HOME MADE MOVIES (& TV!)

Back in September, Universal Pictures released through its social media portals, the “official” trailer to The Fabelmans, a dramatic story on how a nice Jewish kid living with his family in post-war America took his passion in making movies and how this passion became his life long career.

The feature, written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner and directed by Spielberg, is generally “The Steven Spielberg Story” that takes the protagonist named Sammy Fabelmans (played by newcomer Gabriel LaBelle) and how he discovered movies by not just watching them in a theater, but how he can create them with the aid of an 8mm movie camera, and telling his stories through the magic of what movies were all about.

This notion of taking media and using it as a “voice” isn’t new. Back in the so-called “good old days”, if one wanted to create some type of artistic expression, one really had to work with it either as a hobby or as something one can actually get paid to maintain this passion one may hold true to their heart, mind and soul.

Now when this writer speaks about what may be called “the good old days”, we will be speaking before that notion of “The Internet” became accessible to the public at large. This would mean anytime up to the end of the 20th century. (2000) Back then, one had to use whatever tools that were available through manual and antilog that showcased the ability of its user, or “fan” so to speak!

Of course, this creative and perhaps artistic talent could be based on the written word (a manuscript) or through an artistic object. (Painting, objet d’art, etc.). However, for simplicity’s sake, we will limit this artistic expression based on electronic means, such as making a movie or even a video (TV) production.

Back before the days of what the internet and all of its gear connected to this network was just a novelty, it was possible for kids (boys mostly, but a few girls did participate) to grab dad’s and/or mom’s camera to show to the world they had access to that they too, could make a movie or a TV show! The latter choice of TV was added in the 1980’s when video cameras, along with the decks that could record such media on videotape only a 1/2” wide, were available to the general public.

Many of these kids teetered toward videotape mostly for economic reasons. Blank video tapes were cheaper to get than a roll of Super 8mm film. In 1982, the cost of a blank tape made by 3M under its Scotch brand cost around $10.00, and could record images at a minimum of two hours (120 minutes) in time length. A roll of Kodak Super 8mm film cost around the same price. One can shoot footage with a three minute running time, and the price did not include the processing of the film! (That was around $5.00!) And one had to wait a week’s time to get the film processed to see if whatever was shot was suitable for use. On videotape, one watches the imagery almost immediately. And the best part of using tape. If one didn’t like the imagery that was shot, one can erase the tape and start over. For film, once that was exposed, then one was stuck with what was shot. Many budding filmmakers shot dozens of rolls of film to create their next epic, only to discover that the imagery was over exposed, under exposed, out of focus, or a combination of all three! And if one wanted sound with that film, then that should have to be recorded onto a separate tape recorder, and wouldn’t necessarily be in sync to the picture. There were Super 8mm sound movies, but those setups were rather pricey.

But getting back to shooting movies. For those kids that were privileged enough to have access to a film camera, it was more of a passion that was also a challenge. Yours truly was one of those many sets of youth that held on to that passion! Although I adored movies (and still do), I had a bigger interest in TV, since television was “everywhere”. Just about everyone I knew had a TV set, and one can watch this device in the comfort and privacy of one’s homestead. Movies have to be seen inside of a theater or a place that resembles a theater, a big darkened room with a row of seats facing a white screen where the image can be projected.

Even though I had interest in making TV shows, I didn’t know where (or how) to begin that process. I could not walk into a TV station and say “Can I play with your TV cameras?” I’m sure as a dumb kid, I would be laughed at first, and to be thrown out of the station’s building the next. I only knew the type of shows I would watch, but really didn’t know how to make them. The idea was there, but not the concept.

That did change when I was a teen. At my local high school, they did have a working TV studio. This school was a first for a high school to provide television production as it was first set up in the 1960’s. (Time Magazine wrote up an article on this video service back in 1967!) By the time I was a student at the school,their video services were up and running.

But it wasn’t a few years later in the 1980’s when I began my video production career through public access TV, where this “passion” became a “career”. That tale of where I journeyed and how I arrived has been told through isolated means many times through the pages of this news service. But for those that have that same desire that I did back in the day, they have the world at their feet.

Thanks to portals connected through social media from YouTube to TikTok, they can create content that can be seen by not just a few folks, but my millions, and even have the chance of being discovered by those that can lead them into fame, fortune, and both! And they don’t have to necessarily go through any formal training to get their points across. All they do is to hold up their phones, hit a few apps, and get started. They can even do their thing live for all of the world to see for its better or for its worse!

Again, getting this quick and easy way of fame through media in today’s landscape may not hold the same drama as Spielberg’s feature may contain, but it shows that a kid such as Steven could make it to the movies, even though that his story is just another isolated episode out of many. And of course, his feature does cater to a specific demographic that sadly, holds little to no room (or interest) for their participation in the TikTok world. That discrimination may not be ethical or legal, but that is the way things tend to be. If somebody has to pass the torch to somebody else, it would be from the “film makers” to the social media “influencers”.

And the cycle continues.

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MUSIC TO YOUR EAR PODS

This article will speak (or “sing and vocalize”) about popular music. You know, the form of music that is within the world of what’s new, what’s popular, and the state of where it fits within this society we live in for real, rather than through a virtual reality avenue.

There are a lot of choices of where one can get access to music. Depending on one’s preference, there is no shortage in where to find the tunes to keep one amused with.

There are many basic formats to the stance of music that’s available at this time; Rock/pop, country, rhythm and blues, jazz, classical, and so on. There are various versions to these form of music, many times blended or presented in a hybrid form. (Progressive Rock, Urban Country, Latin Hip-Hop, etc. etc.) Of course, the personal tastes of all said music depends on the person who consumes it and where they stand within their own lives.

Since the turn of the 20th century, the way to hear music was through a live performance, followed by recording transcribed on phonographs, as well as through media, mostly on radio. Over time, that extended through other forms of recorded media, from magnetic audio tapes, compact disks, digital files on MP3 and its many offshoots, and leading up to the ol’ internet where any kind of music could be found, along with the musical artists that could showcase what they want the public to hear, enjoy, and even possibly buy recordings of! This is important to those that desire to become well known within their leagues a.k.a. “become famous”. A band or individual artists making it big in the music biz would be able to present their music online to those that could hear it for the first time or for its last.

Before the internet, the recorded media of music could be obtained through a retail establishment better known as a “record store”, were a retailer would offer thousands of titles on the widest known form of media, be it records (known known as “vinyl”, named after the type of material these records are created, magnetic audio tape from cassettes, 8-track tape cartridges, or even reel-to-reel 1/4” tape. Then came the compact disks, (CDs) that nearly killed 12” records.

Finally, there is digital, an audio based format that can’t be seen physically but can be heard. This format is one of the most popular forms of audio since one doesn’t have to “build” it on any fixed physical element.

Apple paved the way for this digital format with its iPod devices, a sound player where one can carry thousands of sounds in their pockets. Here, musical sounds of any type can be heard where one roamed. When it came to voice, there was the talk program that wasn’t found through the radio. This gave birth to the “podcast” because one can hear this talk show through their iPods, as well as the many audio device knockoffs that came and went.

But music remains and rules! And no matter what kind of music is preferred and desired, it’s out there for those to enjoy, share, buy, sell, and even trade. The list is endless.

What makes collecting music appealing is finding a specific recording of a song, an album, a specific artist or band that performs the music, and so on. Yours truly who has a small yet impressive collection of music mostly on records/vinyl, would always be on the lookout for a specific song or collection of songs. I would prefer the best known medium to where the song would likely exist on, but at times, any format would be OK! Just as long as the recording it at its maximum audio quality, I would take the media and keep it until a better recording would be discovered, if that would occur at all!

To give one example, I was looking for a novelty record recorded by The Nutty Squirrels. This “band” consisted of a pair of squirrels that would sing in a high pitched tone of voice that would be backed up by a jazz band while the squirrels would sing scat vocals; nonsense words such as “hmmm”, “doo-wee”, or the title of their biggest hit “Uh-Oh”. (To give a brief background, The Nutty Squares was a creation of jazz musicians Don Elliott and Granville “Sascha” Burland that performed the jazz music and provided the vocal played back in a speeded up tone, cashing in to the popularity of Ross Bagdasarian’s Alvin and the Chipmunks.)

Anyway, I was seeking this album for years. I used to score through record collecting shows, garage and estate sales, and even look inside of garbage cans to find this album. No such luck! That is, until I did an online search for the sounds extracted from this album. Sure enough, I found them. So now on my Apple Music/iTunes account, I have every single album The Nutty Squirrels ever recorded! And I found them all within a twenty-four hour period versus the years(!) of searching for a physical album. And if I do find such an album, I’ll grab it! Until then, it’s a whole load of MP3 audio files to keep this fan amused!

As to what’s popular, the best way to hear the songs that were the “hot hits” of the day was to tune to any radio station that programmed what’s known to the public as “Top-40” and what the radio industry just calls Contemporary Hit Radio, or CHR. These stations would program the 40 top songs as listed on the Billboard magazine music charts. Many communities have their own version of a top-40/CHR station where one can hear what was at its peak of popularity. And this type of radio programming portal was very active from the latter part of the 1950’s right up to the turn of the 21st Century.

Today, although some of the legacy stations that were around at the time of the top-40 heyday (KIIS-FM in Los Angeles is an example) are still around, their programming isn’t limited to the “hot-hits”, but their format of music and the artists it comes from this era remain on the air.

But music as a whole holds a very long shelf life. Many people prefer the music that they knew of while in their formative years, and still stick to that era. If you were first aware of music during the so-called “grunge” period of the 1990’s, then you still latch on to those sounds. If one was a fan of the heavy metal a.k.a “headbanger” sounds from the 1980’s, then you still have that type of music programming into your music portals. And the list goes on.

However, not all music keeps its popularity over time and tide. Music from the Big Band era (1930’s through 1950’s) has lost some of its luster since those that grew up with those sounds during its active period are either very old or are deceased. And unlike rock ‘n roll from the 1950’s that eventually replaced it, it hasn’t been passed down over the generations. On a side note, those that grew up with rock from the 1970’s did pass those sounds to their kids or those younger people within their domain. And many of those younger ones did attach themselves to those sounds! I recently saw a teen aged girl (age 15?) donning a reproduction design of a Led Zeppelin t-shirt c.1977. Compare this to me as a fifteen year old wearing a t-shirt with a likeness of Ben Bernie on its front side. Then again, I wouldn’t mind wearing a shirt with a photo of Glen Miller holding a trombone on his shoulder as he was seen within his publicity pictures. Then again, I can only speak for my musical and fashion tastes.

