I’m so glad Christmas is over. I loved it when I was a kid, of course, but now it’s just another layer of obligation and stress in my life. And I don’t need an additional layer, thank you very much. The boys seemed happy with their haul, and there were no major arguments or problems, so I’ll put it down as a success. Whatever.
You know what else I don’t like about the holidays? What feels like DAYS of dullness — just hanging around the house with the TV on and nothing happening except serial grazing of the cookie and fudge table. I know that sounds fantastic in theory, but it’s boring as fuck. Of course it was really only the second half of Christmas Eve, and Christmas day. But it felt like weeks. By Sunday afternoon I was on the cusp of a nervous breakdown. I could’ve gone out for a walk, I suppose, but let’s not get ridiculous.
Speaking of TV, I watched all three seasons of Silicon Valley, in less than two weeks. Loved it! Great show. I’m now starting on Homeland, but there are a lot more episodes, and each one is an hour long. So, give me a month. We also enjoyed five or six uncut episodes of The Andy Griffith Show on Christmas Eve, on the Sundance Channel. I wasn’t even aware we got that network, it’s way up the dial — something like 163. Who the hell knows? But it was fun. That show, like Seinfeld, never gets old. And Toney and I have watched the first four episodes of 11.22.63, which is also pretty great.
There’s so much fantastic TV now. Remember when it was just Three’s Company and Falcon Crest? Not good. What should I watch after Homeland? It takes a lot of fuel, my friends.
Did I mention that we now have all of the premium movie channels? HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, and maybe more? Toney called Comcast and cut some kind of deal with them, and we ended up with all the premium channels, plus 131 additional regular channels (we already got roughly a million) for the same monthly amount. Also, when I was about to lose my mind on Christmas day, I signed up for a free trial of Hulu. I didn’t like it at first, and was ready to cancel. But, I might stick with it for a while. I’m seeing some possible benefits.
What’s your opinion of Hulu? I don’t like the commercials, and am certainly not willing to pay more to go commercial-free. I also don’t like how they don’t always have complete seasons of TV shows. If you’ll notice, random episodes are missing. It’s weird. I’m a completist, and that bugs me. If I tear into a series, I need to see them all. Ya know? So, the jury is out, but I’m liking 11.22.63, and there’s a lot of other stuff on there that might keep me around for a while. Like that Beatles documentary, directed by Ron Howard.
So, in addition to all those movie channels, we now also have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. It’s crazy. It feels like the entire history of TV is at my fingertips. And I’m still bitching.
And speaking of bitching, I have a couple of fresh complaints. You know those newfangled drink machines they’re installing everywhere? The ones where you have access to roughly a hundred different variations of soda, and is driven by a booger-smeared touch screen? Well… they’re a mistake. You can’t give stupid people that many options. For one thing, they don’t know how to operate it. The whole concept is baffling to them. They just stand there with their mouth hanging open, staring into the screen like they’re witnessing footage of their own future death. Also, the sheer number of products that machine will dispense causes brain-lock in 60% of users. It’s just too much.
One thing I’ve started doing, after I finally gain access to one of those machines, is try something different every time. A few days ago I got Mello Yello with grape flavoring added. I drank it down, even though it was fairly horrible, and within twenty minutes I had to shit like there was no tomorrow. Sweet sainted mother of Yahoo Serious! You talk about a duke-trigger… It was worse than Sunkist Orange, which’ll also cause otherwise sane individuals to tear out a section of drywall to get to a toilet. Do you have any known and consistent duke-triggers? Please tell us about them in the comments.
Another thing that bothers me… nobody knows how to spell “whoa.” Have you noticed that? They go “woah” with it, or maybe even something worse. It’s not as bad as those new drink machines, but it’s up there.
And I’m going to leave you now with a question about celebrity deaths. There’s been no shortage of them this year, or this week, even. But I’d like to know which ones shocked you the most. Prince was pretty shocking, since he had no known history of drug abuse, or anything of the sort. And he was fairly young. But, at the top of the list for me will forever be John Lennon. That was some bullshit, right there. It’s still upsetting, when I stop and think about it. Toney mentioned Princess Diana, and that one was certainly shocking, too. But I wasn’t emotionally invested in her, like I was with John. Ya know? I can remember being pretty heartsick about Belushi, but it wasn’t exactly shocking. Sad, yes. But not shocking.
