Category Archives: “Ni Hao Kai-lan!”

“Lassie” and Television’s Progress

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On Friday, September 12, 2014, 60 years of television had passed by, since “Lassie’s”

first debut episode. The show was simple, meaningful and encompassed all areas of

rural living, (1954 – 1973). When they list the ‘longest lasting television series,’ they

place this show close to top of the list.

 

The years I remember the show, “Lassie,” best had June Lockhart as portraying my

favorite mother of all time. The father was genuinely well-acted by Hugh Reilly and

my favorite little boy, “Timmy,” was played by Jon Provost.

 

Although the leading “human” roles changed over the years, there was always the

faithful dog, “Lassie.” (Many dogs played this role, of course, through the years.) I

enjoyed the various transitions of “Lassie,” having family values and including life

lessons.

 

Fast forward to September and October, 2014 for the New Fall, 2014 television

season.

It would be nearly impossible to picture most of the newest additions to our current

television programming to last ten years, let alone 19 years.

 

The “CSI” and “NCIS” shows are still going strong and on this Fall’s t.v. line-up.

I am going to miss having the original show, “CSI,” with its location of Las Vegas,

when it moves to its new Sunday evening slot. Sunday is my favorite ‘catch up’ night,

with PBS, Hallmark and I still am a big fan of “Once Upon A Time” and “Revenge.”

The new Fall line up is already getting over-crowded on my own Sunday night.

 

I was talking to a good friend who thinks some of the shows sound “silly” and was

pointing out a Columbus Dispatch critic thought Debra Messing would be hard to

imagine being a cop, in the new show called, “”Mysteries of Laura.”

Since I would first respond, I love the silly show, “Mike and Molly.” I may be quite

blasphemous to say that “Mike” would NEVER make it on a real police force, due

to his large size…

Criticism from someone who loves all kinds of wild SyFy shows like, “Haven” and

“Eureka,”  and on regular network t.v., “Under the Dome,” should be wondering

about their own ways they stretch their imagination! I am laughing with you; not

at you, my friend!

 

Can you suspend your sense of disbelief and let your imagination go?

I remember the funny ways we learned, as children to open our ‘escape hatches’

and step into the Lands of Wonderment.

 

I shall try all the shows with female-driven plot lines. They have had ‘good fortune’

in the past. Imagine “The Good Wife” not being on,  not receiving another round of

Emmy Award nominations. I think it is nice to see women in professional situations,

not wearing an ‘apron’ and carrying out the character of a ‘housewife and mother.’

This is not to say that I don’t enjoy programs that have women who have chosen to

stay at home to do

this very important job and having this be part of the plot line, too. Choices are what

makes this a different world from the Fifties and Sixties’ television programming.

 

“We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!”

I like the characters in this sweet little show about a single mother with a son, you may

recognize him from big screen movies, I “About a Boy.” I am sadly not pleased with

where they tucked this show into a 9:30 time slot. It is ‘not cute’ but original and quirky.

We, if you are a viewer, are ‘rooting’ for the handsome neighbor man to become the single

mother’s date. Although it is about a boy, it is definitely about the mother, too. Having

raised 3 children on my own, I am particularly happy to watch this one. I also like the

upcoming role of Katherine Heigl getting another chance on television in “State of

Affairs.” While Katherine Heigl left “Grey’s Anatomy,” definitely getting better comedic

roles in movies, she is still sorely missed as the character of “Izzy,” on that show. I am

looking forward to seeing her as a CIA agent. She was funny in “One for the Money,” a

movie based on the hilarious antics of a bondswoman in more than 20 books by Janet

Evanovich.

 

If you liked Tea Leoni’s funny past roles you may have seen her show her acting chops

in serious dramas, too. We will see which direction she heads in, “Madame Secretary.”

She was one of the wackiest women on television for 2 years in a show called, “The Naked

Truth.”

 

I have read a decent review of “Red Band Society.” It is not a “Breakfast Club,” nor

is it one that will be all laughs, but will tackle diseases and illnesses with a touch of

humor and give it an uplifting spin. It is a group of young people who are ones who

have hospital experiences, who are dealing with personal challenges. I picture it more

like the movie, “Stand By Me,” in its tone and togetherness. It is about a ‘band

of young misfits.’