So no matter what one desires to hear or hear again, the notion is the same. It’s all about the music no matter what it is, where it is, or how it’s consumed. As long as there are notes, it’s the tunes that make it all happen. Just put another dime in the record machine…

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Pasadena’s A Noise Within theater continues its run of August Wilson’s RADIO GOLF, a drama about an influential real estate developer that desires to renew a local community in his native Pittsburgh while running on the ticket for mayor, and the struggles he must face based upon his business partner’s actions and a man living in the neighborhood for generations that stand in the way of progress.

The physical setting is an area known as “The Hill District” or simply “The Hill”, a collection of neighborhoods populated by the local African Americans community. It’s 1997, a period where many urban cities were undergoing a phase of post-modern civic renewal, building structures consisting of newer housing and retail outlets normally found in suburban landscapes. Christian Telesmar plays Harmond Wilks. He’s a college educated man running a real estate business he inherited. He becomes involved with a new development in his district that will feature a housing complex complete with such retail outlets as a Starbucks coffee house, a Barns & Nobel Booksellers and a Whole Foods grocery outlet. Harmond also has his eye on running for Mayor with the possibility of becoming the first African American to hold this post in Pittsburgh, with his wife Mame (Sydney A. Mason) serving as his campaign manager. Meanwhile, his best friend and golfing buddy Roosevelt Hicks (DeJuan Christopher) holds interest in this development, in addition to a local radio station serving the American American community. But there is something blocking their progress, a dilapidated and broken-down house owned by Elder “Old Joe” Barlow (Alex Morris) who lived in the area for generations. It’s a story of how a man that wants to do well for his community has to face a series of situations that make his work more complicated than he realized while attempting to “keep it real”.

This play is part of the ten part cycle that playwright August Wilson created during his career in the realm of theater. This chapter is its latest period wise (1990s), as well as serving as his final work. (Wilson completed this play in the middle 2000s, and died in 2005). In this production, the cast of five players that are featured in this piece including Matt Orduna as Sterling Johnson, a local contractor that wants to assist in this development while keeping his notions of protecting The Hill, performs within their method of stage and artistic harmony. The drama it presents is more of an urban practice setting rather than a domestic version of such. (Family fights are never implied!) It also presents how the American American community is rising to stand for itself, in spite of the fact that they (unintentionally) must cater to the white community. (Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble are labeled as upscale retail outlets usually found in such communities with a demographic considered as “white”!)

But race isn’t the real measure here. Its the level of understanding of what serves as ideal to those that may benefit. As such, this play presents itself as a blend of an upbeat and down ridden mood piece of stage theater. There is good to Harmond’s intentions in saving his neighborhood from blight, while attempting to please those that live and dwell with it.

As to the production aspects, Sibyl Wickersheimer’s set design shows Harmond’s office space as serious, complete with the standard office pieces found in real estate offices and political campaign headquarter locations. Mylette Nora’s costuming also reflects these aspects with Harmond and his colleagues dressed up smartly and professional while Old Joe and Sterling are more “working man” down threaded. Most importantly, Gregg T. Daniel’s stage direction makes it all happen with its cast. The five stage artists show how something that links between urban gentrification and saving the neighborhood for its people can become great theater. And this play falls within this category to its maximum stance.

PS…The title of this play connects itself to the hint of a radio show that speaks about the game of golf, very much akin to a “podcast” of today’s landscape whose topical matter is all about hitting the links with a golf club and ball along a green fairway. A “hole-in-one” indeed!!

RADIO GOLF, presented by and performs at A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd. Pasadena, until November 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Special “talk back” sessions featuring the ensemble cast will take place following the performances held on Friday, November 4th and 11th.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 356-3100 or via online at http://www.ANoiseWithin.org


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ANOTHER RETRO FLASHBACK

This humble reporter will be going out of town the week this edition hits to attend a family based event in central Florida located near Orlando. This is an area that was spared from Hurricane Ida, and it will be interesting to see how this community weathered out the storm. Because I won’t be at my post, I through we would dip into our archives to place another article of interest

This article reprint (or “recycle” in order for us to appear hip and trendy), comes from something we wrote upon way back in 2005 when Eastman Kodak, the folks that nearly “invented” photography as we knew it, was faltering upon their success on not jumping on the digital bandwagon that seems to be the only method to capture imagery. Call this ploy a labor of love with the labor and not the love.

Anyway, here was our take on that issue that was published in Vol. 10-No. 37, week of September 12th, ’05…..

PICTURE PERFECT-NOT!!

On August 25th, Eastman Kodak of Rochester, New York reported that the company would lay off some 1000 jobs in its plants in Middleway, West Virginia, Rochester, NY, and in Xiaman, China. In addition to those locations, a recycling plant that handles polyester waste will shut down and reduce an operation that processes polyester raw material. Kodak will use new raw materials and farm out its recycling needs to an outside firm. Next Spring, it will also close a printer plate plant in West Virginia, and cut back on operations in China. The company presently has less than 50,000 employees worldwide, down from 75,000 in 2001, reflecting a peak of 145,300 in 1988. Sales of photographic film have been down some 30% from the past year.

So what does the above news story have to do with anything that this news service reports on? Plenty! This means that people that take photo pictures, either for professional reasons or just for fun (the majority) are not using the industry standard–film! They are using a camera all right, but a digital camera; a device that can capture photographic images, but recording those images on a computer based file to be later stored on a hard drive or other computer file storage aspect. These images can be placed on a website, e-mailed to anyone who has an e-mail address, printed on a paper element, or if the photographer doesn’t care for the image, it can be deleted, never to see the light of day again!

Let’s face it. People like to take pictures, be it for a special event (holidays, weddings, etc.) for prosperity (family portraits, etc.), or just for the hey of it! (Birthday parties, group shots of “the gang”, etc.). To encourage the joys of picture taking, Eastman Kodak, the inventor of modern photography, sold cameras by the truckload. The cameras were mostly the point-and-shoot variety. No need to fool around with f-stops, light meters, and other mumbo-jumbo. Just point the camera to the spot of what you want a picture of, press the shutter button, and you’re good to go! Film was rather inexpensive for what it was worth. Film from Kodak was readily available, sold anywhere from drug stores, gift shops, etc. Other companies, such as Fuji, Agfa, Ilford, etc. also made film. Some were more of the professional variety, meaning that the film captured the image to a better liking. The film itself may have been a bit more pricey, but one got their money’s worth if they wanted the best photos they could shoot!

Kodak, the leader of them all, had their industry all sewn up. The processing of film has remained unchanged since the 1880’s until the introduction of color film around 1939. Here, for the first time, amateur photographers can take pictures in vivid colors that are outstanding! Reds were reds, blues were blues, and greens were, well, green! Of course, it took a while until color film caught on with the public (around the 1960’s), but the idea was, anyone can take great pictures that would last nearly forever–just as long as the pictures and negatives were kept in a cool dry place, away from heat, extreme cold, and moisture!

Then, things began to change, slowly but surely. In 1990, Canon introduced the first digital cameras at the 1990 Summer Consumer Electronic Show in Chicago. These cameras took pictures like any other camera, but it didn’t use film! It stored a digital image onto a tiny hard drive built within the camera. It took a maximum of about 25 images. Once the hard drive was full, one could hook the camera up via a cable onto a desktop computer and download the images onto the computer’s hard drive. Once that was done, one can see the images to later save, print, or erase and start over. The camera on display was not going to be cheap, but it was something new and quite different. As the 1990’s progressed, other companies such as Olympus made digital cameras that used the same process as the early Canons. The D-200L, made by Olympus c.1996, looked like a point-and-shoot camera. It was rather heavy for what it was, (11 oz.) and took 40 “low resolution” pictures, or 20 “high-res” picks! The images had to be downloaded via a cable onto a desktop computer, and could be later retooled using some sort of picture imaging software, such as Adobe’s Photoshop.

To make a longer story shorter, since 2000, digital photography has taken the consumer world like gangbusters. Today, most cameras sold are digital cameras. The majority (if not all) new cameras used by consumers are digital. The camera today can take pictures far superior to the original digital cameras from a few years ago. In short, film is out, and digital is in!

That is why Kodak is downsizing. For the first time in a long time, a consumer mainstay originating from the 19th century is finally meeting its match! Photography on film, as we know it, is doomed, and may not even exist in the next 25 years–based on what is going on now!

So will digital photos take over pictures shot and recorded on film? It’s hard to tell right now! However, one element we can state. It cannot be predicted on how digital photographs will be preserved! Will they last, or will these pictures become obsolete? We are keeping a watch over this fact. And once we have updates on the state of keeping and preserving digital photography, you will read it right here via Accessibly Live Off-Line! Stay tuned!

A bit of an update of the above article. This article was written slightly two years before the first iPhones were released by Apple. Their smartphones had a built in camera attached, so taking pictures became not only easier, but changed digital photography. There was no longer a need to use a dedicated digital camera. Nowadays when folks want to take a picture on the fly, they whip out their phones to capture the moment. No longer one would use a separate device.

Also, Kodak is still around, but not in the same form as it once was. They still make commercial film stock, both for still imagery and for the moving kind. There is still a demand for this product, but not necessary for the consumer.

But photography is still alive and living. Just don’t expect to get your film from that yellow and red colored box.

So capture that selfie of yours! Everyone else seems to be at it…!


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THE BEST TV SHOWS–EVER!!

Ever since the medium called “television” started to program content that was worth viewing here in the USA, folks that eyeballed this device had started their own list of the best TV programs to tune to. These lists of course, was based on one’s personal tastes in programming.

Rolling Stone magazine has been presenting article listing their “Top 100 Shows of All Time” for a number of years, the last time was back in 2016. They recently revised that list to create another Top 100. The list itself was compiled by asking those folks that wrote about television (“the critics”) as well as those working in the industry including actors, creators, show-runners, writers, directors, producers, along with the for noted critics with the question “Give us your top 50 shows of any genre — no restrictions — defining “best” as whatever it means to you.”

According to RS, only 46 entries were replied to from the others that were sent. RS never stated how many inquiries were send, how they were sent (electronically one can assume) as well as who didn’t necessarily reply. The ones that did are listed through this link, https://www.rollingstone.com/tv-movies/tv-movie-features/best-tv-shows-all-time-voters-1234599937/ and the 100 list can be found at https://www.rollingstone.com/tv-movies/tv-movie-lists/best-tv-shows-of-all-time-1234598313/

This writer never received the inquiry to place my two cents worth. (Maybe they were limited on how many to ask, or maybe I just lost the entry form!) However, I did compile such a listing for another medium source–not so much a top 100, but a number of “top fives”. Here’s how that call began…

In 1977, William Morrow & Company published a book called The Book of Lists that was compiled by writers David Wallechinsky, Irving Wallace (his father), and Amy Wallace, Irving’s sibling. This book consisted of lists that dealt in subjects that were historical in nature, as well as unusual and downright amusing and hilarious. Their list consisted of such topics of “Those people of interest that died while on the toilet” or “Most common (and not so common) breed of dogs used as domestic pets”. It was a book that could be read in one sitting, or a book that can be read on a realized basis. It was a best seller through the latter part of the 1970’s. It was first a hardcover book, later becoming available in paperback.

