Category Archives: teen idols

Sit-Com Stars in Hallmark Movie

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On another post, we had just been talking about 1989, when a few

of our favorite funny situation comedies originated. I could not

believe my ‘luck’ when I turned on the Hallmark Channel to find a

movie with a catchy title, “The Christmas Con.” There is an ensemble

cast of six famous actors from more than six situation comedies.

They show their talent and  versatility in this meaningful Hallmark

movie.

 

I will sketch the plot in, along with giving you the ‘who’s who’ of t.v.

series actors. If you are a fan of television trivia games, you may be

able to ‘keep up with me,’ in this essay about performers who have

been around television for years: one since 1982. Although the title

isn’t very pretty nor the story as simple as some Hallmark Christmas

movies are, it tells a meaningful story of hope and forgiveness.

 

There is a collection of outstanding, amusing actors who played

character parts in this story of ‘redemption.’ The movie has two

characters, an ex-convict who needs to change his way of dealing

with people, passing through his life ‘taking’ and never ‘giving.’ The

second character must face his addiction, he has to fall flat on his

face, embarrass himself, go to jail and then, find his way home.

 

The actor who plays the character of an alcoholic man, came from a

caring family, dramatic show, “Party of Five.”  My two daughters loved

the whole cast of this show. They would know this man who later left

this show to play an irascible red-headed doctor.  Although, you may

or may not,  have known the popular teenaged-cast of “Party of Five,”

he was, “Will Mc Corkle.” Then you may have seen him as the red haired

“pain in the butt” doctor from the serious show, “E.R.”  This character

was the head of the “E.R.” as, Dr. Archie Morris. “Archie” was disliked by

most everyone, (nurses and the E.R. hospital staff) which showed quite

a range of talent in this role played by Scott Grimes. It was nice to have

known him as a likable man in the first show, then respect his portrayal

of a ‘by the books’ doctor who sometimes went ‘head to head’ with John

Stamos, who played another type of character on “E.R.” Scott Grimes

went from “E.R.” to act in a few television movies, along with another

series, “Band of Brothers.”

Interestingly enough, Scott Richard Grimes made a ‘soft rock and roll’

album, (also described as  ‘popular rock’) called, “Sunset Boulevard.” He

wrote all of the songs and sang them, too. I have not checked this out

but it was favorably reviewed, in its genre.

 

Then there was the character of the  endearing ex-convict with a ‘heart

of gold,’ who plays Santa Claus, making a promise he nearly is unable to

keep for the son of the red-headed man. Scott Grime’s plays a father/

ex-husband who is unfortunately battling alcoholism. His son asks Santa

Claus to bring his mother and father back together again for Christmas.

 

Santa promises to bring this estranged father back ‘into the fold,’ becoming

part of the trio the boy considers his ‘family.’ The ex-con is played by Barry

Watson, who both my daughters had major ‘crushes’ on, while he was the

oldest son in a family of seven members being raised by a minister, known

as, “Seventh Heaven.” Barry Watson left “Seventh Heaven,” to battle in his

own personal ‘real life drama,’ Hodgkins Disease. My family, son included,

had Barry in our prayers for a few years. His attractive long-haired look in

the family show changed to a gaunt, bald look when he was interviewed

during this period of time. The producers allowed him to ‘spread his wings,’

by being behind the camera, in his writing plots and helping set up scenes.

 

There is a memorable scene, in The Christmas Con,” which paints a fairly

accurate picture of an A.A. meeting, where Scott Grimes’ meets Santa Claus,

out of costume. I feel capable of analyzing this subject, due to my own personal

experience of being married to an alcoholic, having attended one year of A.A.,

two years of Alanon, and taking my three children to Children of Alcoholics

meetings.

 

The man who is Santa/Barry’s best friend is played by, Jaleel White, who

portrayed the dorky, inept character named, “Steve Urkel,” in “Family

Matters.” His character has mended his ways of conniving and trying to

trick others, while also being a good and supportive friend to Barry’s

character. He gets to also romance Barry’s ‘sister,’ in the movie, using his

charming demeanor. He looks ‘nothing’ like Steve Urkel, has grown into

a handsome man.

 

John Ratzenberger’s in the cast of this Hallmark movie, playing a Grandpa,

and you know where he came from?  “Cheers,” where he was “Cliff Clavin,”

the mailman, the one who sometimes kept the bar stool warm for hours.

He was the stocky man’s (“Norm’s”) best friend, “where everyone knew

their names.” This series lasted from 1982 -1993. No wonder we felt these

actors were part of our family! John R. went on to make a few different

television movies, played guest character roles on shows and my ‘grandies’

love him in such familiar children’s animated films as the “Toy Story” series,

“Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars,” where he plays (‘voices’) a rusted-out truck.

 

Another familiar character, where you may wonder, “Where have I seen

this attractive black woman before?” She has a unique character part,

as a female preacher in a church.  By the end of the story, you realize this

does not exist. It is a boarded up church, having been condemned. The

recognizable woman, who you don’t immediately ‘place’ or figure out

where she came from, is  talk show hostess, Wendy Williams. She ends

up being a fantastic singer, when she is caroling with church folks in a

neighborhood. I felt she was the Guardian Angel for Barry’s ex-convict

character.

 

The last famous displaced series player, is the actress, Melissa Joan Hart.

