Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Year in Review...sort of

Happy New Year! In celebration of the New Year, as well as the 1-year anniversary of “The Critical Palate” (in actual, this “Critical Palate” has been around 42 years), I thought I would post a few thoughts about this past year. I am naming 2008 “The Year of the Palate!”

For the most part, television stinks. Apparently, the “Gong Show” has gone big time, but how many American Idol and its knock-offs can we take? While I like “AI”, I am not a fan of the derivatives; they might be better if they replaced the snarky British and the former hottie judges with Rex Reed and Jaye P. Morgan. (An aside, in an ironic coincidental twist of fate, Jaye P. Morgan was the sister-in law of Yvonne DeCarlo, one of my all time favorites! Not only fabulous as Lilly Munster, or award-winning in “Satan’s Cheerleaders”, but even better, and better looking, as Sephora in “The Ten Commandments”. As Steven Wright says: It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.)

Anyways, back to the post…I can’t stand these ugly stepchildren of television. So You Think You Can Dance, Don’t Forget the Lyrics, Battle of the Choirs, the Next Great Inventor…what’s next, “The Next Great Cure for Chlamydia”? I can hear the judges now: “Tetracycline, you’re an amateur and just can’t compete with Zythromax!”

We need to bring back good writing (a little tough while the WGA members are getting ripped off by the big studios.) There’s not much more of “Cory in the House” I can handle. Now that Studio 60, The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm are off the air, and House is on mid-winter hiatus, I’ve moved to the Travel Channel and Discovery to true “reality” television. Forget “Til Death”, now I’m getting the lowdown on Las Vegas cheaters and whether Ninjas can really walk across water, on Mythbusters. Now this is the best television on television.

Of course, there’s always “Zoey 101” with Jamie Lynne Spears! A role model for all girls…who live in trailers!

As for movies, I got to admit, some of Hollywood is still lost on me. I saw a bunch of stuff, and I think my best of the year is “No Country for Old Men”, but, “Norbit” is a close second. Having seen “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” this past week (mindless fun), I am looking forward to more sequels, like the 4th installment of Indiana Jones, where Harrison Ford is so old, its working title is “The Secrets of the Lost Package of Depends” and “Rambo: VA Hospital”.

This past year, we had some decent meals at The 111 Chop House in Worcester, Willy’s Steakhouse and Sushi in Shrewsbury, The Anchor Bar in Buffalo and The Keg in Niagara. Mostly, the year was filled with average meals for above-average prices, and frankly, no one meal stands out above any other. We enjoyed Muddy River Smokehouse in Portmouth, New Hampshire, and will be heading back in February for the beef ribs. Otherwise, Framingham and Natick has seen “more of the same” restaurants with the opening of “The Cheesecake Factory”, and a new, unfamiliar, cutting-edge restaurant concept, not yet seen in these parts…an Asian super buffet! Oooh, I’m all aquiver with excitement…

Many years ago, I was watching a commercial for “The Peoples’ Court”, and Judge Wapner says to a litigant “did you call him a ‘Doo Dah’?” I have to admit, it was pretty funny, but you got to wonder, what is a “doo dah”, because it has to be more than just the refrain to “Camptown Races”. Well, kind reader, look no further. Thanks to Ken Levine (see link at sidebar), please visit his site, or the following: http://www.pasadenadoodahparade.info/.

Apparently, it’s a group that runs a satirical, spoof of the Rose Bowl Parade. This is pretty funny. Watch out you parading Mummers…or Mumzers!

I’ve enjoyed writing this blog and because I’m here for you, I’ll keep it going. You’ve been a great audience. Now…my gift to you. Move over Emma Lazurus…

Images by Tyrone Greene ...
Dark and lonely on the summer night.
 Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
 Watchdog barking - Do he bite? 
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
 Slip in his window,
 Break his neck! 
Then his house 
I start to wreck!
 Got no reason --
What the heck!
 Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
 C-I-L-L ...
My land - lord ...


Ray K. Product Development Mgr said...

Random reaction:

Y'know, my wife and I were officially the last people in NY without cable and we finally bowed to the Modern Age in 2006 (mostly because the cable company bundled cheap phone and internet service in the package) and, I have to agree, there is precious little worth watching these days (or am I just getting old and crochety)?. We are enthusiastic Netflix members, (Deadwood, anyone?) but film is also getting to be slim pickings, it seems. List of stuff we thought was good in '07 available on request.

As to enjoyable meals, you are also right on the money in that 99.99% of what you get these days is crapola at relatively steep prices. If you ever find yourself in Farmingdale NY (E, this means you!), we have an incredibly great Thai place that has salad with peanut dressing and the tastiest ever brown curry for $10, and a Greek place that has good Gyros and greek salad for $15. I also became addicted to meditteranian food while working for an Israeli company and have discovered a Turkish place that has pretty good schwarma for relatively low bucks as well, although I always feel like I have crashed the local terror cell whenever I go there.

Asian buffet around here is cheap but never good: you can get a good meal at Cheesecake factory...or not.

Agree that Reality TV is 100% dreck (except for a fondness for the early episodes of American Idol), otherwise, my advice is to re-connect with your band geek roots and join the local orchestra for therapy to relieve the frustrations from the workaday world (although I always wanted to try kelzmer music!!)

Eric Weinstein said...

Ray: Thanks for the comments. Deadwood is an HBO show, so once again, they flex their quality tv muscle.I think when writers are unencumbered by the broadcast language restrictions, both in plot lines and language, there is a lot you can do.