Three other volumes were released shortly after. The second one came out in 1980, the third book of list was leased in 1983, as well as a revised paperback version sometime around 1993. More unusual facts and figures were published and were used by many folks. Radio station DJ’s used selections of the facts as part of their “morning drive” pieces, and newspapers and magazines played their part of points made through these lists for news articles. In short, it was the get-go source to discover these lists that were just as serious as they were funny!

In the 1983 version and on its last page, there was an open solicitation for readers out there to compile their own lists to submit to the publisher. The editors would pour over the submitted lists, and if they found something that would be suitable, that list would be included in the next edition to be published within a few years time. The solicitation included the mailing address to the publisher based in New York City.

When yours truly first glanced through the 1983 edition while browsing through the book at the Waldenbooks outlet once located with the Southdale shopping center in suburban Minneapolis (and later finding the same book in the reference section of the Hennepin County Library, located not too far away from the Southdale shopping complex), I wanted to take advantage of this offer. All I had to do was to jot down my personal list(s) on paper, seal that paper into an envelope, and mail it off to the editorial team at William Morrow & Company when it was part of the Hearst Corporation at the time. Then I would have to wait for an unspecified amount of time to find out if my list would become part of the forth edition of The Book of Lists. I just did this to prove to the book world that I can become a contributing editor of some kind. I never knew if they would even pay be for my entry should it become published. I assume that they would.

So what list could I can compiled that would be of interest to those far beyond my social circles? I knew I could not compose a list of the top five annoying habits of member of my “gang” that I once hung around with. I had to think of some subject that would be of interest to the masses.

Of course, I did find a subject to speak about that was centered around what I did as a job–my identity so to speak! And that subject was television!

Since I was an avid TV watcher from the moment I discovered this magic machine when I was a wee tot, I thought it would be fun to list the top ten favorite TV shows. It was somewhat hard to break that list down, so I condensed it with a top five. Then I realized that my taste for television came and went based on various factors. Mostly, from stages in my own life. I knew that a show (or shows) that were a favorite of mind didn’t hold out through the test of time, while other titles I discovered became my faves long after the fact. So I broke down the lists (more than one list) based upon my own age in life. Since I was starting to compile that list in 1984, I divided my life based upon my age broken down in six year time stretches as I was twenty four at the time. So my lists consisted of my top five TV shows when I was at the age of six, twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four.

So rambling behind my Smith-Corona portable electric typewriter, I typed up my list with this ever-so-important entry. After that list was typed up, I placed that list along with a cover letter, and addressed to the address placed within the book. Now all I had to do was wait for a reply, if I was even going to get a reply. (For the record, I never heard from them!)

So with that being stated, I will reprint that top five list of my favorite TV shows during those landmark stages in my life. I placed them in alphabetical order since I didn’t necessarily have a title I enjoyed better that the other. It was a program I would watch for whatever reason I did. And within this reprint, I will explain in detail toward my reason why I enjoy this program–something I didn’t include to those at William Morrow and Company.

What I will do for this article, I will list my favorite titles from age six, twelve, eighteen, twenty-four, twenty-eight, and so on right up to the age that will be an even number of my six year age cycle. That will end at age sixty. I have yet to reach the age of sixty-six, an age where I can “retire” to live out my life in one of those 55+ active adult communities where I can play golf and pickelball during the day, drive my golf car(t) around the community, and do other things that domestic retirees do when they have nothing else to do but keep busy for the sake of keeping busy!! (Sorry about the editorial there! Perhaps that may be an idea for a future TV series??)

Anyway, for those that are TV history and trivia, one can guess the eras these programs were around and in production. It may give my age away, but that is the way these things seem to work out!

RICH B.’s TOP FIVE FAVORITE TV SHOWS OVER THE YEARS
(Listed in their alphabetical order)

(Age Six)
Batman
The Danny Kaye Show
The Jackie Gleason Show
The Monkees
The Red Skelton Hour

I enjoyed Batman because it came out of comic books as my elder brother became a comic book collector when the modern era of comic book collecting started in c.1964. I was also like a live action cartoon. Ditto for The Monkees as the four Monkees consisting of Peter, Mickey, David, and Mike were just as comical. Besides, they played songs that were rock ‘ roll that I heard on my local top-40 radio stations. I also enjoyed the Danny Kaye Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, and The Red Skelton Hour as my folks also tuned into those shows. I found Danny Kaye and Red Skelton very childlike as they were grown-up kids. And Jackie Gleason and Red also did skits done in pantomime, something I enjoyed as some of the jokes and gags presented may have been too “grown-up” for me. Jackie did some pantomime, especially when he played his character known as “The Poor Soul”. Red made an effort in appearing in skits without words. In fact, the last skit of the program was called “The Silent Spot” where announcer Art Gilmore would introduce each skit with David Rose and his Orchestra providing the underlined music score while Red was doing his thing. (Jackie’s music score was supplied by Sammy Spear.) In spite of my parent’s interest in these variety shows, they were still my favorites.

(Age Twelve)
All In The Family
The Dean Martin Show
The Flip Wilson Show
Love American Style
Sanford and Son

Variety shows of the musical variety were still part of my favorites, but for different reasons. As a “tweener”, I controlled what I wanted to watch without my folks getting in the way, if not controlling the actual TV set! So everything I was watching was picked by me. However, there was influence such as the case with All In the Family.

That program because the hottest show around dealing in subjects where only a scant few years before, was too “taboo” to speak upon, especially in a situation comedy! Granted, I didn’t necessarily understand the entire scope of subjects that went out in around the Bunker residence located in Queens, New York–even through each episode was introduced by a CBS staff announcer as “From Television City in Hollywood”. (And for the record, that “Television City” wasn’t in “Hollywood”, but on 7800 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles California 90036 as Johnny Olson would say if I wanted to write in for tickets to see The Price Is Right in person–another favorite show of mine that didn’t make the list!)

I enjoyed The Dean Martin Show and Love American Style for different reasons. Dean-o would play the sexy (if not drunken) tux donning host with a bevy of young women that would appear in scantly clad outfits. This bevy of “girls” was billed as “The Golddiggers” that danced and sang on occasion. They were very sexy as well. And Dean would appear in skits and comic routines that played upon their sex appeal that appeared on that NBC program each Thursday night. Love American Style was a program that consisted of an anthology of comical skits and stories that dealt with love, marriage, romance, divorce, and sex based upon the standards and practices that ABC dictated. These two programs were the ones where I learned my lessons in sex education. They didn’t talk about “the birds and the bees” per se, although some skits in LAS hinted on those facts.

I liked The Flip Wilson Show because of the characters he played on the program, very akin to Red Skelton’s collection of characters as well as Jackie Gleason’s. My favorite character the Flip portrayed (and everyone else’s favorite for that matter) was Geraldine Jones, a sassy liberated woman that knew what she wanted using catchphrases such as “The Devil Made Me Do It’ and “What You See Is What You Get”-terms that eventually fell within the American English lexicon. (WYSIWYG is still used by computer programmers and graphic arts designers to this very day!) And I also enjoyed recreating the Flip Wilson “handshake” that consisted of multiple hand slappings, elbow bumps, and butt knockings.

Sanford And Son was a program that took a while for me to get into. I enjoyed Red Foxx playing the childlike Fred Sanford (the “fall guy”) while Demond Wilson played his son Lamont as he was the “straight man”. It was a whole lot better than what The Brady Bunch presented that played opposite of S&S every Friday night. (And no offense to Sherwood Schwartz!!)

(Age Eighteen)
NBC’s Saturday Night Live (on occasion)
“Old movies on TV”
60 Minutes
The Tomorrow Show
Weekend with Lloyd Dobbins

This is where the list becomes interesting. It appeared that I was beginning to “grow up” as I was turning into the shows that were geared toward an audience that was far older than me. I started to shift from sitcoms and variety shows into news and information programs, as well as a program I tuned into to based on having no choice, followed up with a show that wasn’t a show at all! It was mostly content airing within a time slot.

The Tomorrow Show was a talk program hosted by Tom Snyder that aired Monday through Thursday nights on NBC right after The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and was part of the trio of shows that NBC offered with Today as its first entry, Tonight as its second, and Tomorrow as its third. (There was no “Yesterday” show on NBC’s schedule!) The subjects and guests that Tom had on ranged from topics in the news to those that only can be discussed after 12:00 AM central time, and 1:00 AM eastern/pacific. And many of these topics were sexual in nature. They spoke about the rising porn industry, wife swapping, homosexuality, and where I first heard about transgenders. But they also dealt with lighter topics including those involved in vintage television with guests as Ted Mack who once hosted Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour, Shirley Dinsdale who was a ventriloquist active in the late 1940‘s-early 1950‘s that was the first female to win an Emmy with her dummy Judy Splinters, as well as a program dedicated to NBC’s first late night show, Broadway Open House. And as an adolescent, I did have an interest in vintage TV–an interest I still hold to this very day!

60 Minutes was a program that CBS first aired in 1968 and consisted of a weekly news magazine that resembled a physical magazine complete with article sections, opinion pages, as well as a comical column written and reported by Andy Rooney. It was rather hard to tune in at first as it floated around the CBS schedule that bounced on every other Tuesday nights, Friday nights, and late Sunday afternoons if it wasn’t preempted by professional sports coverage! After the cancellation of the family friendly melodrama series Three For The Road, CBS plunked in to its time slot at 7:00 PM eastern/pacific (6:00 PM central) in December of 1975, where it has remained on the CBS program schedule to this very day. (I didn’t like Three For The Road as I found it as rather silly and stupid!!)

Weekend with Lloyd Dobbins was a “hipper” version of 60 Minutes than only aired once a month on Saturday nights, usually the last Saturday of the month when Saturday Night Live took a break. Many of their segments on Weekend were lighter in nature, some slightly tongue in cheek with subjects never taken seriously. It has the same humor level as SNL, but without using a repertory cast of players and having a studio audience to laugh and applaud with all of the action.

Old movies consisted of time slots that featured old theatrical movies that were released from the 1920s (soundies mostly) through the 1960s. I discovered old movies a few years before, and now I was really taking them seriously rather that watching something that was old and creaky looking, if not having seeing them as black & white. I was lucky enough to live in a major city (Chicago) that has many local channels in my disposal that programmed old movies on their many times slots. CBS affiliate WBBM (channel 2), ABC’s WLS (channel 7), and independent station (and my old movies-on-TV “god”) WGN at channel 9 programmed old movies on Saturday nights from 10:30 PM until its conclusion. Sometimes one channel had a movie that I had an interest in looking at. Sometimes two did, other times all three had a good movie on, while at some time, nobody has a movie that I wanted to watch. They is why I tuned into SNL. It served as a place mark when channels 2, 7, and 9 weren’t “putting out”. Besides, some of the skits and players were indeed funny enough to hold my interest.

