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WW84.

Photo courtesy of bookandfilmglobe.com

When it was announced that “WW84” or “Wonder Woman 1984” or “the second Wonder Woman” movie was going to be released in both theatres and on HBO Max on Christmas Day I was genuinely excited. Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero and while I haven’t kept up with her adventures in comic books at all in the 21st century, I’ve always been a fan of both the Lynda Carter and Cathy Lee Crosby adventures and I enjoyed the first Wonder Woman movie. I like Gal Gadot in the part. The costume is a bit more “Xena” than I’m used to, but I can deal.

I’m going to try very hard to not reveal any spoilers here, but consider yourself warned that I may refer to a couple of scenarios here and there that could be spoilerish. Plus, I’m going to give you my feelings on the film, and if you don’t want your upcoming viewing adventure impacted by my opinion, you’ve been warned.

Well…

One of the things that drives me crazy about the world today is the altering of history because folks don’t know what really happened. For example, when a person watches “Bewitched” through a streaming service or Me TV, they’re seeing the version someone edited down for 21st century commercial loads.

The theme music on the current viewings (or the official “archives”) of seasons three through five is completely wrong. Back in the mid 1990s Columbia Pictures took the theme music from the first season of “Bewitched” and matched it up with the animated opening from seasons three through five and called it history. It’s not. The first three color seasons of “Bewitched” (seasons 3 through 5) had a completely different arrangement of the familiar theme song. There were musical flourishes, vibrating vibraphones, and bings and bongs reminiscent of the vibe of the show. These were scrapped with the editing for DVD and streaming and someone just plopped season one’s intro music in place. It was easier. It didn’t require much effort.

So millennial.

On DJ and other music boards, I often read of millennials talking about the use of auto tune in the 1980s on the likes of music by Pet Shop Boys and The Human League. While I’m sure The Human League could have benefitted greatly with the use of auto-tune, the horrible, robotic, gentrification mechanism for music wasn’t invented until the late 1990s and didn’t come into widespread use until Cher’s “Believe”, which thrust this atrocity into the mainstream until no musical artist would be caught dead without the digital fakery this hideous invention affords us. I still consider auto tune to be one of the worst inventions in the history of mankind. Any “artist” that uses it is no “artist”, they’re a corporate sellout.

I’m digressing.

I guess my point is, I’m tired of people rewriting history based on loosely associated facts that have absolutely no merit being belched out on the Internet with some air of authority. I told my husband earlier today that one of the worst things about 2020 is that computers have become way too easy to use. You no longer need smarts to operate a computer. Send your social security number to an unknown author of an email and hope you get your millions. Idiots.

With all of this ranting going on, I will end this with two thoughts:

  1. “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” were NEVER in the same league when it came to quality or ratings. “Bewitched” put ABC on the map and was in the Top 10 for years. “I Dream of Jeannie” never cracked the Top 30. It ranked somewhere around “The Mothers-In-Law” for NBC. Stop comparing the two series; they were never in the same league.
  2. The episodes of “Bewitched” you see today are nowhere near complete. They’ve had at least four minutes per episode yanked to make room for 21st century commercial needs. The versions you get on the DVD are the closest thing you’re going to get to complete, but they’re still not completely accurate and quite frankly, I’m sad the original versions are lost to history.

Racist?

I like it when people laugh. There’s so much angst in the world, especially over the past several years, and I truly believe “laughter is the best medicine”.

Some folks really take themselves seriously, especially on social media. Like many folks, I’ve done too much complaining on the social media outlets about mundane and trivial things, but I’ve been trying to curb this tendency over the past couple of months.

One thing I like to do is “hit and run” a topic with a witty chestnut as a comment or response to someone. I was recently told by a friend that I should have been a writer for “The Golden Girls” or something, because these little chestnuts are reminiscent of something Bea Arthur’s Dorothy or Estelle Geddy’s Sophia would say on the show. My tendency to hit a “block” when I’m speaking has helped me expand my vocabulary over the years; if I find I’m “blocked” in a stream of speech by a certain word, I can usually circumvent my pause by substituting a different word or using a more colorful adjective. This coping mechanism is very useful when also used on purpose.

