7 Quick Takes Vol. 50

  1. You may have noticed (well, probably not, but maybe now you will) that I’ve been enjoying my new blog. I think I mentioned last time that one of the reasons I made the switch was to have more flexibility in what I posted (I’m anal like that; if I decide that one particular thing only ought to be for one particular subject, I will stick with that decision even if I end up hating it). This week, among other things, I fisked a stupid piece from the Huffington Post (did the makers of that fine example of journalism intend people to think of ‘huffing paint’ whenever they said the name? Because I do), posted some lovely Monet paintings, and linked to a much more talented writer who actually gets paid for this sort of thing. Now I’m trying to decide whether my next post should be my thoughts on the death penalty or a piece discussing how Teen Titans illustrates the shallow nature of lust (hint: not in the way you’re thinking).
  1. Speaking of TV shows (Teen Titans is a show, in case you didn’t know that), my media diet this week has mostly revolved around episodes of Dragnet from the 1960s. For those who don’t know, Dragnet was the original police procedural, which it was so successful at that episodes were actually used as training films by the LAPD (the episodes were all based on real cases that creator Jack Webb solicited from officers). Ironically enough, modern audience would probably find it kind of corny, since for all the realism there are quite a few speeches about various societal ills. Personally, though, I like them; they’re ills that society needed to be lectured on and, unfortunately, still does. Amid the swiftly deteriorating structure of the American mind in that era, Dragnet was one of the islands of sanity.

Plus, it’s also pretty fun, with snappy, fast-paced plots and lots of banter between the protagonists, Friday and Gannon (Jack Webb and Harry Morgan). Then, every so often, they sucker-punch you with disturbingly realistic events of the sort you don’t expect to see on a 1960s TV show.

  1. The other staple of my media diet has been clips from What’s My Line, a game show from the 1950s and 60s. The format was that there was a panel of four players who were challenged to ask a series of yes or no questions to try to discover the occupations of the show’s guests (their ‘line’), which the audience was told, but the panel wasn’t. Each episode also featured a ‘mystery challenger:’ a celebrity, for whom the panel blindfolded themselves and the celebrity would disguise his voice (generally to comic effect, though Groucho Marx broke the format completely by adopting the persona of a senile old German Jew, which didn’t allow any questioning, but sure was funny). It was a very fun, very polite show (the host, Jim Daly, was always warm and hospitable toward the guests), and it was often fascinating to see the different people who would show up. For instance, one clip I watched this week featured the very gracious Colonel Sanders himself, who was not a celebrity guest, and it took the panel quite a while to guess that he owned a fried chicken company.

Archbishop Ven. Fulton Sheen was a celebrity guest in one episode: he answered all his questions in French and ended by asking Mr. Daly to send his winnings to a leper colony. His segment also prompted one of the panelists, upon ascertaining that he was both non-profit and had a regular television show to comment “boy do you have a crazy sponsor.”

  1. I spent most of my work week trying to chase down certain receipts for my company credit card statement which certain people apparently didn’t think necessary to give me. The nice, efficient, small-business operation that used to supply our janitorial supplies was purchased by a larger company a few months back, and this new company seems utterly incapable of providing us with receipts unless directly asked (they include shipping documents with their packages, but they don’t include the price, making them completely useless). Then there was the Japanese electronics company from which someone bought a few parts that he then immediately shipped on to Mexico along with all the documentation. Oy…I cannot wait to be finished with this job.
  1. I’m trying to train myself to swear less (a combination of a stroke-prone work computer and a bad habit of reading the news conspired to give me an unpleasantly limited vocabulary for expressing displeasure). To that end, I’ve made a rule where every time I say the ‘F’ word I then have to say the Our Father. It’s actually working pretty well; this morning I saw the headline on Drudge of Our Glorious Leader commenting on Ferguson and managed to restrain myself from whisper-screaming my response at the screen. See, I am growing in virtue this Lent!
  1. Now I have a dilemma: Cinderella is coming out soon, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it (and I am confident enough in my masculinity to admit that), yet it’s being preceded by a Frozen follow-up short, and I really didn’t like Frozen (I didn’t think it was awful; just mediocre, and hearing it constantly raved about ever since has made me thoroughly sick of it). Do I go and hope the short is more like the film’s good bits, or do I try to time my arrival so that I get there after the short is finished? Probably the former, but I confess I rather dread the experience.

P.S. Speaking of Frozen, I really like the song Let It Go, but the credits version of it (which I heard playing in a store the other day) really kind of sucks. It sounds like the singer forgot half the words and is trying to make it up by singing what she does remember with extra exuberance.

7. Ending Quote!

“It is noticeable that pacifism and anarchism…are now gaining ground among the young. These creeds have the advantage that they aim at the impossible and therefore in effect demand very little.” -George Orwell, A Review of ‘Beggar My Neighbor

Now you can go back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for the kind of blogs you were actually looking for when you unsuspectingly clicked on this link and were welcomed by a huge snake.

One thought on “7 Quick Takes Vol. 50

  1. You’re marvelous as always, old chap. Funny that we both made the transition to new blogs at the same time. I have yet to write anything, of course. Slacker is still my middle name.


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