(Age Twenty Four)
60 Minutes
“Old movies and new(er) movies on the pay channels”

This list has shrunken over the years as many of my faves from the previous years were either gone or took another direction. 60 Minutes was still informative, but I wasn’t devoted to it was I used to be. Old movies still kindred my interests, but I became tired to see them chopped up so the local stations could cram in more commercials. And by then, such cable channels as HBO, Showtimes, Cinemax, and The Movie Channel would air recent (one year after its theatrical release and older) titles without cuts or interruptions, meaning if there were cussing or extreme violence depicted within the movie, the viewer heard and/or saw it as originally intended. Of course, one had to pay for the privilege to see such movies on those channels as they were not advertiser supported. But since I worked for a cable company, I was able to get access to those channels either as free or for a reduced monthly price. Since I now had a VCR at my disposal, I would record those movies off-air to watch them later. That is, if I could find the time to watch my videotapes, let alone TV itself.

(Age Thirty)
60 Minutes
“Movies on pay TV” (on occasion)

As I got busy within my life, and with the ol’ VCR (and a mess of black videotapes) at my disposal, I was able to record these shows off-air to watch them later–or not! Sometimes it would take me weeks, months, and even years to “get around” to watching something I taped over the air a long time before. I started to limited my taping because I would have tapes from years before that still remained on my “to watch later” pile. Some of those tapes are still sitting on that same pile to this very day!!)

(Age Thirty Six)
60 Minutes (on occasion)

By now, my life got complicated that ever before. I stopped recording shows off the air knowing I would never look at them. So if I did watch anything on TV, it was something that was only for the moment. Around my thirty-six year age bracket, I recall watching the Golden Globe Awards on NBC because my girlfriend at the time was interested in seeing this awards show. I personally didn’t care for the Globes (something that also remains within my personal tastes), but I did so as an excuse to have her cuddled with me on her couch at her small condo with was slightly messy. She had a comforter thrown on her couch that was handy enough to snuggle up in!

(Age Forty Two)
60 Minutes (on occasion)

By now, “on occasion” meant I would tune in once or twice a season. It was only watched when I had access to a TV set. Then again, local CBS radio affiliate KNX-AM would air the audio portion of 60 Minutes for those that wanted to tune in but didn’t have access to a TV set. Most of what was programmed one can follow by its soundtrack and didn’t necessarily need pictures to follow the news story discussed. I believe KNX still offers this radio version each week.

(Age Forty Eight)
“Nothing”

Thant’s right folks. During this age, I tuned into nothing. Following 60 Minutes each Sunday was too bothersome for me. Besides, I had a ton of videotapes as well as DVDs of content that I will yet to access.

(Age Fifty Four)
Mad Men

I had an interest in this series since I was involved in the production of this title that aired on AMC (formally American Movie Classics that programmed older titles and were the dominant source of uncut films before Turner Classic Movies took over the reins!) My involvement in MM was working with its first set decorator, Amy Wells providing props from the mid-century modern era of the late 1940’s through the 1960’s. Not only I enjoyed the stories and its characters, the “eye candy” was just too much and it was accurate to a “T”! (She knew how to dress the inside of a Catholic Church from its pre-Vatican II days!) My first involvement was to provide a sound clip of a telephone dial tone that was used in the early 1960’s. (It wasn’t a sound that was “hummmm” like today, but mostly as a sharp sounding “eehhhh”.) This entry morphed into providing physical props I would find in garage and estate sales I attended each weekend. I got a cheap thrill to see props and set dressings that I provided that may still have my fingerprints on ‘em! One prop I sold to the production crew that I regret doing so was a copy of the 1962 edition of the yellow pages as issued by Pacific Telephone for the San Fernando Valley. And I never saw that prop in any episode! Besides, what would the folks at Sterling Cooper Advertising do with a yellow pages directory for the San Fernando Valley area? (Amy, if you still have that phone book, please contact me!!)

(Age Sixty)
“Nothing!”

I turned sixty about a month after the pandemic was rearing its ugly head where folks were forced to batten down the hatches because somebody big, bad, and unknown was out there ready to grab (and kill) you! Folks did hunker down, this time armed with the big-screen TV devices, as well as their laptops, electronic pads, and their smartphones. Streaming media was being introduced, and became part of the “new normal” that lives on today. I myself started to watch a massive collection of videotapes consisting of vintage TV programs that were recorded off the air by a person from the early 1970’s until he passed away in the middle 2010’s. One program I would watch again was The Tomorrow Show (see my list of favorites as age eighteen) that a TV fan recorded off the air. Many of these episode I recall watching back in the day when they first aired, in addition to a few I missed for various reasons now long forgotten. What made it interesting that I was watching these episode again with an “adult” mind, rather than as a younger kid that stayed up late at night (on a school night as that) just because I wanted to see such guests as Soupy Sales, or an episode that featured those involved in creating animated cartoons.

I did try some feeble attempt to watch some “newer” TV titles, only to discover that those titles may be the greatest thing to binge upon, but not for me! I personally watched the first ten minutes of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King after shutting the program off! After all, I knew this pandemic would be over soon so I can do out and do my normal stuff. One can only participate in Zoom meetings so many times!

So that is my list of favorite TV shows. It won’t be another four years until my next entry of six year apart will be due. But I don’t think it’s going to hold a list of titles. By then, TVs and the programming with it will be bigger, badder, and more accessible that ever before. As to being better? That’s another a subject limited to taste and accessibility. And the notion as The Book of List still remains. This time, it’s hidden and found through blog posts, podcasts, TikToc entries, and other portals that make up the world of social media. And yours truly entered that realm by placing this list in this edition of AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com found in cyberspace. I try to get within the flow!

And as the late Tom Snyder would say at the end of his program, “Goooood Night Everybody!!”

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

SCREAMING STREAMING-PLUS OR MINUS

It isn’t really any surprise that streaming video, the type of programming content that is accessible through a broadband internet connected source, now dominates the ways folks can get their television and related programming for those to consume.

Horowitz Research, a media research group, recently released a survey report conducted earlier this year that asked some 2200 domestic video content users of adult age on their habits on viewing content through streaming services as well as alternative outlets. (Cable and traditional over-the-air sources.)

Based on the report, some two thirds of those replacing (66%) stated that they mostly watch video content through streaming service, while one to three hours per week are devoted to cable and over the air.

The ones that stream state they use an average of seven ‘channels” for streaming, four that are subscription and the remainder are free a.k.a. ad supported.

As to the ones that are paid/subscription, Netflix still dominates. However, thanks to Netflix raising their prices, as well as the heave source of competition that’s been springing up of the last few years, they don’t have as much subscribers as they once held on to as they hold 22% of the market, down from 39% as found in the last survey that Horowitz Research relieved.

The report also asked what elements would these streamers like to have when it comes to managing their access to content. Two-thirds (66%) want universal search across competing services and would like to be able to manage their streaming subscriptions in one place. 65% stated that they would like to see streaming services merge to assist in that happening.

They also wanted to shop for products that are advertised through a link from their video device or their phone, and a method to use group viewing from other people connected to their subscription–mostly through family, friends, or those the subscribers know rather than perfect strangers a la those that play video games through a network.

It’s really interesting to note how streaming is part of the new phase of the “second coming of television” that’s been around  for the last forty plus years. And when this writer uses the term “forty plus years”, this is not to be consumed with a streaming service that uses the “plus” moniker after its title as there are more “plus” services out there than one can count. In fact, starting in January of ’23, EPIX, which is part of the subscription service operated by MGM, will be renamed as (get ready for this title), MGM+! (Original name, hah??)

This change is a far cry from when cable TV was once the be-all-to-end-all way to grab more content for Mr. & Ms. John and Jane Q. Public for watching programming on their television machines.

And rightly so. Thanks to the ease of getting video through a broadband connection, one doesn’t have to use the classic method of gaining access through content through a coax cable. Even though those “cutting the cord” (so to speak) were doing such for economic purposes, getting access to streaming is starting to become a bit costly over the past few years. It still makes sense to use streaming as its prime source for watching video since one can use a larger screening TV, but can also use any device that can connect to the ‘net. So one isn’t limited to watching TV at one’s homestead.

Of course, watching video through a TV device beats all of the other sources. This is from the picture quality as well as how the sound, well, sounds like! And since TV sets are getting smarter, one doesn’t have to rely upon using the streaming box one had to use for getting access to content. However, even if one uses a set that isn’t so smart, one can connect those boxes that can be of a stick variety or one that resemble a hockey puck. This is in reflection of using a classic CRT set that was once “cable ready”, a set that one didn’t have to connect a cable box to. However, unless one had a subscription to a pay TV channel such as HBO, Showtime, and others, one has to use the box as provided by the local CATV outlet.

It’s going to be rather difficult to predict if traditional cable TV will remain through this decade. However, over-the-air content will still be around for a while since some folks have over the air signals as their only source for TV due to their circumstances or their own choosing. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that those over the air TV stations remain as over the air TV stations. Not many people may be using their signals, but then again, most stations in local communications have been around for generations. In Los Angeles, KTLA-TV is using their logo with the number “75”. This year marks their seventy fifth anniversary of going on the air. Never mind the fact that a few people had TV sets, but they were around just in case somebody plunked down $350 (1947 dollars mind you) to get a set to view that single channel. However, the next year (1948) had other channels going on the air, including the three television networks offering a selection of programming, mostly placed during the evening hours, where people would most likely be at their homes (or bars and taverns) to view whatever came their way.

However, even though there are more programs to view, finding the one that is of one’s interest is another factor to deal with. Back in 1948, it seems that “everybody” was turned to The Texaco Star Theater to watch Milton Berle mug the camera telling jokes going back to the days of vaudeville and burlesque (“Berle”-esquk??), and seeing “Uncle Milty” with his other stars in comical skits that were just as old! As long as the content was entertaining if not downright corny, nobody seemed to mind.

So as more channels are added in the “plus” level, keep those video devices handy to see more programming come your way. Some will be great, others will be “OK”, while the rest will be “ecch”! But one thing about streaming and its services. They will be in the same category as the weather. If you don’t like what you are seeing, wait for a moment and the options will change for the better or for the worse! Take your pick!!

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BASEMENT FOLLY, David Datz’s comic play about a mysterious person living in the basement of a married couple’s home and the others that desire that same living space, performs at Theater 40 of Beverly Hills as a world premier.