You got to know her as a teenaged witch in “Sabrina the Teen Age Witch,”

if you had children in the 90’s. (This ran seven years, 1996-2003.) Along

with Melissa’s more current role on  the show, “Melissa and Joey.” In the

Family Channel show, she is a town councilwoman and Joey (Lawrence)

is playing her ‘stay at home’ Nanny/Housekeeper. Can you believe Joey

was on The Johnny Carson Show, singing at age 5 years old? He is NOT

in this Hallmark movie, but was in one with Melissa Joan Hart, a few

Christmases ago.

(Yes, the plot for “Melissa and Joey,” resembles the one of “Who’s the

Boss?”)

 

Melissa’s character believes in her brother, the man who has just been

released from prison. You don’t feel he was a dangerous criminal and

are sympathetic to his character. (He had been a ‘grifter’ or ‘con artist,’

hence the name of the movie…)

Melissa and Barry make a believably good sister and brother team.

Melissa Joan Hart debuted as the director of this movie, which is a

new position for her to be in.

 

When Jameel’s character meets Melissa, he shows his debonair side,

which eventually they become close and they make a ‘cute couple.’

Their characters go about playing the ‘normal’ fantasy of carrying out

Christmas routines, as they decorate Melissa’s house, listen to Santa/

Barry’s quandary. Both Jaleel’s buddy character and Melissa’s sister

character cheer for the miracle of fixing the nearly irreparable marriage

and family together again.

 

Yes, I told you part of the ending.

The journey makes it worth watching.

The cast of recognizable people who have become part of our ongoing

landscape of television. Those people who come into our living room,

visit and stay awhile. They become more familiar than big screen

actors.

There are a few ‘surprises’ and twisting turns leading you to the

expected and satisfying ending. I didn’t tell you anything you didn’t

know since almost all of these movies come out ‘safe and sound.’

 

Hopefully, instead you will want to watch this more. Since it is the

way they handle the simplistic story, how they fulfill their duties as

characters which will help you admire Scott Grimes, Jaleel White,

Barry Watson, Melissa Joan Hart, John Ratzenberger and Wendy

Williams. In my mind, this is an ‘All Star Cast’ of television experts.

 

This is a treat to see, savor and remember. It shows me Christmas is

a time for all possibilities imaginable to come true.

 

Cleveland Musician Returns

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I would have liked my early Christmas gift to have been to go this

Thursday,  December 4, to see the J. Geils Band play with Bob

Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I had seen J. Geils at the Agora

in Cleveland with my good friend who had “rockers” for parents,

way back when. The ‘front man,’ Peter Wolf, has a new album

coming out in 2015. Let me be one of the first to let you know

this incredible news.

If Peter Wolf had had his way, he would also have included the late

great Bobby Womack on it, since he also is a former Clevelander.

You may or may not have known Bobby Womack passed away last

June, aged 70 years old. A fantastic singer and also a great one to

join and collaborate with others.

This will be the return of Wolf’s music, after a five year hiatus from

creating. But Peter Wolf never stopped performing. His schedule is

quite busy. His last album, “Midnight Souvenirs” is worth another

“listen,” since his habit of asking other artists to join him included

Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynne and Neko Case. What an outstanding

group and I need to listen to the 2010 album more.

Peter Wolf had not been back to Cleveland since 2005, when he

had performed a tribute to Sam Cooke. That particular night and

memory was shared with Chuck Yarborough of the Cleveland Plain

Dealer. There were Solomon Burke, Elvis Costello and all of Sam

Cooke’s brothers singing with Aretha Franklin. The infamous song

rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come” was their group-shared

performance. “The Blind Boys of Alabama” were part of this great

soulful evening, too. I wonder if this is filmed in its entirety and if

can be found on Youtube?

Peter Wolf mentioned his enjoying meeting the Cleveland famous

newscaster and journalist, Jane Scott. He said she was ‘dear to

their hearts.’ (Some may have read a post where I mentioned that

Michael Heaton, Patricia of “The Middle” fame’s brother went to

school with me. He is working on a documentary of all those many

rock and roll musicians who remember Jane Scott.)

Wolf also mentioned another performance stage location in Richfield,

which is called the “Coliseum.”

Pete Wolf’s small little comment,

Cleveland “means so much more than that Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame.”

Peter is eluding to the fact that J. Geils Band has not made it into

the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (yet.)

Since 1967, with memorable hits such as “Centerfold” and “Freeze

Frame,” along with the slightly silly song, “Love Stinks,” the Band

certainly should someday be handed this reward. Their longevity

alone, in its variations along the way, should give Peter Wolf his

earned recognition with the entire past ‘cast’ of the Band. His solo

career is a fine collection of musical albums, too.

 

It made me smile a bit, when Peter Wolf’s recent Plain Dealer

interview made it seem like Bob Seger and the Silver Bullets

Band are young ‘whippersnappers,’ compared to the longer

running band, J. Geils Band. Bob Seger’s group is part of the

2004 inductees of the R and R Hall of Fame.

An interesting memory of a past major concert that played in

Detroit really made Peter Wolf’s point of age and time being

fickle to those who deserve recognition:

 

“The first time we played Detroit, it was the J. Geils Band,

MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges and Mitch Ryder and the

Detroit Wheels.”

 

Guess who was the opening act?

Bob Seger.

