Showing posts from June, 2011

Love (?) Story

Ordinarily I don't allow myself to get caught up in the private lives of celebrities. It's all I can do to manage my own private life.

But there is something fascinating, to me, about the schism between actor Ryan O'Neal and his daughter, Tatum, which is now being played out on a reality show called "The O'Neals" on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network.

The two of them each had their chance to state their case on recent, separate episodes of Piers Morgan's show on CNN.

Tatum, who has a new book out, contends that her father is the root of many of her problems, like that of her drug addiction struggle. Ryan, for his part, says that Tatum never fully accepted his relationship with Farrah Fawcett, and that's when father and daughter drifted apart.

"She made my life---and Griffin's---very difficult," Ryan O'Neal told Morgan, also referring to Tatum's brother.

What captivates me about the O'Neals struggles is that they are, to me, genuine--…

Peter Principal

Peter Falk put on a trench coat and burrowed his way into our TV-watching psyche forever.

Falk was TV's "Columbo", but that was hardly the ceiling of his talents. Yet it was undoubtedly his most famous role in a career that wasn't too shabby for a guy with less-than-classic good looks, one good eye, and a raspy voice.

Falk passed away yesterday at age 83, having suffered from Alzheimer's Disease.

His brilliance in the role of police Lt. Columbo was that Falk didn't need the typical weapons other cops were using on television, to solve crimes. Columbo didn't need a gun---in fact, he never even carried one---he only needed his brain.

"Columbo" wasn't really a whodunnit, because within the first few minutes of every episode, we already knew who the perp was. The rest of the hour was spent watching Falk peck away at the bad guy's alibi until it resembled Swiss cheese.

Columbo did it all in a disarming---literally---fashion. He was a genuinely lik…

The Inefficient Mayor

Dave Bing can't hold the ball, turn to the ref and call timeout. He can't gather his cohorts in a 100-second huddle at courtside, whip out a clipboard and design a play to get himself out of the mess he's in.

Bing hasn't been in the middle of an NBA huddle since 1978, when he retired from the Boston Celtics. But he's still in a business filled with trash talking.

Bing, the mayor of Detroit, holds a job where the primary focus, always, is to battle the enemy from within. There are never any outside forces involved, really, when it comes to what ails Detroit. The city handles that department just fine, thank you.

I stumped for Bing to be Detroit's mayor. I felt he was the city's best shot---no pun intended---among those who would actually consider the job to begin with. There are several folks who would likely be better, but they either have too much sense or too low a threshold for pain.

So that left Bing, and what's happened recently at City Hall surprises …


At the risk of showing my age, I actually recall when TV's TLC stood for The Learning Channel.

Now it means "The Lewd Channel."

To my horror, I saw a promo for a new TLC show called "Toddlers and Tiaras." Even by the title you can pretty much guess where the show is going, but you'd be wrong---it's much worse than you thought.

T&T aggrandizes the beauty pageants for, well, toddlers---and those children slightly older. But they do it in such an in-your-face, shameless way that it should make proper thinking people squirm.

The promo was filled with little girls ---and I DO mean little girls---with their faces painted like ladies of the night, wearing grown up gowns and that alone was enough for me to shudder.

Then here comes the next worse thing---the moms of these girls. The parental units who are supposed to protect their daughters from this kind of pressure and judgmental eyes are the very ones plunging the kids into this morass.

After viewing the promo,…

Jack's in the Box

The people who get us talking about things aren't always those who you'd like to actually talk about those things with.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian was one of those people.

Kevorkian, "Doctor Death," was laid to rest the other day and no matter what you thought about him or his ideas, you're a liar if you say he didn't get you talking and thinking about assisted suicide.

But would you have liked to have lunch with Kevorkian and rap about it? Unlikely. Kevorkian had to be an assisted suicide physician. He just looked the part: a long, drawn face, boney body---he looked like a gothic character from an old book of nursery rhymes.

Kevorkian wasn't just a man's name, it was a word that became part of our lexicon, used by people in all fields to describe a variety of situations.

I remember the NBA coach Don Nelson commenting after his team beat the Pistons in Detroit. Nelson said it wasn't appropriate for Pistons fans to overreact to the loss, which came on opening n…

Don't Touch That Dial!

I've been stuck in a time warp, yet again.

Those who've dared to view this space to see what I'm blathering about now, know that I tend to enjoy living in the past.

Well, is the present so nifty?

My latest jag is to point my browser to YouTube and start searching for old commercials---beer, food, even cigarettes.

I'm talking REALLY old commercials, circa the 1950s and '60s, mostly in black-and-white.

The commercials of those days were typically no less than 60 seconds, and sometimes longer. They weren't filled with eye-popping special effects or talking babies or scores of beautiful young people breaking into an impromptu party just because one of them popped open a cooler of light beer.

The commercials that I've been fixed on show a simpler time, when a cold beer was something enjoyed by well-dressed couples inside a spiffy tavern, served by well-dressed waiters and drawn by well-dressed bartenders.

It was a time when little kids ran home to partake in Beefaroni …