Matt Landing and Caroline Westheimer play married couple Adrian and Aubrey. They live within a home located in an urban cityscape. It seems that Aubrey is hosting a person living inside of their basement. This person isn’t a relative or friend. Adrian attempts to see who this person is and why this person is living there. Meanwhile, their adult age daughter Alex (Tammy Mora) is having some problems with where she is living and who she’s living with. She seeks that same basement space as temporary quarters. Meanwhile, Ray  (Michael Robb) , a friend of Adrian’s, pays a visit. He has his own problems as he’s in a down-and-out situation. To complete things further, Kim (Kat Kemmet) who was living with Alex, arrives at the home, adding more to Adrian and Aubrey’s household dilemmas. With all of these people settled within, the question remains. Who will be taking shelter where? And who is the person inside the basement? Is it really a homeless person, or is it somebody else for the better or for the worse?

This single act play written by David Datz is a comedy that is long on quick and witty dialog. It ramps itself up toward various complex situations dealing with a climatic peak that poses as a domestic state of affairs viewing itself on how life isn’t what it can be for the sake of comical results. The cast of five players show themselves akin to characters as seen in a postmodern sitcom one could find in today’s video landscape. However, this is a stage play rather than another video based segment, and its stage presence is what makes this production stand out. It’s funny in nature and holds a lot of intentions, even if those intentions take a while to get itself going. Carol Becker directs this show as a program that runs on a smooth and faster pace that doesn’t quit until its conclusion.

Jeff Rack, Theater 40’s resident set designer, once again provides his talent to show off the living space of this home in various shades of purple making it a “royal” place. With such places, it holds a basement that is referred to, but never seen or depicted.

BASEMENT FOLLY is a program that is very amusing and original in concept. This reviewer won’t spoil it for all by revealing just who is living in that basement. We will state that it isn’t a creature or some other being that lives in underground spaces with evil intentions in mind. After all, this play is a light comedy, not a heavy handed horror piece!

BASEMENT FOLLY, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until October 26th. Showtimes are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at  7:00 PM.  

This program performs in repertory with A CLEAN SLATE that performs Thursday through Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons . (See review-Vol. 27, No. 39)
       
For ticket reservations for both programs, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at
http://www.Theatre40.org

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

YOU LIFE YOUR BET!

If anyone has been watching sporting events on your video imaging device, you have been aware of how easy it is to place a bet on sporting events. Thanks to lax laws on sports book-type wagers, the accepted notion (in general) to call a bet or two (or three-maybe more) on sporting events, as well as how it’s a whole lot easier to place a bet on a game through online sources and the outlets that allow such wagering, sports betting seems to be the new(er) sport in town. (Pun?)

With companies such as BetMGM (connected with the MGM casinos), FanDuel, Fox Bet (connected with Fox Sports) DraftKings, that at one time concentrated on fantasy football and related fantasy sports matchups, and a host of other outlets, betting a wager on a game or its related outcomes has grown over the past few seasons. And with an app provided by the outlets in question, one can whip out their smartphone, place a bet on the game of choosing, and hope for the best. One doesn’t even have to keep tabs on the game itself. The outlets will let you know how lucky (or not) you became thanks to their high tech notions of tabbing your winnings and/or your losses.

Once upon a time, long before this “hobby” of placing a friendly bet on a game became this easy, betting on a game, no matter what the game was, was available but not necessarily easy or even legal! Sports books have been available in many of the casinos in Las Vegas where many of these same casinos had sport bet parlors that were placed in very large rooms or spaces within their casino floors consisting of rows of tables resembling a very long bar with bar-type stools set from behind. The bars faced a wall were dozens of big screen TV screens showing games on whatever sporting match was being televised. On the side of these screens were monitors that resembled spreadsheets giving the stats of all these games and others that may be played somewhere else.

And there was horse racing, perhaps the only source available to many on planning a bet on a game. In this case, the racing of thoroughbred horses. This type of betting was portrayed in many movies during Hollywood’s golden era, especially if it was based on a Damon Runyon story. Sheldon Leonard would be a classic example of those involved in horse betting movie scene as he would play a character known as a “tout”–somebody who knew that a specific horse would be an ideal bet to win, place, or show. Bob Hope played another comic foil in many of the movies he appeared in as released through Paramount Pictures in the 1940’s and 50’s. And there was the stage musical Guys and Dolls whose opening number featured Nicely-Nicely singing the praises that he had the horse right here his name is Paul Revere.

But horse racing lost its luster as the 21st century came rolling in. Horse racing tracks closed down. Some of its tracks were being renovated into something else from shopping and dwelling spaces to mega sized sporting complexes. Hollywood Park, once located in Inglewood, California (not “Hollywood”) was knocked down to have SoFi Stadium set in its place. Arlington Park, located in the bedroom suburban community of Arlington Heights, Illinois wants the Chicago Bears to relocate from where they are placing at Solders Field near downtown to move to their new spot. If that ever occurs, that won’t be for quite a while since the track has yet to be torn down with its new stadium complex set in place!

But betting on a game is just as old as betting itself. It was of course, never out in the open as placing wagers on a game wasn’t legal in just about everywhere where betting on anything resembling betting was ever allowed. For many years in some company offices, there was the “office pool” where an employee or two would circulate a sheet of the odds of a match about to take place in the near future. This “sport” was usually placed by the men in the office as this office pool was part of the “old boys club” that many offices held. This type of betting was usually done year round,. During the football season, it went full tilt since football games were usually played on a single day–Sunday. There was the Monday night game, but it was close enough to be latched onto the Sunday afternoon match ups.

For those that were not fortunate enough to work in an office that had an active office pool, there was the off-sight bookie that did the same thing–release stat sheet to those that subscribed to the bookie’s tote sheets, and then to have the bookie take wagers usually over the phone. From there, the bookie would tabulate the wagers, only to release the results that Monday morning. (Tuesday morning for the Monday night games!)

When I was getting myself started to live a so-called “adult” life, I lived in a large multi roomed house in south Minneapolis with three other roommates as well as the guy that owned the home–my landlord so to speak. One of these roommates was a gambler. He used outside bookies that took his wagers when the desire called for it. During the football season from September up to the bowl games in January, he placed bets of both college games played on Saturdays and the NFL games played on Sunday/Monday night. What he would do is to get his stat sheet of point spreads for the games placed the upcoming weekend. (Where he got his stat sheet was unknown to me!) On late Friday afternoons, he could place a call to his bookie by leaving his name and phone number on the bookie’s answering machine. Within fifteen minutes, the bookie would call back. Then this guy would read off the wagers he placed on the games he picked, usually giving point spreads on each matchup along with other stats connected to the games. After reading off the stats, he would hang up the phone without saying anything else to the bookie, not even a token “goodbye”! I knew all of this because there was only one phone line coming into the house. There was an unwritten rule that on Friday afternoons between 5:00 and 6:30 PM, nobody was to use the phone! He said that when he would call and leave his name and number on the answering machine and the bookie would try to call back and there was a busy signal, the bookie would never call back. If that ever happened, the better (the roommate) would lose out on participating in the bets of the week. (This happened a few times, usually unintentionally by the person using the house phone!) I can’t say how lucky this roommate was since he never told me about his winnings and I never asked. But it was worth his time to go through this ploy for the two seasons that he and I lived within this household located just walking distance from the shores of Lake Nokonis.

When I worked at Group W Cable in suburban Columbia Heights, there was an active office pool that floated around the place. Although I did get access to a stat sheet on occasion, I never participated in any other betting games since I didn’t know how it all worked out. One person I knew, a video engineer, told me that from all of the bet he placed, it was enough to pay off his union dues to the IBEW. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as the union was called at the time.) He was also into something called “Fantasy Football” where he placed talented players into teams that may have existed or not. This was rather odd to me as I thought Fantasy Football would consist of make believe games that played inside of one’s head! Perhaps that was what one did when one wasn’t near a TV set on a Sunday, or what one had to do when the NFL players went on strike during the middle of the 1982-83 season. But I digress!

But thanks to these lax betting laws as well as what the ‘net can do and with the devices connected to the World Wide Web, betting on a game is just a tap or swipe away. No calling bookies on their answering machine to take bets, and no office pools to dive into. (Pun intended!!) It’s now to just pick a team, play out a wager, and hope for the best. And best of all, it’s not just limited to football as the four major leagues are participants as well as any other team or league that is worth betting on! Some leagues such as pee-wee football, little leagues, and AYSO teams are not included. Ditto for high school sports as well as the college level leagues such as the NCAA. Those players within most of those teams and leagues are under the age to legally gamble. Besides, that may lead into “fixing” games. There could be a parent or caretaker that may have a kid in such a league that may hold access to anything on the “inside”. Besides, why waste their time and effort on betting on a team or league whose interest and media coverage is limited to a local community and/or online presence that’s only seen (and cared for) on all of the social media platforms used by domestic middle class post-modern society.

On a side note, unless Proposition 27 that legalizes online betting within the state of California passes in the upcoming midterm election this November, folks within the Golden State won’t be able to place their bets online, or at least not legally. Then again, if there is a will, there is a way. Leave it to those that can hack the system. And they will! We can bet on that! (Another pun intended!)

Again, this writer won’t encourage those to wager on sports or not. That is their decision if they wish to participate or not. This writer doesn’t play since I have little to no knowledge in placing a bet that would hold any big(er) payout. I don’t necessarily watch sports as a whole either. The last game I did see was the Super Bowl played in early February. Of course, it was at somebody’s home and the real star of the televised match was the TV commercials (some great, some amusing, and the rest that were what they were), as well as the halftime “concert”. (It wasn’t catered toward my demographic!) Maybe one day, I’ll head off the racetrack to plunk down two dollars on Fast Philly to place in the sixth race. And as I ramble up to the wage cage window, a mysterious tout leaning against a post will say “Psst..Hey Bud..C’mere”. I’ll respond by saying to the tout “Who Me?” The tout will reply “Yeah you! What ‘cha betting on?” Me: “I’m betting two dollars on Fast Philly to place in the sixth!” Tout: “Eh-eh!”

I guess you just has to be there to get the humor behind this encounter. Better luck next time I suppose…!


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REMEMBERING NOSTALGIA

The times that people that live and dwell within this domestic landscape are seeing their world going to hell in a hand basket. This is the phrase that the world as we know it is doomed and everything associated with it is going to pot, and not necessarily through “wacky weed” (where available of course), although using the stuff may ease the pain for its moment.

This article won’t discuss the many trends and reason why the said world is going to hell, pot, the dogs, or whatever cute term one wants to use to describe a situation where it ain’t want is used to be as what is why those serious news sources exist, and why they want you to subscribe to their services they offer to let you know just what is going on in that cold cruel world of ours. What will be discussed within these notes is how people cope with such factors on how they can get through their life and times, even if they can ease the pain for the moment.

One of the many factors that people use is what’s called “nostalgia”. According to the ol’ Webster’s dictionary (or any other dictionary) that can be found online, that term means “..a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations..”