 

(The reversed roles doesn’t bother Peter Wolf, ever gracious to his

fans and Cleveland.)

 

Peter Wolf’s band will be the lead-in  or ‘warm up band’ on Thursday.

Both bands are in my list of favorites of all time, so wish I could

travel North on this day, but really I don’t want to use a vacation

day on Friday.

And if I danced all night, I definitely would need the day to

recuperate.

Do you remember the J.Geils Band and did you ever go to see them

live? Would you prefer Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band over

J. Geils?

Is there a group who you follow and enjoy listening to, who has not

made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Connections: the past with the future

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When I heard that there were two days in a row, celebrating subjects of interest

to me, I was determined to make a ‘big stretch’ and connect the dots. The first day

is based on an animated cartoon t.v. series about the future. It was shown awhile

back, where some of the inventions and special effects have come true. The second

day is one celebrating how we separate our words, making our sentences flow by

using special symbols to separate the words. I think this form of language is swiftly

diminishing, since so many people text, rather than email. While computer emails

have replaced fashioned letters. I am hard pressed to figure out how the celebration

of the first Jetson’s animated cartoon series and the subject of punctuation go together.

 

Traveling into the future with the Jetsons. . .

 

Happy September 23rd: Celebrating the Jetsons!

 

Today, September 23, 2014 is the 52nd Anniversary of the original premiere of the

futuristic, science fictionalized cartoon with child Elroy,  dog Astro, the maid Rosie,

the teen-aged girl named Judy being raised by their parents, Jane and George Jetson.

Here are some interesting facts I found out about this cartoon television series. Did

you know the first two years of “The Jetsons” were shown during “prime time t.v.?”

During 1962 and 1963, this was shown after dinner, after the news during that coveted

time slot of “prime time.” The number of shows totaled 75 episodes and three full-length

feature films. While my children were babies, during the years of 1985-1987, additional

Jetsons cartoons were produced. They are syndicated and repeated over many years after

their original showings.

 

The cartoon series was based loosely on the family in the comic strip, “Blondie.” The father

is drawn tall, lanky and has a tyrant of a boss, named “Mr. Spacely.” Of course Dagwood

Bumstead had a cranky, short-tempered boss, too. I had not put these two together, so

there is another ‘connection,’ that will form a new impulse from one brain wave to another.

(Or one synapse to another!) The setting for the creative cartoon is an imaginary time in

the future, when there would be space vehicles from home to work, transportation, when

there woud be pollution, so there would be little outdoor activities, along with moving

sidewalks (glad we know we have those, at least) and robotic maids. (We have some

versions of automation that could resemble the work provided by Rosie.)

 

The Jetsons family lives in a place called, Skypad Apartments. Their city is called, “Orbit

City.” George’s workplace is called “Spacely’s Space Sprockets.” The apartment building

was designed to remind you of the Seattle Space Needle. There are vague references to

how one gets in and out of the atmosphere, which is supposed to have air pollution.

The people wear space helmets while transporting around the city and various other

buildings. You probably may remember George’s space vehicle turning into a brief-

case.

 

In promotional information provided for the setting and relationships in the scripts,

the ages and some of the individual interests and details are given. This is something I

was not aware of, since I don’t think we knew their ages. The plots of the shows may

have revealed many of this, but my mind was intrigued with the idea of an actual

script and characteristics given for each character.

 

By the way, “T.V. Guide’s list of the 25 Greatest Science-Fiction Legends” considers

“The Jetsons” to be one of those famous influences and includes them in the top 25.

 

George is 40 years old, while going to work he wears a suit and tie, similar to some of

our fathers representing the period that the series was shown on television. Occasionally

at home, the family wears leisure suits that resemble jogging suits with some interesting

shoulder pads.

Jane’s outfits always seem very ‘hip’ with some points on her cuffs and shoulder pads.

Jane is given the age of 33 years old. She portrays an active homemaker participating in

clubs such as the Galaxy Women’s Historical Society.  Jane’s details include liking and

enjoying artwork. Her favorite artists are “Leonardo de Venus” and “Picasso Pia.”  Judy

is a ‘typical’ depiction of a teenager of 15 years old. She attends Orbit High School,  likes

to shop, likes talking about clothes and is often on her telephone. There is a cool futuristic

‘digital’ diary she has; which reminds me of today’s cell phones and computers. Elroy

attends Little Dipper School. He is 6 1/2 years old and is studying some serious subjects.

He studies Space History, Astrophysics and Star Geometry. He enjoys playing with his dog,

Astro, who talks without his “r” sound.

Later during the 80’s additional series, there was an interesting creation of an alien, who

is named, “Orbitty.” Elroy’s playmate has spring-like legs since there were some robotics

involved in this guy who changes colors with his moods.

 

 

 

Moving on, possibly the way the world revolves. . .

to September 24, 2014.

 

Traveling into the distant past. . .

when punctuation was important to use. . .

 

This is the Tenth Anniversary of one of my personal favorite subjects:

Happy National Punctuation Day!

 

There is a man who was concerned about our nation’s ability to spell,

use proper grammar and punctuation. His name is Jeff Rubin. He has

had for some time, wanted people to let him know when they hear of

punctuation errors in their every day lives. He also wishes that the various

spokemen and women, along with newscasters, would be more aware of

their correct usage of these.

On 9/24/04, the first annual National Punctuation Day came about!