An old high school friend on Facebook shared a post about the number of people complaining to the host or hostess of a restaurant because they had a party larger than four people and apparently due to COVID restriction, in New York State you can still eat in a restaurant but only in a party with a maximum of four people. The old friend went on to describe the hysterics of folks; apparently people are standing in the lobby of a Denny’s engaging in wild theatrics about being the parents of three kids and the collapsing of their very existence because they can’t sit together in a booth. Anyone with any sense would know there’s all sorts of guidelines and the like regarding public outings. I’m surprised they still have the opportunity to eat in a restaurant in New York State; here in Illinois there’s no indoor dining right now.

Anxious to bring levity to the post, I was about to write a witty one liner and move onto the next topic of conversation. Now, in my constant quest for perfection, the wording has to be just right. I can’t just write, “tell them to stay home and cook!”. Too hostile. “Tell them to hit a drive-thru” was a little funnier, but then I thought about amping it up to “Tell them get in the car and yell in the clown’s mouth”. This is even funnier but you have to be of a certain age and live in a certain part of the country to know what that even means. I then settled on going the “cook at home” route and typed in, “tell them to go home and boil up some Rice-A-Roni”.

Now, the specificity of this suggestion adds humor to the line, plus the words “Rice-A-Roni” carry a certain amount of humor in their sound. I was about to hit “submit” and move on when I realized this line in 2020 could be construed as very inappropriate.

The old high school friend is Asian. His mother is Korean. Mentioning for him to tell someone to go home and boil up some “Rice-A-Roni” could have been insulting to him and anyone involved.

I quickly hit delete and removed the post before hitting submit. I decided to go with “tell them to go fry up some ‘Hamburger Helper’”. It doesn’t quite have the same punch in my ears but hopefully it made someone smile.

I know it made me giggle a little bit. As my husband can attest, I often amuse myself.

Go For It.

Folks in the neighborhood have begun decorating for Christmas and surrounding holidays. Initially this struck me as odd, because honestly my head is still stuck in March when the whole pandemic kicked into high gear. I find it very weird when I hear Christmas Sale ads on television; it just doesn’t feel anywhere near the season to me.

Normally I’m all about enjoying Thanksgiving first and then decorating for the holidays. However, with the pandemic and all, and people desperately seeking joy wherever they can safely find it, I’m all about decorating any way you want to decorate. If you want to put up Memorial Day flags in November, go for it.

I’ve seen a lot of Christmas trees going up in front room windows all over the place. These far outnumber the number of outdoor decorations thus far. I’m certain this will change after this weekend.

Find the season to be merry. No judgement from me in this fun year of 2020.

Fine.

I’m told by Democrat friends that “everything will be fine”, even though Amy Coney Barrett is now on the Supreme Court and probably has the deciding vote as to whether our marriage will continue to be legally recognized or not. Barrett was a member of the school board of a private school that not only rejected gay teachers, but also rejected any potential students from gay parents, so I’m pretty sure we know in which direction she would base her decision should and when this type of case comes up for a ruling.

This is the thing I can’t get beyond. Republican family members profess how supportive they are of our legal marriage and then they support the folks in Washington, D.C. that want to make sure that, among other things, the gays don’t get married. I have a hard time reconciling this fact and as I have said before, I won’t be going to some family gatherings any time soon.

But, the Democrats say everything will be “fine”. Our rights will continue to get stripped away. Healthcare? No more pre-existing conditions. I’ll be surprised if the ACA makes it into November. Roe v Wade? I’m sorry ladies, Amy Coney Barrett can’t trust herself to make decisions about her own body and neither should you. She wants old white men to make those decision for her and therefore, you will abide by their rulings as well. Women will no longer have the right to choose what to do with their own body.

But don’t worry, everything will be “fine”.

I’m writing this blog entry at 3 in the morning because I can’t sleep. I’m still so angry I can’t get my brain to settle down. I have to be up for work in a few hours. Thank god that will distract me enough from enjoying all of this frivolity everyone says is “fine”.

If someone asks me how I feel about something and I say it’s “fine”, one should never take that as a sign of happiness or contentment. To me, “fine” is a word of resignation and surrender.

It’s one of the worst four letter words in the English language.