What are your thoughts on this one? Please share them in the comments.
And I’m going to drive through the freaking snow, and go back to work now. My nipples are exploding with delight. I made the boys go out and shovel the driveway, though. They didn’t care for it, but tough shit. I’m not doing it anymore. They’d better get used to it, goddammit.
I’ll see you guys again soon. Have a great day.
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I went through the missing seasons thing when I got into watching Boardwalk Empire. Amazon had a few and the library had one season. I had to wait on the last season to pop-up on Amazon.
Hulu is the only streaming service I don’t have.
I just re-watched The Office all the way through for the first time since it was on TV. What a great show that was. I had forgotten about the Robert California episodes.
It’s not even missing seasons, it’s missing episodes within a season. For instance, they’ll have episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. That makes me insane. And WTF??
Probably related to some copyright b.s. Here in Canada in the 70’s, a local station produced The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. The wolfman segment always had some good rock music the wolfman would boogie to on a psychedelic background. Turns out most of the music was copywright violation and the subsequent dvd’s changed the music thats playing. Utter blasphemy. Took all the steam out of the show. The opening Moog sequence was also in violation but they sorted that out apparently.
Ditto for Trailer Park boys, the original season that aired here showed product labels. Well, you know what they do with product labels on that show…
Oh – I misread. I wonder what the reasoning is on that.
I think the last time I watched Hulu it was wide open and they had a bunch of shows from the 1970s.
I run into that when I was watching shows on Youtube. Whoever takes such things down will sometimes remove certain episodes but not all of them.
I always use the middle knuckle of my finger on those coke-machine touchscreens. The pads of my fingers are going to touch my food, and I’d sooner dunk them in the toilet than put them on a public touchscreen. Barf.
Joe T. says
I haven’t been emotionally invested in ANY of the celebrity deaths this year. I see all kinds of hand wringing on social media, but I feel nothing.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
Yeah, that David Bowie guy was such a schmuck anyhow
Joe T. says
He wasn’t a schmuck, it just didn’t affect me.
I didn’t even know he was Jewish.
The Qweezy Mark says
Yeah, people are nuts. I might be disappointed that someone in particular has passed, but, you do not really know the celebrity and they don’t even know you exist.
It’s like the “adults” who get into actual fistfights over their favorite sports teams…..shitheads!
Lee Harvey Ramone says
I’m completely with you on the holiday feeling of utter boredom. On X-mas day, I was about to crawl out of my skin with the lack of anything to do by about 10:18am. It kept snowing all day, so at least there was some shoveling that needed to get done. At one point I contemplated shoveling the yard so I could try to mow the grass underneath.
Definitely Lennon. Btw, watch the Beatle Documentary- it’s great.
Christmas here is usually small and unremarkable, other then the presents and stuff. I just don’t get into it like I did when the kids were little. It’s OK – I’d rather NOT make a huge fuss.
People who can’t spell ‘aw’ when making a comment on something cute, but instead use ‘awe.’ Yes, it bugs me, as do a myriad of other common misspellings. Did these people even graduate middle school?
About the places with the million-flavor machines: do they offer the same service to their drive-through customers, or is it a marketing ploy to get people to come inside to eat? I don’t recall being able to tell the PDQ people to make mine a half-grape/half-diet Coke.
Swami Bologna says
Next up on your TV queue should be “The Americans.”
I’ve seen every episode. Love it!!
I’m not a fan of those drink machines either. Yeah the screens are always smeared with something and it always makes a huge bottleneck in the food retrieval system. Pretty soon you’ll have to create an account and password , scan the barcode with your Goddamn cellphone just to get 84 ounces Diet Coke.
The Qweezy Mark says
I love the machines that come with PayRange. You just use your phone to order and then tap 1 button on the machine. Fancy Schmantzy!
Alan Rickman’s death fucked me up pretty good.