There is still an ongoing debate whether or not, Punctuation and even,

Spelling are current and relevant. Currently, with texting, few uses of

full sentences and other forms of communication, using ‘short-cuts,’

slang and abbreviations it may seem to be a ‘lost art.’ One that parents

and teachers alike, may just give up on!

 

But definitely not on September 24th!

 

Teachers usually like to be ‘sticklers’ for these since they were made to,

while young and in school. In college, there was a debate about the

Spelling book, whether lists to be memorized were worth the time and

sometimes crying children, who were just not born spellers. There are

a few natural spellers, a few natural history or social studies ‘geniuses,’

along with those who can understand all levels of mathematics, including

algebra and trigonometry. In each classroom, the strengths and weaknesses

are easily determined by testing, but sometimes figuring this out, may create

biases. We need to make all subjects of learning interesting and bring the

‘fascination’ back into each subject. Games can be played, along with other

means of making learning ‘hands on’ and more ‘experiential.’

 

One suggestion in Rubin’s request in how you may celebrate punctuation

is to get an old-fashioned newspaper and circle the punctuation forms, by

children. They may like taking a red crayon and circling all the commas, periods,

exclamation marks, colons and semi-colons. Adults may be excited to circle the

misspellings and the mistakes made in usage of punctuation.

 

I have seen misspellings in the schools listed on snow days and the political polls’

results shown below the television shows. I have heard poor grammar on t.v.

shows. It upsets me most when the newscasters use either poor grammar or

show a lack of understanding what they are reading on their teleprompter.

Mispronunciations occur across all levels of education, due to possibly lack

of using the dictionary and reading the way the words are supposed to be

pronounced.

 

The Huffington Post had a great article to celebrate this holiday last year,

9/24/13. It was called, “6 Common Punctuation Mistakes that Drive Us

Crazy.”

Here they are with no details given here, I see that I am over my 1000

words again… This article had me laughing out loud, they composed a

funny article and you must try to look it up:

“1. The misused apostrophe.

2. The ubiquitous exclamation marks.

3. The crazy comma.

4. The misplaced semi-colon.

5. The quotation marks.

6. The blurring of ‘text talk’ with real writing.”

 

 

Okay, not going into how, but  I am guilty of #s 2, 3 and 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revolutionary Music Found in Movie

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While thoroughly laughing at some of the outrageous comedic complications

to be found in the British movie, “Pirate Radio,” I wondered why this movie,

was ‘panned’ and didn’t make it. Originally released as, “The Boat that Rocked,”

it was a fictitious story about the BBC being rather rigid in the choices of music,

they promoted and allowed on their channel. The ones who were ‘forced’ into

the ships floating in the Sound, have the music British teenagers really wanted

to hear! There are scenes where nurses and doctors are listening in, on their

‘night shifts,’ along with parents who had strictly forbidden their youth to listen

to this ‘trash’ and other derogatory labels given to ‘rock and roll.’

Kenneth Brannaugh portrays a very strict BBC broadcasting boss, who is trying

to use his authority to promote censorship over the ‘air waves.’ While the crazy

characters on board the ship, are sending radio ‘shock waves’ of rock and roll

music out into the English atmosphere. They  look like they are having a ball!

The gorgeous January Jones, is in a short part of the movie, as the “Duchess,”

while the main character is Tom Sturgess’ young teen, sent off to his godfather’s

domain, as a so-called “punishment” for being too wild in school.

After the movie, my Mom told my brother and I that she never could get why

parents were so upset over the lyrics, rhythm and movement that washed

over the musical industry during the period that this movie takes place in.

She mentioned the literary period where there was revolutionary thoughts,

along with the 50’s less serious musical and expressionary embodiment of

the “Beatniks.” She summed this up, coherently in this thought:

“Every generation has its rebels, who think they are totally original. While

their deterrents are ones who feel that their oppositional views will create

revolution.”

I have to remind you of why Mom is so open-minded, just in case you are

a ‘new’ reader or visitor to my blog. My Mom taught 30 years of high school.

She found the students that were repressed by authoritarian parents were

the first ones that showed rebellion, like the age old views on “P.K.’s” or

Preacher’s Kids.

My brother, Randy, while discussing the soundtrack, somehow got on to

the subject of how there are main stream artists, bands and singing groups

that go beyond their ‘comfort zones.’

His examples were eclectic and unexpected. An example of a vegetable song,

which may not have been drug-induced but sounds like it was:

“Smiley Smile,” by the Beach Boys! It is part of that same driving and catchy

album, “Good Vibrations” is on. I had never heard it! Loved it, due to its quite

unique sound.

Using synthesizers, combined with real instruments led us to YouTube, to

also pursue a group with a “genius,” in Randy’s mind and ‘ears.’ Have you ever

listened to the group, Craftwork? Gary Anderson’s “Heroes and Villains,” is

plain awesome!

The intriguing movie, that inspired a musical conversation about the “Beatniks”

by my Mom and my brother, Randy’s random musings, has great performances

from some ‘quirky’ actors, including the late, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and one

of my favorites, (from “Love Actually” and other British films) Bill Nighy. The

screenwriter is the one who came up with, “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

If you haven’t time to watch the movie, please check out the soundtrack. Lots of

popular songs can be found here, along with the sixties and seventies connection.

