people I’ve chosen than I do the people I share genes with.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my family very much, even when I don’t particularly like them.  But there’s something special about that little circle of friends who are so much a part of your life they might as well be related.  Whether you met them at work or school, or even a bar, these are the people who know you and understand you, and like you anyway.  They’ll always have your back, they’ll always make you laugh.

This is the full-length version of the theme that was released as a single in the early 80s, after the show became a hit.  It was a hit for songwriter Gary Portnoy (the only one I’m familiar with).  The verses are, frankly, kind of cheesy, but the sentiment is all heart, and it’s a good one for these days.  There will always be a place to escape, a place where you’re safe and loved.  I hope the city of Boston feels that love from the rest of the country right now.

“You wanna go where people know, people are all the same.  You wanna go where everybody knows your name.”

Music I Ought to Love, but Don’t

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I really wished I liked Jack White more.  It’s not just because he’s absolutely everywhere, although he does seem to have his grubby little hands in virtually everything these days.  And it has nothing to do with the fact that I think he’s a pretentious git most of the time; I think being a pretentious git comes with the territory he inhabits.  He is undeniably, monumentally talented–quite probably a genius.  I own a couple of White Stripes albums, and I enjoy the music very much.  (“Seven Nation Army” is like a revelation, one of my favorites by them.)  But when I listen to Jack White’s music, I don’t connect to it. In a very real sense, he doesn’t speak to me.  It’s good music.  Hell, it’s great music.  I know objectively that with his talent and style, I ought to be half in love with him; but I just feel cold.

I don’t mean to pick on Jack White in particular.  He’s just a ready example of Music I Ought To Love, But Don’t.  I know that my life will be enriched by this music, that I might even be a better person if I listen to it.  The Critics tell me repeatedly that I should run out to my local, independently owned music shop and buy it now.  My collection will be incomplete unless it includes all these CDs (or even better, vinyl LPs).  There’s a lot of artists that fall into this category.  Arcade Fire.  The Decemberists.  Pink Floyd.  The Doors.  (Aside from a couple really tight singles on the radio, if I never hear another Doors song again, I will be a happy, happy girl.)  I could probably list a lot more if I thought about it, but I don’t like to think about it.

I’m reading a great book right now, a gift from my BFF, Mr. BFF, and their Amazing Child.  Love Goes to Buildings on Fire is about five years in New York City, from 1973 to 1977, that changed the musical landscape irrevocably.  Everything from disco to punk was being developed and musical landscapes were being rewritten.  There’s a picture of Patti Smith, Lou Reed, John Cale, and David Byrne performing together in a club in 76; I almost fainted at the thought of all that musical greatness in one place at one time.  As I’m reading this book, I’m learning and relearning about music that is truly great and revolutionary.  I’m also getting ideas of things to sample on itunes–and I’m finding out that I don’t like some of this music that by all rights I should.  Take Televison, for example.  Tom Verlaine’s proto-punk, proto-New Wave rock band is terrific; I can hear the roots of a lot of music I love in Marquee Moon.  I just don’t want to listen to it.

Will I feel different about all this music eventually?  Yeah, probably.  It’ll become must listen to on my iPod.  Or not.  I don’t know.  I know it’s great music.  I also know Mozart and Ella Fitzgerald are great, but I don’t listen to them, either.  Music is something that has to connect with me somehow, touch off some emotion or memory.  (That’s why I love so much bad 70s music; it reminds me of my childhood.)  That’s how it is for everyone, I suppose.  Until a song clicks for whatever reason, it’s just noise to me.

Brothers

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I’m posting way earlier than usual today because I had a thought occur to me.

Quit snickering.  I think about things all the time, but you all just don’t hear about most of it, mostly because it’s a) boring and b) kind of obsessive.  But I do wish to explain how I got to this particular post.

I was checking my email (and was rather alarmed to notice that I hadn’t checked it since Sunday; that happens occasionally).  Our cable company had sent an email offering free Showtime for 6 months as a thank you for being such nice people.  (Okay, it was probably sent out to all paying customers as a way to deflect the anger when we find out they’ve raised the rates again, but I digress.)  I asked Dad if he wanted it; he didn’t care, so I signed us up.  They were advertising all of Showtimes terrific shows in the email, and that got me thinking about the first cable TV series I ever watched.

When I was a teenager, living with my mom when my parents first split up, we had Showtime on our cable, and they aired a show called Brothers.  I think I watched it because it had Robert Walden, and I still liked him from his Lou Grant days.  It was an okay sitcom, about three very different brothers in Philadelphia, PA.  The twist was that they were all coming to terms with the youngest brother, Cliff, coming out as gay.

This was pretty groundbreaking stuff in 1984.  Soap in the 70s had a gay character, Jodie (played by Billy Crystal, who for some reason doesn’t talk about the role).  But Jodie spent most of his time sleeping with women, so he was really only gay in theory.  Brothers’ Cliff, on the other hand, dated men.  And his two older brothers had to learn how to deal with it, as well as Cliff’s every-stereotype-in-the-book-and-then-some gay best friend Donald (Phillip Charles Mackenzie became famous because of his fabulous portrayal of the fabulous Donald).  It was a pretty good show, and I’m pretty sure it’s one of the reasons I’m an ally of the LGBTQ community today.

And it had a great theme song.  (The sound quality in this vid is not great, but it’s good enough.)

I don’t think about Brothers very often anymore.  I’d like to see it again.  So, Viacom, if you’re listening, there’s at least one person out here who would be willing to shell out some precious dollars for a complete series DVD collection.