Hulu has always seemed kinda shitty to me, and this is yet more confirmation of that.
We are Netflix, Amazon, and PlayStation Vue people.
Arby’s always gives me a LIBO (lower intestinal blow out). Or ice cream. It’s a powerful force.
Swami Bologna says
When I was 16 years old in 1977, my hero was Ronnie Van Zant, lead singer and primary songwriter of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I literally still haven’t gotten over the sadness from that loss. Even after I got into punk rock and “alternative rock” in college, and developed even more sophisticated musical tastes in later years, I still considered Ronnie Van Zant one of the greatest rock’n’roll songwriters of all time, and continued to miss him greatly. I think he has never fully been recognized for how talented he was for two reasons: 1) Because of the stereotype of the typical Lynyrd Skynyrd fan. How could someone so revered by such yahoos actually have genuine talent? 2) The band continued (after a long hiatus) with the much less talented (actually rather untalented in both the singing, and especially the songwriting, departments) little brother Johnnie Van Zant. The re-formed band (actually more of a tribute act) really besmirched the legacy of the great pre-crash band.
My first live concert in ’79 was the Rossington Collins Band, the survivors of the crash plus new lead singer Dale Krantz. It was pre-Johnnie and they actually recorded some damn good original music. And when they did Free Bird, they did it as an instrumental with a mike stand and empty spot under a spotlight, as their tribute to Ronnie (and Steve and Cassie). THAT was done right.
“How can you stand there smilin’ after all you’ve done” One More Time is a constant on my playlists. I saw Rossington Collins as well. Dale Krantz was like Janice reincarnate. Sorry Dave but I thought the spotlight thing was a bit hokey but I was a teenager then and a bit of an ass.
And they are still at it today.
I still listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd.
I have a question and a comment.
When, in the name of Pat Buttram’s horse, did people start using the word “whoa” in written correspondence? Sure, over the years women have hollered things like, “Whoa, big stallion” — OK, they weren’t technically talking to ME and I guess they weren’t hollering — but who writes “whoa” in a business or personal message? I’m not a Facebook guy, but it’s hard to imagine, even for those who enjoy living their lives in the public, corporate and governmental eye, why using this word would constitute and essential part of their written vocabulary. I don’t live in horse country and maybe that’s the problem.
That was the question. This is the comment: Jeff, you used the standard American construction when you asked about celebrity deaths, but when did we start identifying everybody of note with the same word? I can see now that this is just another question.
If Kim Kardashun dies (God rest her soul soon), and Richard Feynman dies (he was an atheist and would prefer to omit God), are these both celebrity deaths? Are these equivalent events? Yeah, I know every person’s death diminishes me, but Carrie Fisher wrote two or three good books and was an important spokesperson for the recovery movement and the mental health community, while Debbie Reynolds gave us “Singing in the Rain” which isn’t even a particularly good musical. Vera Rubin changed the way we see the entire universe, as did Leonard Cohen and Muhammad Ali, while Miss Cleo mostly took our change.
I don’t have a specific suggestion for improving the language, but doing without the word “celebrity” would be a start.
And I swear I saw part of your left foot on my lawn.
. . . and for the love of a benevolent and protective God, please tell me that Black Chyna is just the cool part of China and not some kind of faux-Kardashun. Thanks for your help.
Debbie Reynolds gave us Carrie Fisher.
I write the same way I speak.
When I receive an stimulus in the form of information, my brain is the first thing to react.
My brain then starts forming words to express ideas. Whether or not I say those words with my mouth doesn’t matter, my brain has formed the idea in the form of words. If one of those words is “Whoa”, then if I write those ideas with words then I will write the word “Whoa”.
By writing the way I speak people who both hear and read my words receive a consistent feedback mechanism from me. This way they don’t have to interpret two different languages, one written one spoken, when interacting with the same production source.
Also, when quoting somebody.
“Madam Secretary” is really good TV. Most people I talk to are turned off because they think it will be way too political, which you would kind of expect. However, it isn’t actually that political. you can barely tell what party the President is in and the Secretary of State doesn’t seem partisan at all. It’s just a really good drama. It’s also really accurate as far as the bureaucracy goes (well as accurate as can be expected). They must have good advisors on the show.