 

Critics are harsh when it comes to some and not so much with others. I remember

when I discovered, “How I Met Your Mother.” It was before the critics endorsed it,

awhile back. I am sad how they chose to end it, with the death of the mother but

happy the main gal, Robin, got her ‘man.’

 

The serious shows genre are tougher to predict. I would imagine Scott Backula will

knock the New Orleans’ version of “NCIS” out of the park. I happen to have liked his

‘goofy’ portrayal of character in “Quantum Leap.” I am not sure about, “Stalkers,” but

will support Dylan McDermott, since he is still okay after all these years since his role

as a non-supportive ‘husband’ for Julia Robert’s dying ‘wife’ role in “Steel Magnolias.”

 

Another serious plot line can be found in “Gracepoint.” (Not to be confused with the

CIA/FBI show about the safe house, “Graceland.”) David Tennant, from the British

show, “Broadchurch,”and Anna Gunn are two strong actors that will head up the

already critically-acclaimed and well-promoted television show. This show is set in a

fictional California coastal community.

 

I think that the “Forever” show that is listed on two consecutive days, for its kick-off

first two episodes sounds good.  Sadly, I lost “Journeyman” and also another traveling

through  time show just in the past two years. I will hope this one ‘sticks’ because I like

the concept. I used to enjoy “Time Tunnel” on television and “Back to the Future,” on

the movie screen.

 

I have been a fan of Josh Dushamel ever since the show, “Vegas.” I have enjoyed his

forte into romantic comedies, too. The actor, Dushamel will be on a new show called,

“Battle Creek,” This will be loosely based on likely crimes to be found in Battle Creek,

Michigan. His co-star/partner will be that of Dean Winters. You will recognize him,

but not necessarily ‘place’ him. I will check this one out simply because I love crime-

solving television series.

 

I will return to comedies. This is what a good friend in Lancaster, Ohio mentioned

when we turned 50: “Try to laugh more, watch comedies!”

I came up with a slogan, which I will hope no one else has coined:

“Humor is found in the ‘ear’ of the listener.”

(“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”)

So, if you liked “My Favorite Martian” did you ever try 2 seasons of “Neighbors?”

I think not, since it did not make it. This was clever, witty writing with four likable

adults, along with poking fun at Suburbia. I will miss this, unless it is on a later

schedule, it did not make the ‘cut.’

 

If you liked “Scrubs,” you probably followed the guy who was the janitor on over

into “The Middle,” who became the ever patient, sometimes ‘clueless’ Dad in this

sit-com. This also includes Patricia Heaton, who played the Mom/wife roles in

“Everyone Loves Raymond.”

 

If you liked “Taxi,” “Barney Miller” and “Psych,” you may have discovered last year’s

Emmy-awarding comedy, “Brooklyn 9-9.” Hilarious, quirky and goofy at times, but

watch out, you may laugh out loud anyway.

 

I am wishing that Nielson’s Rating chart were in my mailbox, because I had such a

lovely time about eight years ago, studying and analyzing the television Fall Season

Line-ups back then. The first time I had the full control of a remote control.  I wrote

some comprehensive and profuse notes for those receiving my multiple page Nielson

Ratings Report. I  am not a paid writer nor do I write for a newspaper. I was able to

honestly say this, it was all for the love of television and the future of programming

that I was inspired to carry out my ‘duties’ in this report.

 

My final thoughts on the Progress television has made since “Lassie” was on.

You are invited to ‘debate’ these comments, too. I love a good and lively discussion!

 

I personally feel current shows embrace more ethnicities, culture and show characters

with wider world views in our programming. They encompasses much more ‘diversity’

on television since my childhood days. This means the people who are represented

are not stereotyped as much, anymore.

 

I like that there are two children with special needs included in some popular shows.