I enjoyed the way England received the harder styled rock and roll, showing

young people gathered in front of televisions there on the “Other side of the

Pond,” teen-aged girls shrieking and teen boys, hiding below their blankets,

trying to listen to the ‘pirated’ songs played on a boat.

A true page out of history that is enjoyable from beginning to the end! You may

need to include a brew, ale or wine to get in the humorous proper frame of mind.

If you are not a drinker, be prepared for absolute silliness, some rather risqué

scenes, included.

You may enjoy actual footage of DJ Robbie Dale, who was aboard the “Mi Amigo”

boat, captured by the film makers, Mike Hodges and Paddy Searle.

I cannot imagine a time when the Hollies and the Rolling Stones, among others

were considered so inflammatory and controversial!

Who would have imagined these ‘renegades’ would most of them have been

‘knighted’ by the Queen?!

 

Do you know a band who sang something you normally would not hear them sing?

They may have ‘stretched’ to encompass a different musical genre and out of their

“comfort zone?”

Were there any songs(or groups) your parents ‘forbade’ you to listen to?

 

Famous T. V. Dads

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Famous television fathers were quite conventional, sometimes filling

current stereotypes, but they usually seemed above normal in their

tolerance and patience. We were talking at Friday’s midpoint mark, in

the breakroom about how we may have formed misconceptions about

the way dads should act from watching these early family shows. After

all, most of us did not have traditional fathers, who would go to work in

suits and ties, come in cheerful, pull out a newspaper and quietly unwind.

I am sure my father wished he could have been ‘so lucky!’

My family consisted of two bread-winners and the three of us children,

were often in the winter months the last ones picked up at our baby-

sitter’s house. I remember looking out of Mrs. Boos’ picture window

into the darkness, wondering which day it was that Mom was doing her

oracle debates, drama or Spanish club meetings? I would sigh with an

almost exasperated ‘whoosh!’ when I finally saw her station wagon’s

headlights in the driveway. Mrs. Boos had two sons who played with my

brothers, occasionally I would join in or get a chance to sit on Diana’s

bed, her teenaged daughter and look at pictures of the Beatles or the

Dave Clark Five, or sometimes there would be magazines full of fashion

and hairstyles. My Mom was pleased when Diana went to Kent State

University and invited me to spend “Siblings Weekend,” as Diana’s baby

‘sister,’ Robin.

When we got home, my Dad, usually, would be home shortly, pulling off

his tie, after he took off his jacket, asking what he needed to do to ‘pitch

in.’ Spoiled me, made me think all fathers were like this. Today, Saturday,

June 14th, 2014, they had on the CBS Morning Show, a segment on the

percentage of fathers in the fifties, sixties and seventies that helped out

in child-rearing responsibilities. Sadly, they still said in the more recent

years the percentage of household responsibilities, even with working

moms being in the majority, it is still not a 50/50 deal.

Anyway, Melvin’s Mom and Dad were more like my parents, sharing the

chores and also, enjoying family times together. He admitted most of

his African American friends had either a limited amount of fatherly

involvement or none.

Tammy said that her mother had stayed home, whenever she would ask

for help inside the house, her father was quick to remind her, “You don’t

work.” She was dismayed at this behavior, remembering, even as a young

girl in her imagination, “I won’t stand for this in my adult life!” (Tammy

and Mike have been friends since childhood, “fence post buddies,” but have

never tied the knot.) She certainly is open that she doesn’t even have a

joint account with Mike, they just split the bills and love each other. She

is an independent woman, almost the ‘polar opposite’ from the parents

she dearly loves.

Trevinal said his parents are more together now, but in his childhood his

father sounded like my first husband, wished for dinner on the table,

kids cleaned up and early to bed, and lots of time watching his favorite

sports shows on television. There is a whole different love that he and his

wife share, more understanding and encouragement. He is so ‘blessed,’

he says to have someone who believed in his ability to think. The family

cannot believe that he is in Nursing School, working fulltime to pay his

bills and rising far above the expectations of Special Education. He feels

that by meeting the ‘right’ woman to share his life is a ‘daily blessing.’

His being in his thirties, reminds me of my own son, and I also remind

him of my belief in his ability to be a good father, when the time comes.

Here are the above persons’ and other coworkers, along with family

members who have cited some excellent, funny and different television

situational comedies for “Best Examples of Television Fathers:”

1.  My favorite father of all time, is from the show, “My Three Sons.” This

show allowed a non-traditional father, in amongst the ‘drones’ that I

found on other television shows. The combined household of widower,

played by Fred McMurray, his brother, who was the boys’ Uncle Charlie,

and the three rowdy boys always made me admire the patience, fortitude

and compassion showing what I considered “true family values.”

 

That is not to say, I didn’t laugh at the antics of Dick Van Dyke, Danny Thomas,

John Forsythe  (“Bachelor Father”) or Brian Keith (“Family Affair.”) I also liked

“The Ozzie and Harriet Show,” an almost first time reality show, since the family

was played by actual family members. I liked the sense of humor and the handsome

boys in this one! (Diana, my babysitter’s daughter, also had a few articles in her

teen magazines which featured the Nelson boys, especially the “cute” Ricky!

 

2.  Hugh Beaumont, who played the Dad on “Leave It to Beaver,” was the one

that my coworker, Mark, listed as his favorite. The different ways that influenced

his choice was first he liked that Beaver’s mother wore an apron, like his mother

did, daily. Also, that the father character hardly ever yelled, even under stressful

times.