If you haven’t watched “Parks and Recreation” yet, that’s a good one. It’s actually more political than “Madam Secretary”. Parks and Rec is quickly rising to be in my top 5 TV shows of all time. I’m not sure it’ll get there, but it will be close.
I have a whole damn rant about the touch screen drink machines that I swear I’ll+ try to get to tomorrow.
The Mole says
Yahoo Serious made my head hurt. I’d forgotten. Now I have to forget all over again…..
John, I didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the above tirade and ruin your punchline for everyone else. Goddamm that was funny.
We’re binge watching Orange is the new Black. This year, Bowie, Prince, and Garry Shandling were emotional for me. But all time, I was thrown by Kurt Cobain and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The two celebrity deaths that affected me on an emotional level had to have been Clarence Clemens and Bobby keys. You just don’t roam down the street and find 2 phenomenal sax players on a whim.
On the drink machines, I restrain myself to craziness like cherry Coke plus root beer. Certain combinations work, others don’t.
I spent Christmas in my mom’s stuffy apartment. During a certain time in life it’s an ordeal, but at some point you realize there might not be a next time. It changes your perspective.
Celebrity deaths: obviously I didn’t actually know any of these people. Carrie Fisher was a shock, because I still think of her as the 1977 version. But I feel the greatest loss for David Bowie and Mose Allison.
JR in FallCity says
watch The Man in the High Castle. Amazon Prime, season 2 just released. world in which Axis powers won WWII. It’s crazy.
The only multiple drink machine I encounter is at Greasy Grass, the local Indian casino and Trail of Tears retribution center. But they just have ten choices and I always select the Hawaiian Punch. Sometimes, when the wind is howling and I hear the distant rumble of shoeless horses, I’ll add a splash of Sprite for zest.
But a hundred variations of soda: that creates quite a dirty machine/human interface problem, and that calls for epidemic panic measures. Is there any way to use your elbows to make your selection? There are some women and more than a few men who would fall short of the mark with the elbow method for the obvious reasons, but most of us could hit, say, the middle 50% with our proximal radioulnar joint without crouching or jumping. The other 50% would involve some form of tai chi or vertical acrobatics.
Would it be possible to just buy a fucking bottle of Coke and avoid the contagion?
Jeff, I would very highly recommend “Good Ol’ Freda” on Netflix. Really good piece of Beatles history that puts you in the middle of things in a more intimate and realistic way than is usually seen.
Mark T. says
Pssh… Who still pays for cable? Kodi, my friends. Every TV show and movie, ever…. for free. You can question the morality of it all you want, but the way I see it, I’ve been getting absolutely hosed by cable companies and their local monopolies for as long as I’ve been an adult, and some payback is in order.
Most shocking celebrity death for me was Michael Jackson.
Iced Tea, especially from McDonalds, primes my fudge cannon every time.
Mark T. says
Oh, and the next series for you should be “The Man in the High Castle”, if you haven’t seen it yet. I’m ready to put it up there next to “The Wire” as one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on television. It’s on Amazon Prime.
Just wondering how anyone could ever possibly be bored; there’s always so much to think about if there’s nothing else to keep one occupied.
Celebrity deaths that left the biggest void? Fred Rogers and Lou Reed come to mind. And perhaps George Harrison. The Grim Reaper has been working overtime this year tho – will miss Carrie Fisher and Leonard Cohen the most out of this year’s losses.
Yeah, I read somewhere about a cure for boredom, but it slipped away. The last time I was bored was in early 1973, just before Watergate.
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Fred Rogers and Lou Reed: the ultimate gentleman and the ultimate asshole, both immensely talented, both essential.
And talk about essential: Leonard keeps speaking to me sweetly from a window in the tower of song. He always will.
Those drink machines from the land of 1000 flavors are kid magnets. If you make the mistake of standing in front of one, your feet are temporarily stuck to the floor from the overflow when kids didn’t have a cup under the nozzle.