I recommend, “Parenthood,” and if you have never seen this, start by watching the

first shows. It is cool to watch this fine young actor, “grow up” with two caring

‘parents’ who disagree about how to handle him, along with a supportive ‘family.’

I am not sure how they would ‘label’ the character, “Brick,” in the show “The Middle,”

but the family accepts him just as he is.

I feel the shows today give better examples of the way families really act, showing

varied relationships, how to handle or not able handle serious and controversial

subjects such as addictions, challenges and sexual orientations.

 

We have heroes and villains. The same as in the past, sometimes more graphically

(and honestly presented.)

 

World conflicts and images are horrifying.  We cannot ignore what is going on, bury

our head in the sand. Powerful, and yet maddening, events are daily depicted (some

consider, ‘bombarded’) on our television sets.

We are urged to ‘act’ and ‘choose’ which side of the dilemmas we will take, as a nation

and other countries must, too.

Along with this serious, somewhat negative impact of television’s immediacy to

situations, we have positives.

We have the opportunity to watch the Olympics, sporting events and international

specials, shown across the world. My coworkers and friends from the Philippines

were captivated by Pope Francis being chosen to be the Roman Catholic Pope.

Other friends were entranced by the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana. Then,

many followed the tragic ending to Lady Diana’s life. They were hopeful for the

more recent wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The baby’s birth and

now, the next one on its way, are subjects that many feel are happy bits of news.

 

History, social studies, geography and science are subjects of programs, for

everyone to  learn about, grow to enjoy and get more educated. There are so

many fascinating shows to watch. Nature, musical and art works may never be viewed

or listened to, first hand. Other countries and animals, places that may not be within

everyone’s budget or ability to travel.

 

Some people are not necessarily able to buy or read the newspaper. They find out

information about the world they live in, from the television news shows.

Hurray For National Geographic, Travel Channel, PBS, Weather Channel and

other quality network programming!

 

We have real and make-believe images still, with our magic carpet rides taking off,

from our own homes.

 

There are subjects and shows I may never care to watch. I embrace and support

those who like QVC shopping, cooking shows, reality shows and true dramas,

because they are part of the wide community of television watchers.

 

Many of the shows I choose to watch, you may not want to watch. I got hooked on a

soap opera, during our second break at work. For the past six years, I am ‘guilty’ of

watching, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

All the years I stayed home and babysat, I did not watch any soap operas. I did in

college, much to the chagrin of my parents, when I mentioned I was scheduling my

courses around a couple of soap operas!

 

I was listening, the first year of American Idol, to all the animated conversations in

the teachers’ break room. They were talking about the ‘bad’ try-outs and the odd

characters. It was in the very beginning of the national search for those who would

make it to “Hollywood.” This caught my attention and I am so glad that I started

watching it.  I can say, “I remember when I first heard Carrie Underwood’s fantastic

voice, was medium built and had frizzy hair!” Along with several well-known singers

who made it to the Top Ten or higher.

 

I am grateful that I don’t have to sit on a sofa and listen to radio to imagine the

great radio characters of the “Green Hornet,” “Gracie Allen and George Burns,”

or how the President of the United States looks like as he is speaking. I enjoy

hearing my Mom’s excitement when she heard about Amelia Earhart’s trans-

Atlantic plane trip and her memories of the “Fireside Chats,” with President

Roosevelt, though.

 

I liked how we  used to watch to find out if we had school on Snow Days. Later,

if our children or grandchildren have school cancelled. I enjoy watching to see

how ‘my’ candidates or ‘my’ issues are doing, as the voting polls report in their

results.

 

I am saddened that there are blind people who cannot see, but grateful for the

inventions of special devices and increased equipment due to new technology

allowing them ‘to see’ the shows. The descriptions of the setting, characters and

other visual ‘clues’ are given. I have read about these and think the inventors are

brilliant for creating and providing this service. There are new creations in hearing-

impaired equipment, too.

 

Many people cannot afford to go to the movies or take a vacation with their families.

They may not go to Broadway but on PBS, they can see a Broadway play or musical.

They get their main form of entertainment from television.