3.  Tammy said the whole family in her household liked, “The Danny Thomas

Show.” I still like that Marlo Thomas was an independent woman, not hurrying

into marriage until she fell in love, in real life, with the talk show host, Phil

Donahue. I also personally enjoyed the fact she is a columnist in my “AARP

Magazine.” Tammy said she liked Danny Thomas, since he presented a few

shows, mentioning different cultures. I would have to check this out, but do

support and believe in St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Marlo has said that she

got her Dad’s slightly sarcastic sense of humor, which carries her through

tough times.

4.  Trevinal still remembers almost every show that “Family Matters” had

on television. He has found this to calm him, looking at Urkel’s silly dress

code, high water pants and his often expressed question, “Did I do that?”

The sense of humor and the family were something he admired and felt

that Urkel’s character was one that gave him confidence when he made

mistakes, throughout many of his years,  in life.

Trevinal’s words are very powerful, expressing this to me:

“Whenever Urkel goofed up, people would roll their eyes, sometimes

bellow at him, but always forgive him. That is how I wish to be when I

am a father.”

Reginald VelJohnson, who played the father in “Family Matters,” is

in one of my youngest daughter’s favorite shows, “Hart of Dixie.”

(Rachel Bilson and Tim Matheson play doctors on that country

setting show.)

Trevinal also noted that Urkel was a neighbor,  the family next door’s kid,

but he became part of the family and included, whether wanted there or not,

anyway.

5.  Keith told me, laughing, while lifting a box in the aerosol room, in what we

call the “Bomb Shelter,” that his favorite father character was Archie Bunker.

That show was called, “All in the Family,” where all sorts of issues popped up,

Archie sticking his neck out, saying all kinds of bigoted or prejudiced comments,

but usually backing down on them. Meeting people of all ethnicities, while they

were in an urban setting, with his wife being accepting, his daughter also very

open minded and often, Rob Reiner, playing “Meathead,” took the brunt of

Archie’s anger. I asked why he thought of this character? He told me, a little

bit sheepishly, that his own father was ‘backwards’ and ‘ignorant’ like Archie

had been. This made him become aware that there were other perspectives

on people. I appreciated Keith’s candor. He also added his parents were from

Kentucky! He added this with a laugh, like that explained everything!

He also said he respected the actor, Carroll O’Connor,  who had gone on to

play a cop, with a black partner, in the show, “The Heat of the Night.”

6.  My son, James, joked that he liked Homer Simpson, for the same reason

that Keith liked Archie Bunker. He said they were the ‘opposite of everything

he hoped for in a father.’ He also said that making mistakes for Homer, making

poor judgments, did make him feel more comfortable in his own parenting

skills.

7.  My oldest daughter said she liked Patrick Duffy, in the show, “Step by Step.”

She had a crush on him, from early days of watching, “Dallas,” and also had

a young ‘crush’ on Cody, the cousin who lives in a van in the driveway on this

sit-com. I liked it because Suzanne Somers was a hairdresser, average single

mother, who found a man with children to marry. I think the idea of stepkids,

appealed to me, also in ‘The Brady Bunch.”

When I mentioned my oldest daughter’s opinion, the men still were ‘hooting’

and ‘hollering,’ in a playful manner. They said she ‘made’ the show, “Three’s

Company,” and still looks great to this day.

8.  No one named, “Father Knows Best,” but all cited this as their 2nd and 3rd

choice of Best Television Father.

9. Charlene, whose young son, Ian, was in on my ‘Opinion Poll’ on Thursday,

had said she loved, “Wonder Years.” Since the mother character is on our

favorite soap opera, (Allie Mills), she remembered to point out she is good in

“The Bold and the Beautiful.” She also mentioned that the Dad on “Wonder

Years,” had to tackle difficult teen subject matter, since the boys grow up on

that show, from junior high through high school. I have to check out the dates,

be back to tell you the years: 1988 until 1993. The father’s character was

played by Dan Lauria. The couple who ended up taking the show into the

more mature theme included Danica McKellar and Fred Savage as “Winnie

Cooper,” and the kid next door, “Kevin Arnold.” In the Arnold family, the

mother stays home while the father worked. An interesting fact that I found

out was, Danica’s sister could have won the part of “Winnie,” the directors

say it was a ‘toss up’ between Danica and Crystal McKellar.

10. My mother loved the shows with Bill Bixby, including his role in “My

Favorite Martian” and “The Hulk.” But when I would come home from

junior high and high school, I would have the lights off, my Mom sitting

on one end of the sofa with her feet up on an ottoman, watching, “The

Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” When I overheard that song on the radio

and recently, on a commercial, I would almost “tear up.” Mom was much

more tired when I was that age, she would not volunteer to be coaches,

helpers or club counselors at Westlake High School. She would be the

chaperone, with my Dad by her side, for dances. That was as much energy

as she could ‘wrangle up,’ in her forties. I love Harry Nilsson’s song, the

memory of her sometimes lightly snoring, until the song would play

and she would sit up, watch and share those moments. My one brother

would be in track, (Spring), water boy in basketball, (Winter) or in

Cross Country, (Fall). This was ‘our time.’ The song began with these

words: “Let me tell you about my best friend,…” (The song includes

the father saying, “My pride and joy.”)