That definition is quite understandable. People as a whole do possess associations with previous experiences within their past. Some are pleasant and happy, such as a trip someone has taken, or an event one attended such as a birthday party for an associate of themselves. People have also experienced not-so-great moments in their life as well. If one was once involved in let’s say a flood, you may not necessarily be nostalgic for that event. So speak about such an event to state “Remember the Smithville Flood of nineteen-aught-three? Boy, was that a time!!” sound very much like a line from some comedy skit. Then again, perhaps what came from the flood may fall into nostalgia, such as how the people in the area assisted with one another, or the results of getting a dwelling space that was a lot better than the old home that got flooded out. But we believe that you readers out there get the idea of what we are attempting to state here.

Anyway, nostalgia has played through a number of factors, especially during recent times. When the pandemic was at its peak, many folks tried to cope with what was going on through nostalgia. Streaming services offered a dose of programming from not-so-long-ago that gave people their own personal comfort, enough for them to not only binge and their favorite TV and/or movie series, but to gain interest in a title that had previously been forgotten about. This drive was even brought to the attention of those programmers and other groups that help the intellectual property (“IP”) rights to the source, enough to present another remake/reboot/reimangaring to the big or the little screen.

A good number of this type of nostalgia tends to teeter toward events and properties based upon the nostalgia user’s own memory, and those folks lived through the moment or era. There are other forms of nostalgia as well. History fans may have nostalgia over an event or period of time that they hold interest to, but didn’t necessarily live through the time where the elements were at their peak. There is even a term for that phase called Anemoia, whose meaning is for a longing for a past one doesn’t remember. (There’s another term for this sense called Nostalgia-alga, and one can switch off from one phrase to another if you want!)

For instance, one holds a fascination for the Civil War that took place in the USA from 1861 through 1865. There are Civil War reenactors that gather in large groups in an open space or field. These folks dress up in military uniforms of the era donned in blue for the north and grey for the south, and participate in reenactments of battles that may or may not have taken place. These Civil Way fans hold a nostalgia for the Civil War, but of course, never were around to live through this period in US history. And bringing it up to 20th/21st century standards, some people of Millennial age (up to age 40 or so), have an interest in mid-century modern furnishings and related designs. Mid-century modern describes the period of c.1945 through the 1970’s where designs were simple, flowing, and had a futuristic look as created by such designers as Ray and Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, and a host of others that were involved within that field. Those that are 40 and younger do not necessarily recall when those designs were at their peak, but they hold a personal interest in a period that was already the past when they first saw the light of day. But you get the idea here.

And it’s not just limited to media and objects. Food comes into play here, where recipes and dishes have made their comeback thanks to nostalgia. Macaroni and cheese, a dish that was long associated with foods that one would serve kids either through an elementary school lunch or as a dinner that “mom” would once serve her offspring(s), has returned. Gourmet versions of this once stable have graced the pages of cookbooks and related media associated with home living. Restaurants are adding that dish to their menus either as a side dish or a main entry. And the reason behind this return? Mac ‘n cheese has been labeled as “comfort food”, an item once enjoyed and later forgotten or abandoned, depending on one’s personal tastes toward food. And that conformity is connected to nostalgia. This is also the reason why cookbooks published from another era are sought by those that troll garage and estate sales, as well as looking online to find a book that features recipes created back in the day where nobody seemed to give a damn in what they ate. Cookbooks of the modern era (21st century mostly) have dishes that are much healthier than ever before, even breaking down its nutritional values to it all. Even when there is an attempt to reprint a cookbook from yore, many of the recipes are rewritten to substitute ingredients that are much healthier now than they were back in the day. Bacon fat isn’t as popular as it used to be, yet bacon itself serves as “comfort food”. Just don’t use the grease in your recipe!

Nostalgia of course, is far from being new. Yours truly first experienced this face of interest into the past going back to the 1960’s when movies from the so-called “golden age of Hollywood” started to take interest thanks to local TV stations filling up their schedules running older movies whenever they could fit them in. This started the creation of books that wrote about this era. I got involved with nostalgia when I started to attend the first set of comic book conventions that would take place in some hotel ballroom for a weekend that glorified the golden and silver age of comic books and related. In fact, the first major convention I attended was called Nostalgia ’72. In 2022, anything from 1972 is considered nostalgic! And since this is the fiftieth anniversary of 1972, that is behind the reasons why one may be seeing elements connected to that year. And to stay in focus with that year, this year celebrates the infamous break-in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC that started a political tailspin. And in July, that month commemorated the 50th anniversary of the film release of Deep Throat, the movie that ushered in the modern era of porn features that were movies where one can see on camera “lovemaking” among a weak and thin story line. After all, one doesn’t see such a movie for its plot and acting beyond “doing it”!

There is a lot of stuff going on right now that isn’t very happy and well. And that trend will continue as long as the human race will thrive. However, there is an escape to all of those troubles and woes. And that escape, even if that method of getting away from it all is through emotional means, is there for the taking. Granted, those concerns may still linger, but at least one can take that vacation from the 2020s and return where those concerns were not as bad as one released when one left. They even may find a solution to those concerns thanks for diving into those sights, sounds, and tastes that came from another era. After all, what goes around comes around. And who knows, perhaps fifty years from now, there will be folks that will wax nostalgic over the pandemic, the war, and when gas prices shot through the roof. There might even be nostalgia over the use of gasoline to fuel cars! We’ll just wait and see…!

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Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the world premier of Norm Foster’s comedy A CLEAN BRUSH, a tale about two house painters, a pair of sisters that aren’t sisterly to each other, and an “accidental” death.

James Lemire and Michael Kerr play Dick and Mello, a pair of house painters whose latest gig is to repaint a room inside of a dwelling belonging to Zoe. (Mandy Fason). Dick and Mellow learn that Zoe’s husband recently passed away by “falling” on a fireplace poker. In fact, he fell a number of times on the poker, apparently in the same spot on his head. Zoe wants to get the place freshened up to rent out. While Dick and Mello start on their painting job, Zoe’s neighbor and sister Lois (Susan Priver) comes in She’ there to see what’s going on with her sis, even though they barely get along with each other, as well as reviewing the pair of painters she hired. Is Zoe trying to cover up a possible murder of her husband? Is Lois behind this plot as she didn’t do too well with her spouse? And will Dick and Mello complete their painting gig, even though Mello is taking a shine toward Zoe? This is far beyond another plot of slapping on a fresh coat of paint on the walls just to get the job done!

This new comedy by veteran comedy writer, playwright, and Canadian by origin Norm Foster is a comic farce that holds up to a lot of sharp dialogue, especially between painters Dick and Mello as portrayed by James Lermier who is the “straight man” to Michael Kerr’s Mello as the “fall guy”. The pair of painters peter out as a comic duo that holds more sarcastic canniness than genuine knockabout laughs. One won’t see any physical comedy as the two attempt to paint a la Laurel and Hardy, or even another attempt for a revival of Mack & Myer for Hire! (Do an online search for the latter description!) Zoe and Lois, as portrayed by Mandy Fason and Susan Priver, could plot themselves as scheming sisters, but instead portray siblings that are on their own terms. They are not working with each other in a supportive role, but are just emotionally distant. (Just like real siblings!) The pacing is indeed original for how it stands, even through there is no paining done on stage, and there is no real murder seen on display–assuming that there was a murder in the first place!

As to the visuals, Michele Young’s costuming shows off to where the characters stand within their roles. Dick and Mello’s costuming only consist of painter’s jumpsuits (spotted in the first act while cleaner in the second), while Zoe and Lois dress as women that could be as low-key evil! And Jeff Rock’s scenic design is at its minimal. There are little furnishing on display since the stage consists of a single room that will be painted over. And there is a fireplace placed on stage right to where the “murder” apparently took place!

Directed by Howard Storm, A CLEAN BRUSH is a play that consists of house painters along with a pair of cunning sisters that know enough about each other. It sounds more like a plotting for a drama than a comedy. So we’ll call this production a dramatic comedy or a comical drama. One can take their pick. So make sure you have the proper rollers and enough drop cloths to keep the place dressed with a fresh coat! And use primer as well! It’s enough to be amused much faster than watching the paint dry!

A CLEAN BRUSH, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until October 23rd. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.    

For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org

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DON’T WORRY DARLING (Warner Bros./New Line) stars Florence Pugh as Alice Chambers. She, along with her husband Jack (Harry Styles) lives in a suburban community nestled in the middle of the desert resembling Palm Springs of the 1950’s. This community named Victory, is connected to a rather secretive organization developing The Victory Project, a utopian experimental collective run by its CEO Frank (Chris Pine) where the husbands are the breadwinners and the wives live within a fantasy life. The wives cook and clean as they are supposed to do. But they also lounge by the pool, drink fancy cocktails, and smoke their brand of cigarettes. After their husbands return from their jobs working within The Victory Project, they hold dinner parties with other couples in the neighborhood dining on the elaborate meals as prepared by the humble wives. And yes, each husband makes love with their spouses on the husband’s commands. But Alice isn’t like the rest of the wives that do household chores and attend fashion shows held within the community of Victory. She sees things going amiss. She even starts to question what her husband does within The Victory Project. This starts a chain of reactions to where Alice may be proven to be out of line where pills may bring her to her senses, or so says the “expects” working on behalf of The Victory Project. Does Alice know more than she should know? Or is she really seeing things as a hallucination? And is this community really part of an ideal 1950‘s-esque utopia complete with everything in a style of mid-century modern along with period music played from phonographs in everyone’s ranch style homes?

This movie is a blend between the stylish fashions and set dressings made famous in the TV series Mad Men while set upon a post-modern aura of science fiction. (A 21st century version of SciFi, not the classic 1950’s take on SciFi!) It also leans towards a sense of a fear that brings havoc to those that aren’t part of the status quo. The screenplay by Katie Siberman with story by Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke, and Siberman starts out with Alice and Jack hosting a party in their home where their friends are present. Then things start to get a bit out of kilter, almost surreal and strange. Those elements added is what makes this movie not just another retread of living in the 1950’s as it may have existed or not! Then again, this feature could be part of a tale that could be expanded as a multi-part mini series viewed on one of those streaming video channels that tends to be the place to view such mini epics!  It has enough plot twists that can provide the room and ability to expand far from this film’s 122 minute running time.

It also features an interesting leading and supporting cast consisting of Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Olivia Wilde (who also directs), Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Kate Berlant, Asif Ali, Douglas Smith, Timothy Simons, and Ari’el Stachel. Many of these names hail from TV/Video, while the rest have appeared as character roles in previous feature titles. So don’t expect much “star power” as such a movie of this type may support.

The real stars of this film are the visuals as expressed. Production designer Katie Byron offers through its staging what the 1950’s were supposed to look like. Costume designer Arianne Phillips sets up the outfits that the men wore and the women paraded in, while Rachael Ferrara dresses each set that brings out the best of the style of the middle 20th century.