 

There are others, lying on their back sometimes, healing from surgery or permanent

disabilities. My Dad liked to watch the comedies, while getting his chemo treatments.

Laughing made him feel so much better on those days he was nauseous.

 

The elderly in the nursing home I worked at for 4 1/2 years, liked to watch the shows

on TV Land, old reruns of “Lawrence Welk” and  “Bonanza,” along with their church

programming on Sunday mornings. The beauty of fireworks in our country and

celebrations around the world, brought big smiles to their faces. They enjoyed, as

I still do, the lovely creations in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

 

We get a sense of conscience from our ‘small screens.’  The night I watched, “Stand

Up 2 Cancer” impacted me, along with millions of other people watching. It moved

us to donate to some form of Cancer (Society) fund-raising, including Hospice Care,

research and local hospitals.

 

Remember “One Small Step for Mankind?” We now look forward to continued

space travel, inventions and research. When we hear of satellites making it to

Mars or other planets this gives us information that we may use in the future.

 

A quote about freedom from H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist

(1880-1956):

“We must be willing to pay a price for freedom,

for no price that is ever  asked for it,

is half the cost of doing without it.”

 

My soap box, put away for now. . .

 

 

 

What do you watch?

Have you heard about any new t.v. show compelling you

to ‘set your DVR’?

 

The 125th Annual Rose Parade

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It was so fun watching something that I had treasured while

a young child, with my two little granddaughters, the “M & M

girls.” First, I reminded them about their Mommy and Daddy

taking them to see the All Horse Parade and the Thanksgiving

parade where Santa Claus “closes the show!”

Then, I had to tell them this was in a far away state where

it is beautiful and sunny, California! They had heard of it,

even the 2 and 1/2 year old solemnly nodded in agreement when

Marley exclaimed, “That’s where they make movies!”

We ate Froot Loops cereal, which my spellcheck wants to correct

me and make it Fruit Loops cereal. We had berries with vanilla

yogurt for our protein and calcium. I drank a cup of a blend of

the two flavored coffees I received. My brother, Randy, had

given me Hazelnut Cream and my youngest daughter had given me

French Vanilla. The combination of those two flavors, by the way,

is scrumptious tasting, smells wonderful and very addictive!

The Grand Marshal of the Parade was someone who had broadcasted

years and years with the Dodgers. This will summarize but not

provide all the details, since many times there were exclamations

and questions, along with going to get the “baby dolls” to watch,

and other distracting things! We laughed at the float called,

“Let’s Be Neighbors,” where there was a big brown bear that kept

popping his head out of the trash can. I told them all the natural

wonders that were named to create the bear’s brown coat. One, you

will be amazed with also, is kidney beans were individually glued

on. Emphasizing the laborious task of doing this to create the bear,

the announcer said this detail slowly, “Imagine putting each kidney

bean on the form, one at a time!”

There was what I entitled, “The Honda Extravaganza!” I mentioned

that their uncle had worked at the Marysville, Ohio Honda plant.

This was not the float’s real name, by the way. They mentioned

there was only one powerful engine with one driver on board. It

looked like the best in the new age, high tech race cars category!

The teachers float was precious with their aunt’s favorite bird,

there were several beautiful, winking owls up in trees. The girls

started a cacophony of “hooting” and “who- who- who’s.” We have no

idea which city or state that came from, sorry!

There was a combined International float between Singapore and

joining Polynesians which called their group: the “Sing-Poli Group.”

It had imaginative winged horses and I loved connecting two cultures

with their ornate costumes or appropriate ‘dress’ of those places.

The girls enjoyed this, got a little quieter here. Marley told me,

they were a little like the animated cartoon they love so much,

“Ni Hao, Kai-lan.” This means “Hello, Kai-lan, who is an adorable,

little Chinese girl. They saw the traditional attire and thought this

was very exciting, too! The two sisters like “knowing something Nana

doesn’t!”

We had to take a break and grab three “Buckeye Candies” apiece their

Mommy had made for us to snack on. I had instinctively kept them from

them on New Year’s Eve. As it was, Kyah (or Makyah) was up until ten

o’clock and Marley crashed at 11:30 p.m. This allowed me to call my

Mom, get us both on the same channel, choosing the Ryan Secrest

show with the New Year’s Eve ball falling on New York Times Square.