The Politician.

The Politician.

Earl and I finally finished season one of “The Politician”. We started it way back in October and kind of lost interest, but with this whole pandemic thing going on, and the two of us really trying not to mingle with the masses to avoid contracting COVID-19, we’re cleaning out the streaming lists on our streaming services.

By the way, can I just say right here and now we have too many streaming services to choose from. We have the standard fare: Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+, and Disney+, but now there’s CBS All Access, Peacock! (I don’t know if it’s suppose to have an exclamation point or not but it seems appropriate), a Comcast exclusive channel that we can’t get, something called Bufu, and probably a whole bunch of others I know nothing about. Oh! And Amazon Prime. Without Amazon Prime we wouldn’t be able to watch “The Mothers-In-Law”. Who would be left to chew the scenery? Anyway, too many streaming services; it turns out cable will probably be cheaper.

So we finished season one of “The Politician”. It was quirky. There were a couple of twists and turns that I did not anticipate but overall it wasn’t a waste of time. Speaking of Kaye Ballard chewing scenery, I see Bette Midler is coming along for season two of “The Politician”. Apparently the leader character is now going to run for something bigger than student body president.

Did I give something away? I hope not. After all, it is called “The Politician”.

The thing about programs that Ryan Murphy creates or co-creates or whatever is that he starts to get weird with them. And this feels like it’s getting weird. Will we enjoy Season Two? Only time will tell and for some reason there’s only seven episodes instead of eight.

But Ryan Murphy’s story direction always seems to go in wild directions and there will undoubtedly be a variety of sexual orientations and couplings because that’s what Ryan Murphy does. There’s nothing wrong with it; it makes me wonder if there are more people out there enjoying something other than the standard flavors of coupling and sexuality than what we see portrayed in real life.

With Earl and I watching more television these days, we’ll probably finish up season two of “The Politician” within a week. I don’t think it’ll be a waste of time.

Sabbatical.

The timing of our “big” vacation in 2020 was perfect. We were able to scoot over to O’ahu and back before the COVID-19 hit the United States in full force. I haven’t taken time off since.

I’ve decided to take the rest of this week off from work as a mini-sabbatical. I have a few plans; I’ll probably do some flying, I’m going on a long road trip, I’m going to relax. Tomorrow I shall drive through the Prairie State alone with my husband’s blessing. He knows I occasionally like exploring on these long drives alone and we have no qualms in giving each other the space we need once in a while. We’re not getting away from one another, I am simply recharging. Mrs. Mosher wrote in my first kindergarten report card that I was a loner, opting to amuse myself instead of playing with the other kids during “play time”. A young girl by the name of Michelle wanted to ride the see saw with me; I recall jumping on it until she was flung off. I wasn’t allowed near the see saw for a while after that and Mrs. Mosher told my mother I was developmentally disabled.

I believe her philosophy was, “no child is really any different from any other child”. She didn’t know what to make of me. Not only did I not think inside the box, I had a different box, it was oblong, and it was probably glitzed out with glitter.

If I was in kindergarten today, Mrs. Mosher would probably recommend me for some pharmaceutical assistance.

Instead, I love my life and have a husband who supports my day long road trips across the Prairie State. It’s all good.

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All Of The World Shut Down.

Back in 1986, when I was a college freshman at SUNY Fredonia, studying Music Education, a bunch of us in the music school on a Friday night and just started playing around with our instruments and voices. I will never forget the utter joy I felt as we figured out “Life In A Northern Town” by Dream Academy. Even though I had been told my voice would never be worthy of public performance (and was subsequently an ‘instrument’ student after a second audition), I still can not express the emotion I felt harmonizing with my classmates as I sang backups on this track, in a practice room in the Music School building.

Pretty.

Last night I posted a picture of myself standing on our balcony, basking in the light of an impending thunderstorm and the ambient lighting of the area, shirtless. I am reminded of a conversation with my Big Brother Season 4 handler, Katie, before I told her I was dropping out of the Top 32 running for the casting of that season. I had to check in with Katie every 12 hours and talk about the most intimate of details of my thought processes. Katie didn’t know what to think, perhaps she reverted to a script when this happened.