Of course, a good looking movie doesn’t necessarily mean that DON’T WORRY DARLING is a good movie! It has its moments for sure! But as stated before, this title would make a better mini TV series. Perhaps a version of this feature may wind up on HBO+ as it comes from the Warner Bros.-Discovery cannon. And since the majority of the cast hails from a TV landscape, it could have the original players set within the roles that make this movie just what it is. It’s a feature that’s amusing with a bit of suspense and mystery added for good measure, complete with a 50’s rock ‘n roll based soundtrack that is more doo-wop rhythm and blues than an expected collection of R&R stars from the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Elvis. After all, when it comes to period films, one must play as much music from that period as one can get away with (or can afford through licensing) in order to show its audience that it takes place in the era the movie represents. In this case, it’s the 1950’s for sure! (Ditto for placing shiny looking classic cars within the backgrounds!)

This title is rated “R” for sexuality, violent content and (limited) foul language as noted by the MPA. Now playing at all multiplexes nationwide.

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DO YOU ACTUALLY WATCH TV?

In a previous issue, we reprinted some of the email messages we had received over time and tide that made commentary on our news service. Out of these messages, we printed some of the replies that were based on questions that noted elements of our content.

One question we received last spring was a simple and basic one that consisted of a few words. It read…

I see reviews of theater shows and movies. But what about TV? Do you actually watch new TV shows, or are you stuck in the past?

Robin G.

This question is far from being earth shattering or would express any interest to those that may be looking for hard news. Trust us folks. There are plenty of sources to find hard news! This ain’t one of them in most cases!

Well, this is the basic reason why we don’t review a lot of new TV programs. And when we state about “New TV Shows”, we refer to programming that can be video on any electronic device that sports a screen and can connect to the internet. This means a traditional TV set, a smartphone, a computer (desktop or laptop), or an electronic pad (“iPad”, etc.) And the term “new” means that it’s a service that first made its mark within the last five years. It could even be a title that’s been around a lot longer, just as long as it’s still in production and was created for “new” media. (i.e. Streaming, etc.)

First of all, thanks to the said streaming, there are many more sources where one can obtain this kind of content. And unlike traditional broadcast and cable TV where the programming aired on a selected time and day of the week where one can view only one installment at a time, streaming doesn’t have that restriction. This means that most, if not all, of its content is made available at any time the viewer wants to consume the program. You can watch an episode of let’s say The Morning Show on Apple TV anytime and any day. If you decide to see an episode on a Tuesday at 3:17 PM, or at 3:17 AM, it’s there for the taking! It’s a far cry from the days of “TGIF” days on ABC (or was it NBC? This writer forgets!) where you had to see the lineup on Friday. Ditto for “appointment TV” where you cleared your schedule to tune in on a specific show on a specific day and time. Yours truly once scheduled his days and times so I could tune in to the next episode of something. And I did this as young as six years old when I made such I was in front of the old 21” Zenith on Monday nights at 6:30 PM (CST) to watch the latest episodes of The Monkees, and hoped that Kellogg’s Cereals was picking up the tab that night so I can see a cast commercial featuring Mickey or Peter rant and rave about Kellogg’s Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies! (Even though much of its viewers were kids and teenagers, you would think that a kid friendly cereal would be plugged as it would be just as funny to see Mike and Davy rave about Froot Loops or even Sugar Frosted Flakes. But this is besides the point!)

But getting back to the newer still. I have been told by people that I personally know about all of the great TV that’s out there! I recently spoke to a mutual friend about the Disney+’s Star Wars series that play out as good (or almost good) as the features that were inspired from those titles. And unlike a feature that only can do so much in a given period of running time, TV shows hold the luxury of flushing out the characters giving them more personality, perhaps creating a backstory that the movie didn’t have the time and space for. One recently movie that shows this effort was Warner Bros.’ release of The Many Saints of Newark. This title was about the story of Tony Soprano who was exposed to the mob scene taking place in northern New Jersey when he was a youth in the 1960’s, later making him the man that he became to be. The movie showed the younger version of many of its characters—love ‘em or hate ‘em, as well as others that were only referred to but never depicted. I have seen isolated episodes of The Sopranos either from HBO or through its home video release. But the film would have made a better TV series than a stand alone title. Perhaps David Chase and the powers to be at HBO can work something out with a badda-bing!

And there are other shows to ponder upon where from what I have seen through bits and pieces, look very much like a feature film. They are edgy enough to be mistaken as a movie, and when appropriate, they can cuss and depict violence and sex. This is a far cry from the shows I used to tune in back in the 1970’s that were very restricted to what they can say and depict. This was based on the networks’ Standard and Practices (i.e. “the censors”) that had the upper hand. That was OK for what that was, but the movie could do better. That is how movies lasted as long as they did. Movies can showcase things that TV programs of the same caliber didn’t and couldn’t. That is why today that “tentpole” movies thrive, and dramas don’t!. And there are “tentpole” worthy shows appearing on TV. Thanks to computer generated special effects, one can show things exploding, or creatures running around causing havoc. Dramas take up time and concentration to make them appealing. And there is a lot of that form of content around, making TV shows better than ever.

So this gets back to what this writer doesn’t watch on TV.

Perhaps the real reason is due to less time available with more content to consume. And many serialized programs run on a continuity basis, meaning that in order to understand the storyline and the characters that are part of it, one must watch a series in rank and order from Season One-Episode 1 onward. This all began with such programs as Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere from the 1980’s. These programs had what one TV columnist called a “memory”. That is, its storylines would be able to recall or refer to a scene and/or the characters that were part of that season from seasons past. And these programs had to run in order and would possess a thread. Thus, running the episodes out of order would confuse the viewer. Before that, all episodes were self-contained. You can view a season of Magnum P.I. as a jumbled order, and you would be fine.

So what this writer is commenting about is the fact that I don’t have the time, energy, gumption, or even interest to view everything that is placed in front of me. And no lack of respect to those that offer such selection to me. All this attempt as going to a buffet usually found at a Las Vegas-type casino. There are hundreds of entries to choose from, and one can only consume so much. That is why these buffets are called “groaner bars”. (Or something to that effect!) By the time you tried to take everything from the buffet, you are going because you consumed too much. I am invited to a video version of a groaner bar. All I take is a few things, and then walk away to either return later if at all!

But that goodness to those TV gods out there for doing what they are doing. I would never realize in all of my years covering the media that television would remain king of the hill. It was first placed to me that cable television, with all of its channels offering more product that what the three (later four) networks could ever muster up, could present a load of choices where one can watch TV twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. But much of the stuff that cable TV offered some forty years ago wasn’t as great as it could have been. Unless one enjoyed watching reruns of previously aired TV shows, movies (theatrical and returns of movies made for TV), and sporting events, that was a good chunk of what was on cable. Original shows did exist, but were not as good as to what ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox would cram into their prime-time lineup.

So here’s to you, folks! The ol’ video machine will keep on plugging, while I give the TV buffet another chance. I’ll just wait for dessert. Or to place it all in text speak, YOLO!!!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

HOME WORK

It appears that the battle of working from where one lives versus working in a traditional office area is still in debate.

As pandemic issues are a fraction to where they once settled, many companies that operates their business out of an office space (or office spaces) are encouraging their employees (or in some cases, ordering their employees) to return back to their facilities to do the same work they have been doing at their home bases for the past year and a half.

Depending on the company and the work required by those being paid for the company, the people that offered their services are rather enjoying themselves in working at their homes, or where ever they can hang out just as long as there’s a wifi connection and if they have access to a cell phone or any electronic device that can connect to a wifi setup. So these folks can do their jobs while at home, hanging around a coffee joint, or wherever they desire. Just as long as the work can be completed within the requirements that the company specifies, then that’s OK.

However, many office managers, as well as associate managers, or assistant associate managers, are asking/demanding those to come back to the offices to do the same work.

A few of these employees are just doing that with strings attached! They will ask or demand what would be the incentives for them to return. Companies are replying by offering incentives such as an open food bar, perhaps a lavish place to work, as well as other options that may almost sound like a bribe. These employees, taking upon the realm of what the “Great Resignation” gave them permission to do i.e. speak out for themselves, are asking (or demanding) a salary increase just to come into the office! They state that if they have to take out the time to get to the office/working location from where they dwell, then they should be paid a premium to do so.

Perhaps the biggest reason why people don’t want to come into the office is the fact that spending eight, nine, ten or more hours a day doing their jobs remotely disrupts their life balance. People spend as much as an hour getting to and from their office space each weekday via self commute. And if one lives in a megacity such as Los Angeles, the rush hour commute is frustrating as it is! Once they arrive in the morning hours after driving on the 405 freeway for so long, they are not in the greatest mood to work or to do anything for that matter. And for those that have family matters to deal with, then the situation is even worse. And for the most part, many people in traditional offices work alone or as a solo. There is the occasional meeting to attend. But thanks to modern technology, one can meet remotely. Zoom became the poster child for remote meetings. And the pandemic made that application a household word. Everybody can get it, and they use it on their phones, their electronic pads, their laptops, and even their desktops!

These companies are pushing the return to the office for their own reasons. They claim that working away disrupts what’s called “company culture”. This means without the bonding one can get with fellow employees while on the job, it’s very difficult for the other employees to work together. And those discussions around the water cooler? These companies are stating that many ideas are often expressed through these impromptu gatherings. Thus, if one is in the offices, the company can grow and expand. So can their employees.

Many of these same employees, hearing about this line on what is being stated, call it a lot of bulls#it! Many people who work with one another don’t necessarily fraternize with others within their office space. After all, there is no requirement to become friends with somebody in the next cubicle! And for years, perhaps decades, the company didn’t want you to hang around the water cooler, claiming that those around the water cooler (or coffee pot, or vending machines dispensing snacks, is goofing off on the job! And office managers have the desire to see people working, even though the work is actually getting done! And those working on a company internet system know that they are being watched while at the office. They are aware that every keystroke is being recorded. They are also aware that any place one logs on their network is also recorded. Some companies even go as far as to block selected websites that have nothing to do with what the company is involved in. Many of the sites one can’t get access to from a company server includes (but not limited to) ESPN, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, as well as all of the leading porn sites.

Also, the reason why offices want their groups to return is the fact that many of these firms hold long term leases of their office space. If a company made a ten year lease on a 10,000 square foot office in a downtown region back in 2019, they expected the office full or their humble and devoted employees working as busy beavers for eight to twelve hours a given weekday, and getting their money’s worth on the space they are renting out until the lease is up for renewal in 2029.

Of course, the pandemic threw a monkey wrench in the machinery. All of a sudden, their office spaces were emptied out. The company informed these devoted employees that you can now work from home. This way, you can keep free and safe from the virus, while getting their jobs done. It was a win-win for everyone.