We even said the countdown and pretended to ‘kiss’ or ‘air kiss’

across the miles, over cell phones.

(If you have not tried Buckeye candies, they are made of a combo

of peanut butter ball, coated in chocolate, leaving a small circle

of the tan showing on the top. The image is to represent the

buckeyes from our local trees. It is also our Ohio State University

team name and our state tree, too.) The girls had a small cup of

chocolate milk and I had a refill on coffee.

The next float that caught our eyes, was the Tournament of Roses Queen

and her “entourage” of six Princesses. They all had gorgeous red satin

gowns and held red roses in their arms. My Marley was jumping up and

down, oh no! the chocolate ‘hit her already?’ No! She would like to

be a princess and her little sister echoed that idea, too!

A Pup named Morgan was on a float which made me think of an old

Saturday morning cartoon, “Huckleberry Hound.” This was a really

cute float and they again mentioned the use of dark kidney beans

to produce the brown coat on the puppy.

Another lively, interesting float was entitled, “Adventures in

Space.” This had three really funny and adorable looking aliens

that were on the float in their little space ships. These would

disembark, go in a circle, then line up three air ships in a row,

only to ‘load up’ like a car carrier truck! It is amazing to see

how many colors, just using flowers and natural growing plants, go

into create these bright and cheerful foreign creatures.

The two ‘singing floats’ that we caught were both outstanding all

by themselves, then adding the famous voices, made them even more

wonderful. The announcers and I agree, that the years have been

‘kind’ to “K.C. and the Sunshine Band!” This funky music, coming

from the grandly decorated Mississippi River boat made with flowers

and lots of trailing ivy along the railings, made the girls get

up on the coffee table and dance. I let them do such silly things,

but tend to say, “Be careful not to fall off!” while I was dancing

to the songs, including, “Let’s Celebrate and Have a Good Time”

and “Get Down Tonight.” “Stellabrate” was the float’s creative

name and the wine company of Stella Rosa was its sponsor.

They took a moment to tell us that this annual parade on New

Year’s Day, 2014, had an estimated one million onlookers,

along the sidewalks on the path the parade takes. The television

audience for today was estimated to be forty million viewers.

E Harmony was the sponsor for Natalie Cole’s float, featuring her

amazing and beautiful voice. She sang the song, “Everlasting Love.”

On an intergalactic float, the novelty was a 1950’s style rocket

ship. The announcer surprised us by saying that there were a total

of 1.5 million bougainvillea blossoms featured on this one! They

were a brilliant fuschia color and made this float fantastic!

I thought of Samina, who writes posts about service men who put their

lives in the ‘line of duty.’ This includes a wide variety of policemen,

firemen, armed forces and community workers. The float was sponsored

by, K9s 4 Cops, Canines for Cops. The German Shepherd dog looked alive,

his coat very fuzzy and looking like real fur. The announcer intoned,

“These unheralded service dogs are being honored today” with this

float. You can find her blog at:

http://saminaiqbal.wordpress.com

I thought of several of our fellow bloggers who feature foods, especially

healthy choices. The Queen’s Trophy Award during the parade was given to

the “Miracle Gro” float, with a catch title of “Grow Something Green.”

It had a lovely, edible garden with many large vegetables made of the

very same ingredients, along with extra herbs and spices. These are a

few named, thyme, sage, sesame seeds, cabbage, red pepper seeds, some

dehydrated carrots made larger versions of carrots! The announcer said

you could actually eat almost anything on this float!

I am so happy that the parade is viewed by so many people, that this

family tradition is being passed down to my little granddaughters and

I hope to mention this next year, to the parents to try and get the

children up, sitting in front of the television while they get over

any extra celebrating they have done for New Year’s Eve. This may

keep the children occupied nicely, but sometimes parents or grandparents

may also need to vocalize their enthusiasm and actively participate.

Did you watch any of the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade? What caught

your attention or eye?