By the way, the jingles or songs for television would make an excellent

memorable post. When we were noticing the songs, we all agreed that

the piano playing and the off-key singing by Edith Bunker, played by

Jean Stapleton, was iconic: “Those Were the Days.”

That “Wonder Years” song, “I Get By With a Little Help From MyFriends,”

is legendary. We were nostalgic, reminiscent of family shows when there

weren’t as many choices on television and everyone’s family gathered together

to watch the shows. Even the commercials were memorable.

10.  The last contributor to this post on television fathers was my youngest

daughter’s suggestion of “Little House on the Prairie.” She enjoyed the setting

out West, through tough times, settling and learning how to live as a family

in a different time period had intrigued her.

She grew up watching this in reruns on Nickelodeon. This television

dramatic series ran from 1974 until 1983. (She was born in 1985.)

She reminded me that she read most of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books,

after I introduced them to her. She felt Michael Landon portrayed a

very charismatic and dynamic father. I am happy that she remembered

him in this role. (His personal life, somewhat like the much admired

Bing Crosby; left much to be desired. I feel the same about Eric Clapton,

Robin Williams and Bill Cosby. Troubled, but still admired for their

personal talents and  the ‘body of their works.’)

What was your favorite television father?

The Opposite of Fix is to Break

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As a counterpoint essay on a subject opposite of the “fix” post, I thought that it

would be fun to use the word, “broke” and all of its variations. This will follow the

pattern that I used last time, analysis, wordplay and include a popular song, which

has an unusual use of ‘broke’ within its lyrics. Like last time, I would like you to

help me to determine if this detracts from the friendly, caring tone it is trying to

set. I feel the One Direction’s song, “The Story of My Life,” is quite lively and goes

at such a quick pace, that you may not have noticed the words I heard the other

day.

If you watched, “American Idol,” 2014, you may have caught Alex Preston

singing this song. I am not sure, since they edit the song to fit a timed format,

if it included the phrase that concerns me. I will show the passages before this

and let you know by using *s to indicate the phrase which include the word,

“broke inside.”

“The Story of My Life”

The story of my life,

I take her home

I drive all night to keep her warm

And time is frozen

(the story, the story)

The story of my life,

I give her hope

*I spend her love

until she’s broke inside.”*

I found myself pondering this long and hard. It seems that the author loves

and cares for the woman, but then that just feels like hurtful words to say

in amongst the love messages. It seems rather ‘cold’ instead of depicting

‘warm’ feelings.

What do you think? Let me know…

The words, “break, broke, break-up and broken” all have a variety of

definitions. Most have emotions and feelings attached. I allowed myself

to add “Heartbreak” to this post, while listing positive and negative

meanings.  I had several positive reactions to the “fix” post, so hope

you will like some of the brain-storming that my coworkers did between

the first post and this one.

POSITIVE uses of the variations of “Break, etc.”

We all enjoy ‘breaks!’

From school- Summer Vacation!

From work- Vacation!

During school-

Recess,

Gym,

Music,

Art

and

Lunch.

At work in an office- The Water Cooler.

Almost all jobs have Vending Machines for snacks.

Lunch,

Break-time

and

Daily stretches.

Some of us wished we lived where “Siestas” were a daily afternoon event!

Breaking bad habits (always a positive)

Break from Ordinary Routines = Extraordinary Experiences.

Making a “clean break” is good from a bad relationship.

When two people are having some rough patches, they may wish to “take a break.”

When two people are in a committed relationship and are raising children, they

may wish to have a “break” which is otherwise known as, “Date Night!”

A “break” during a long movie or play is called “Intermission.”

When you are putting all your money into the Pot, in a game, you may say these

words, “I’m going for Broke!”

“Breaking barriers” is a good way to allow communication and relationships

between cultures, countries or other situations to grow and develop.

“Breaking Bad” was a good and entertaining television show.

“Breaking the Ice” is also good, to allow people to have more fun. One game

that was an “ice breaker,” in the old days, while a teenager, was “Spin the

Bottle.” One my parents ‘approved of,’ was “Twister!”

NEGATIVE uses of the word, “Break, etc.”

Being “broke” (when not playing a game of Monopoly) is a bad thing.

Being ’emotionally broke’ may mean you are empty inside or possibly

unemotional.

“The Break Up” was the title of a not so funny movie with Jennifer Anniston

and Vince Vaughn. (Maybe it was just me!)

Melvin mentioned that one of his favorite Clint Eastwood ‘war themed movies,’

was “Heartbreak Ridge.”

Broken hearts are so sad.

Broken engagements may leave one of the two parties involved, happier. One

much sadder.

Broken objects.

Cars broke down or breaking down.

Broken bones do hurt.

(Sticks and stones may break your bones,

And words DO hurt you, too!)

Marriage Break Up’s:

1. Accidental-

Unplanned, fall out of love, curiosity or boredom

may lead to an affair. Lack of interest with partner.

Situational and sometimes out of anger or a rash

reaction.

2. Intentional-

Separation. One or both parties chooses to leave.

Counseling ‘didn’t work.’ Too many problems, wide

disparity in personalities.

3. Emotional-

Grow apart. Reaching a breaking point. Some habits

that are not mutual, possibly addictions. The statistics

for two people, raising a child with disabilities, chances

of divorce goes from the “norm” of 50% up to 75%.