That was a few scant months ago. Now that the lockdowns are no more, it’s time to return and for the company to make good on that 10,000 square foot space they are paying an arm and a leg for. Their employees are stating that thanks to the cost of gas, and everything else for that matter went sky high, then they can do the same thing at home. This is a win-win situation. People can work and get their lives back in order at the same time. And they don’t have to do everything from a traditional run from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM. If they desire to get the job done between 9:00 to 5:00, then that’s OK. If they want to work between 9:00 PM through 5:00 AM, so be it. If they desire to work on a staggered schedule on a twenty four hour rotation, then that’s all the better!

Of course, not everyone has the option of doing their jobs at home. Many people such as those in the medical field have to report to duty. Ditto for those in the hospitality industry such as restaurants. Same goes for construction. In other words, if doing the job desires an in-person experience, then working from home can’t cut it.

Yours truly is within a position where I can work from home, and have been doing such for years long before it became trendy. I write all of my pieces from my humble abode. I knock out each of these articles whenever deemed possible, no matter what hour of the day it is. I also do my other work from home. (Yep! I work multiple jobs!!) No matter what has to be done and when it has been ready, I can do it. And there is no office manager telling me when I can work, eat, breathe, or when I can crap. I am the one in control.

Of course, my situation is rather unique. And many people still do not have the luxury of working at home versus working remotely. But they do realize that they can speak for themselves. That is the reason why unions are making its slow yet steady comeback. They state that they can be loyal to the company they work for, assuming that the company will be loyal to them. It’s not like in the so-called “good old days” where an employer can state to an employee that they can be replaced if they slack off on the job. And thanks to social media, people can exchange stories on how they are mad as hell and they are going to take it anymore! And they are mad as hell indeed! And who can’t blame them?

In the meantime, inspired by the fact that a recession is looming (or not), people are still working. Jobs are still available. And in many cases, it’s a hiring frenzy. Granted, prices are higher. So are wages (good) and rents! (Not so good!) But whatever this situation states, it’s just going to be a long and rather tedious “wait and see” result. After all, one can gossip about other employees through your social media posts. It’s been going on for years. Why quit while you’re ahead?

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The Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre opens their 2022-23 season with Lauren Gunderson’s SILENT SKY, the inspired true story of Henrietta Leavett, a woman whose interest in astrology was able to create a discovering in the pattern of charting stars, in spite of the challenges she had to face in order to become renowned within her feats.

Ann Marie Wilding portrays Henrietta Levitt. At around the turn of the 20th century, she begin to become involved at the observatory at Harvard University as what was called a “computer”, a person that charts the movement of stars through etched graphs photographed upon glass plates. These chartings were part of the research projects as orchestrated by the research scientists lead by Dr. Charles Pickering that would receive the credit for their work but not for the “harem” that underscores this research, including Henrietta and the rest of the female computing staff. But Henrietta becomes profound in her measurable calculations. This was enough to her desire to utilizes the telescope known as the Great Refractor, but she isn’t allowed to operate let alone even look into the Refractor because of her gender. Besides, it’s really part of the work of the important men that make up the body of the science departments based at the university. In spite of what the department restricts her in these studies, Henrietta proceed within the process of transcribing the changes in Cepheid stars. This charting becomes an important process into charting the entire body of stars as seen within the scope of earth’s boundaries within the known universe. Her work ethic is noted by Dr. Pickering’s head apprentice, Peter Shaw. (Jack Menzies), who later becomes somewhat of a romantic interest with Henrietta. But this doesn’t stop into the progress that Henrietta is finding within what lies far into the skies. Her skills and abilities later become a first in what the other male scientists has yet to discover at Harvard, and through the other astronomical portals outside of the campus halls of ivy.

This play by Lauren Gunderson is an inspiring drama that speaks for a lesser known person that made new and useful discoveries within the story of the stars when it was all drawn up through human ability based “computers” rather than the electronic type that would not be used for a number of years far into the future. Ann Marie Wilding as Henrietta play her role as a strong lead that knows as much as the male staff she works for. Within her character, she is firm in what she can prove, but is not bossy. The other female characters that are part of her story, colleagues Annie Cannon as played by Candida Celaya and Willamina Fleming (Aubrey Saverino) are within that same level, although Willamina is more “fun” and shows that her Scottish roots brings out her engineering abilities that the Scotts are most famous for. And Henrietta’s sister Margaret (April Elize) is more of the traditional type that such females were categorized during the early 20th century.

The stage setting by Barbara Schofield is arranged as a practical set. The sets consists of a few pieces of basic period furnishings are laid out on the stage depicting many of the aspects that Henrietta finds herself in, from the Harvard Observatory spaces to the universe starred skies itself. The latter is projected upon its back stage wall through moving and still imagery as designed by Fritz Davis. Barbara Schofield’s stage direction of the characters showcases the feats of its lead of the play’s protagonist.

SILENT SKY takes its title to the audio quality of the stars as seen within the heavens itself (physical silence), and the work that the women did that were a challenge into its own right. (Woman’s rights that had to be fought for, almost demanded!) The play hold both drama and inspiring heart into the work that Henrietta mastered in an honest method that still is acknowledged. As to women taking the lead in such fields of astrological studies? It continues today, but with similar consequences that Henrietta faced thought over one hundred years before. It’s rendered as one step forward, and one (or more) steps in the other direction.

SILENT SKY, presented by and performs at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, until October 9th. Showtimes are Friday, and Saturday nights @ 8:00 PM, with Saturday/Sunday matinee performances at 2:00 PM.

In addition to the performance, a series of lectures will be conducted entitled The Silent Sky Lecture Series that will comment upon insights into Henrietta Leavitt’s pioneering work, the history of women in science, and the infinite wonders of the stars, as described on the theater’s website.

Admission to all lectures are free. Information on the lecture series, its dates and subjects, as well as ticket reservations for Silent Sky can be obtained by calling (626) 355-4318 or online at https://www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
https://www.facebook.com/accessiblylive.offline
@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

YOU THE PEOPLE SPEAK! LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

It’s been a while since we gave our readers the floor. So here’s your chance to say a few words…

..I really like your news. When will you do a podcast? I listen to a lot of them, and maybe yours will be just as good as the others…

-Mark

This is a question that we have been asked on occasion. We have been kicking that idea around for a while. So here’s our take on podcasts.

First and foremost, A podcast, in case nobody knew just what this element is, is a radio program that’s not on the radio. Many podcasts consist of talk shows that have a host that speaks upon a topic or topics. Many times they will have a second person on the show, making this program as a “tag team”. Other podcasts consist of audio documentaries, complete with various voices speaking upon the subject overlaid by a dramatic music score. These types of podcasts have become popular over the last few years.

As for us, we can do a podcast. But that could consist of someone reading an issue to the listener. And the irony of it all, AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com was the basis of a talk program hosted by yours truly called Accessibly Live that aired on a public access channel in suburban Minneapolis and suburban St. Louis in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

As of now, I am working on developing a podcast that will not necessarily be related to the content found at ALOL. We’ll keep you posted on that aspect.

Do you guys still give out reviews of plays and movies? You used to do (reviews) of a lot of movies! Where are they?

-P.

Yes, we still churn out reviews of theater and feature films. However, we went through a change of editorial policy not too long ago, based on various factors that we encounter mostly through circumstance.

Within the last two years, beginning around the second quarter of 2020, the pandemic has changed a lot with it coming to regional theater and the ways movies are marketed. We’ve reported within these pages a number of times that regional theater emerged a bit different as they once did some two years before. Some theater groups returned. Others didn’t. And movies are returning back to theaters. Right now, the movie industry’s saving grace are the blockbusters that rely on existing premises ranging from the ever lovin’ comic book/superhero types, to squeals, remakes, reimanages, and whatever one can call a new version of a familiar name. You can call this “comfort foods”, but not necessarily the edible type. And since there is so much of this that’s going around, So with less movies, that means less reviews.

As to the smaller movies, many of them are being released as “video on demand” titles, meaning they don’t play in theaters anymore. In fact, many of the so-called “art” movie theaters have closed or been modified. But this doesn’t mean movies are going away, They are just spacing themselves out a bit. And yours truly is going that as well.

But we will provide those reviews you readers still look out for. So keep looking out for them!

A long winded answer to a rather short and sweet question. And thanks for asking…!

…I really like your blogs. You write about those little issues that remind me of old Seinfeld episodes. Keep up with those blogs. And if I can suggest a few topics that you can write about, I would really like that…

-BillyBoyz38

Well, “BillyBoyz38”, we assume that you are commenting upon our entry essay column that starts out each edition.

We recently did an audit on how our editions circulate each week. And we have noticed that when we begin each issue on those “little” stories you noted, we get a spike in readership in terms of how many log on during a given day and time of day. When we make a comment on, let’s say, how streaming TV is making its mark to those with video devices connected to the ‘net, those “hits” tend to drop a bit. To give you an idea of what we are noting, a few issues ago (Vol. 27-No. 24), we wrote a column on how our internet service went down and the havoc it caused. That particular edition saw a massive uptick of hits for that given week. This means that people still prefer to read about those little things of life that are not newsworthy in a traditional sense, but do “hit home”, so to speak!

As as to your suggestion of what we should write about in the future. What topics do you have in mind?

Will AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com be moving its offices somewhere else? We heard that you are leaving Hollywood forever! Is this true?

-Pat Leib

First of all, Pat. Let’s clear up the air for a moment when it comes to relocation to a physical place.

Since last year, yours truly did obtain a place located in the center of the Midwest region. We even churned out a few issues of this news service from that region. It’s a place that is very far away from “Hollywood”–some 2100 miles away give or take. In fact, it’s a lot closer to Chicago than it is to Los Angeles. And thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to crunch out each issue from this little spot. However, there isn’t a lot of “activity” there in comparison to what the Los Angeles region provides. One can’t attend a stage theater show when one isn’t at the theater. Movie reviews can be done since this region has movie houses run by the national chains. And I have reviewed movies through secure steaming portals as provided by a few of the film distributorships. However, making a relocation isn’t that cut and dried. There are a lot of factors that are preventing us for making this physical move a reality. (The storm clouds hovering over the domestic economy market is one of them!)

But to answer your question. Yes, we do hope we can move to this little hamlet that we have our eyes upon. It just won’t be right away! But that doesn’t mean that ALOL will go away, far from that. We feel that after all of these years we have been in what one can call the media capital of the nation, if not the world, perhaps it’s time to move on. It’s not going to be in the near future. But as I said to myself when I first came to this community not so long ago (and to borrow a famous line spoken by Judy Garland in the feature The Wizard of Oz) “Toto..I don’t think I’m in Los Angeles anymore!”

That’s all for now! If you wish to drop us a line, please do so! Just send your comments (both the good ones as well as the not-so-good types) to us. See the last entry of this edition on how to get a hold of us! Until then, we’ll “see” you then!!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
https://www.facebook.com/accessiblylive.offline
@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!