I don’t get all of the hype over celebrity deaths. But what really irks me is the hype over the deaths of their parents or non-famous relatives. So-and-so’s great aunt Rose died last night. And then a plethora of well wishes begins on social media to the celebrity — as if they are really reading Joe Schmoe’s condolences to the “star” over great aunt Rose. People die everyday and grieve, sometimes with no one to comfort them. Get a life people. Go talk face-to-face with someone in your own family.
Whoa is like yeah and yeh. No one gets them right. Whoa, Nellie and woe is me — old school.
Franky T says
I have a hard time believing Abe Vigoda died.
Most missed, Schneider from One Day at a Time.
Best new show: This is Us, Tuesdays on NBC.
Soda machines: ack, don’t drink that crap!
Root 66 says
Though not necessarily a celebrity, but rather an astronaut and politician–Senator John Glenn. As a fellow Ohioan, I have a lot of respect for the man and he was quite popular in our state. In fact, the airport here in K’lumbus is now called the “John Glenn International Airport.” He put his bacon on the line for Uncle Sam many, many times and lived the kind of life most people can only dream about. He was a larger-than-life figure, yet also quite homespun and humble and his death (though not a shock) impacted me a lot more than I was expecting. He was the last living Mercury astronaut. They just don’t make ’em like that any more!
Godspeed, John Glenn!
He was all of that, and he had a terrific wife and Ted Williams for a wingman. If John Glenn isn’t the ultimate 20th century American, it’s hard to know who the hell is.
Root 66 says
It’s a toss-up between him and West Virginia’s own Chuck Yeager! Between him and John Glenn, I’m not sure who had more planes shot out from under them!
“Twenty-two astronauts were born in Ohio. What is it about your state
that makes people want to flee the Earth?”
– Stephen Colbert
Those pesky Wright boys from Dayton seemed to suffer from a similar lack of boredom.
Pete Duel from Alias, Smith and Jones shocked me. Watch “Life”
Stars same guy from Homeland. Lasted two seasons on nbc but was a great cop show.
I recommend Justified, if you’ve never seen it. Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder are two of the best TV characters ever. I’m a huge fan of Outlander (the books are good, too). They’re filming season 3 right now. If you read a description you’d probably think it’s chick TV but there’s enough action and suspense to keep several guys in my life interested in it. I loved Stranger Things, too.
Harriette, aka Poop-Doggie- Dogg…and just “Poop”. ….July, 18. Harriette’s celebrity was wide ranged in terms of terrain and noted by many in her niche of, “Highway Hound”. She left the life she loved due to cancer at age 10. I’m too old to ever get over this.
Jane The Cat, aka Calamity Jane…Feb. 28. Ground squirrels feared her, raccoons respected her. She ruled her realm with grace. Jane started her extended cat nap at age 14 here at home.
And already I feel that I know Harriette and Poop better than any of the other “celebrities” that passed away this year. My sympathies for your losses.
Lennon and Michael Jackson. Most people remember Michael as the freakish, half-white, “alleged” child molester, but through Thriller and maybe Bad, he was every bit the iconic, ground-breaking entertainer that Elvis was. Listen to his first solo album (yeah, that’s right, ALBUM), Off the Wall, and try to find one sub-par song. A shame his weirdness took his life and Chapman’s took Lennon’s. Miss them both all the time.
Thankfully, Leonard Cohan’s “backing track” never failed. He had a golden voice and no need to lipsync. And, of course, he had the women. Always the women. Who in Fuck’s name is buying factory records whose music can’t be reproduced IRL? I think I’d buy a Harry Carey, a Harry Caray, or a Michele Carey record before I’d buy a Maria Carey — or whatever her name is — record. Too cold for lawn.
Here’s Leonard . . .
I have Sirius radio in my Highway Hotel and one day I noticed they were playing non-stop Merle Haggard. I was heading south on CA99 passing through Bakersfield at the time, coming up on the Merle Haggard Drive exit. Earlier I had passed over Lake Shasta and rolled on down through Redding…Merle’s hometown. I soon learned Merle was gone.
Watch the wire….absolutely fantastic!
Bosch is really good. Season 3 should be out soon.