Stress and depression can be part of this ‘break up.’

When you ‘tame a horse,’ you have to ‘break’ them of

their freedom. I put this under negatives, but can see

it going either way. Depends on the perspective, the

horse or the owner.

I loved the way my coworkers helped me to compile a

list of songs with ‘heart break’ as its core. If you wish to

add some more, please do so in the comments section.

1.  “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart?”

This song was released in 1971, by the Bee Gees. Robin

and Barry Gibb mainly are the ones who wrote the lyrics.

2.  “Heartbreak Hotel”

This song was released on January 27, 1956 by Elvis Presley.

3.  “Heartbreak Hotel”

This song, totally different from Elvis’ in its lyrics and melody,

was released in 1998 by Whitney Houston.

4.  “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

Sung by Bonnie Raitt, more recently by Adele. Written in 1991.

4.  “Heartbreaker”

This was an exciting title for many famous songs!

a. Led Zeppelin, in 1969, English rock band.

b. Pat Benatar in 1979, totally different song.

c. Dionne Warwick in 1982, another song.

d. Mariah Carey in 1999, another song.

e. Justin Bieber in 2013, his own song.

Lastly, when googling this subject, I had no idea it would include

such a diverse group of performers singing the one I knew best,

Pat Benatar’s, which also was sung by Jena Irene, on “American

Idol,” 2014. We cannot go too far on this, it would generate a

whole other post!

5.  “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”

a. First title song, one I did not remember was Dionne Warwick’s

singing this in 1976. This was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

The one that I saw performed in Cincinnati at what was then called,

Riverside Stadium was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It

was with two ‘youngsters’ born in the same year of 1947:

Elton John and Kiki Dee.

6.  “Cecilia”

Sung by Simon and Garfunkel. This song was on their album in 1970.

An ‘oldie but goodie!’

The first line in the song goes like this, “Cecilia, you’re breaking

my heart. You’re breaking my confidence daily….”

(Notice two uses of the word, ‘breaking.’)

The part where the man gets up to use the bathroom and comes

back to bed, to find someone else taking his place; made us all laugh

hysterically, thinking that we had gotten away with listening to this

rather wild, risqué song! (And our parents had all liked S & G!)

7. “Achy Breaky Heart”

First sung in 1991, by the Marcy Brothers. Don Von Tress wrote this

song, that was later made famous by Billy Ray Cyrus, of course!

What song would you include from the band,

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Idol, my favorite singers

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I have never posted about the “American Idol” television

show before. I have followed it since the first season,

and have usually decided who ‘deserves’ to win by now. I

have some favorites, just in case you have caught this

year’s show.

I would encourage you to drop in when it is down to the

top five singers, because this year has an amazing amount

of talent and interesting characters, too!

My very favorite singer is due to his outward appearance

that is similar to an attractive, younger version of the

famous singer, Meatloaf! Caleb is an outstanding rocker

that has the personality and voice to take him all the

way! His song, last night, “rocked the house,” drawing

a standing ovation and many positive comments from the

judges.

Caleb sang, “Pressure in Time,” which you may or may not

recognize from Rival Sons’ band. The driving beat, great

vocals and no hesitation shown by its performer caused

me to vote for #13.

Majesty Rose is a unique, quirky preschool teacher that

has a sweet look, along with a solid voice. She sang the

song, “Tightrope,” well and her makeup and ‘look’ showed

a ‘total package!’

Malaya is also an individual I enjoy due to her bursts

of enthusiasm and great, positive attitude. I was so

happy that she chose a ‘current’ song, which is also

popular on the radio. Recognition should help her get

some votes! It was Bruno Mars’ song, “Runaway Baby.”

M.K. may be the prettiest woman on the show, who likes

to cover her beauty with a backwards’ ball cap. She

is a very good singer, although she is going for the

androgynous look, which may hurt her in the end. She

sang, “Satisfaction,” not to be mixed up with the

Rolling Stones’ “Ain’t Got No Satisfaction.”

Jena (who pronounces her name similarly to a friend of

mine who spells it “Gena.” Anyway, it is a long ‘e’

sound in the beginning syllable.) She has an eerie,

spine chilling, tingling sound to her voice. I could

not turn my eyes away from her when she sang her song!

She sang one of my favorites of this generation,

“The Scientist,” that Coldplay performs. She was easily

the strongest female contender.

Ben, a red haired young man sang a fantastic version of

“Folsom Prison Blues.” He has a good voice and charisma

but not enough to match some of the other contenders,

I fear. His choosing Johnny Cash, made me pay attention,

though! I have always been a Johnny Cash fan.

I like a ‘nerdy’ guy who tends to not look at the camera

nor the speakers, judges or Ryan Secrest. He has an

excellent talent and knows about eight instruments to

play. His voice is different but in a wonderful way!

Alex Preston may be the next American Idol, (although

I would like to see Caleb and Majesty in the top 5)

due to his incredible ‘takes’ and individuality on

singing songs. He chose, “Beautiful Mess,” by Jason

Mraz. The only negative comment came from the judges

that his song performance was ‘too perfect to be a mess!’

I won’t be giving you updates too frequently, unless a

lot of my fellow bloggers and friends turn out to be

huge Idol fans and we have some fun in our written

exchanges!

I hope you will let me know, if you are a fan of the show,

which ones you are favoring, too!