Katie: “Can you please send me a photo of you shirtless? A webcam photo will do.”

J.P., within an hour, sends a photo to the designated email address. This involved connecting to an Internet Service Provider via dialup.

Katie: “Well, do you mind always wearing a shirt while you’re on camera?”

It was ultimately my choice to drop out of Big Brother 4’s casting call because my husband said he wasn’t going to be waiting for me if I got kicked out of the house early because he thought the whole thing was ridiculous. But he was very supportive of me for getting to the top 32 of the casting call, despite the 75 page contract that had been faxed over in the middle of the night. So, while wearing a shirt at home, I left a message on handler Katie’s voicemail that I was dropping out of the running.

It’s a good thing I dropped out because I could have ended up with the guy who went crazy during the first week. He started throwing chairs and got kicked out because he was screaming about having anal warts.

Good times.

Insight.

The tendency for family and friends to share their political beliefs on social media, especially leading up to and since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has been very eye opening for me. A little bit of background; my father never discussed politics. Actually, it was pretty rare for anyone in our family to have a political discussion. Either that or I was shielded from any discussions of this sort. Of course times were different back then and people weren’t as whipped up about these things, though now that I think about it I remember a couple of off-handed comments about “All In The Family” or “Maude”. But seeing what family and friends write on social media today, me included, is rather eye-opening.

I understand that not everyone is going to see eye-to-eye on these things. I get that. To be honest, my “world view” has expanded considerably since moving to The Windy City nearly three years ago. Before leaving Upstate New York I used to enjoy spending Thursday evenings at the airport having a couple of beers with close friends and solving the political problems of the world. The three of us that tended to do this were a good blend: one on the right but not too far right, one on the left but not too far left, and one in the middle leaning socially in one direction and fiscally in another. We kept the conversation civil, even leading up to and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. It’s certainly possible to do this. However, there’s a reason those two aren’t active on social media. They’re sane.

On social media right now I have family by relation and by marriage that are saying the wildest things. Disappointing things. Some things that leave me speechless. Dumbfounded. These particular folk feel that Trump is doing a great job in the White House. Today. Right now.

The only thing that goes through my head is this: da fuq?

Now, I’ll admit I can’t bring myself to watch Fox News for more than 30 seconds without wanting to kick the television across the room. When my husband is watching some sort of news broadcast and Trump comes on with that horrible sing-songy preacher-for-a-penny-wannabe voice he has I become enraged. The man is a moron. Anyone who has to tell you constantly share his superior level of intelligence is actually an insecure idiot. Back in my commuting days I’d listen to right leaning talk radio just to see what others were thinking on various subjects, but even the most pearl-clutching, shat-bit crazy rhetoric at the time had nothing on some of the twisting and turning the folks on Fox News do to plump up Trump today.

And I can’t believe I’m associated, either by relation or by choice, with people that believe that crap.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been drawing a line at maintaining amy relationships. If anything racist is shared I end the online relationship immediately and honestly I question assembly with these folks in real life. And yes, that includes memes where “#BlackLivesMatter” is crossed out and replaced with “AllLivesMatter”. No explanation, no dialog, you’ve made up your mind, I’m outta here, and no need to pass me the cole slaw at the next gathering, we probably won’t be in the same room.

I tried. I attempted to understand. I tried explaining the importance of like this: imagine going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and telling the kids living through their childhood cancer that “Hey, All Children Matter!”. Any compassionate human being wouldn’t ever say that. Just because we’re saying “Black LivesMatter” right now, because it’s been much too long since society has realized this, doesn’t mean other lives don’t have value. It’s just that we’re not going to tolerate this racial injustice, we need to fix it, and something has to be done.

The person I shared this with said everything was fine since Obama was president, and actually President Obama was racist against whites because of Affirmative Action. I didn’t go any further in their diatribe before hitting “Unfriend”.

As I type this I can’t help but think that perhaps not talking about politics may have not been the best approach. I feel less educated on matters than I should be and I’m not good debater on these subjects. I’m not looking to live in a bubble of my personal belief, but I’m looking to have discussions with people that have open minds. I like to think I’m open minded.

But the idea that based on skin color some folks have more value than others? Yeah, I’m not discussing that. It’s just wrong.