Friday, April 30, 2010

Summer Camp, Part Three: Geronimo junior staff- Chapter Three

Today, my latest summer camp account continues. The posts of the last two days will serve to catch you up enough that you will not be lost or disinterested today.

After the training and orientation I had just gone through, it only remained to go to camp. If I recall correctly, my old friend who brought me in rode with my parents and I up to the camp. We brought in our gear and waited a while after my parents left. I then got my first taste of the salty language and diversity of opinions that would define relations with fellow staff members. The signing in process then got started, and we did that. Assignment to cabins was basically random, but my friend had considerable sway at this time, and ensured that we'd be together. This was a real blessing.

The life of junior staff members like us revolved around the residence area Staff Hill. The compound consisted of cabins, showers and bathrooms, laundry facilities and the rec room, where meetings and indoor events were held. The latter had a pool table, ping pong and a TV with a VCR. One couldn't really get tv or radio reception there as the camp lay in an area of rather forbidding geography.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Summer Camp, Part Three: Geronimo junior staff- Chapter Two

Today I continue the narrative of my summers as a junior staff member at the BSA-run Camp Geronimo. It's best to read yesterday's before getting into this.

Where I left off yesterday, I had failed to catch on at the Commissioner's Shack (the department I most preferred) due to a dearth of openings. After that initial setback, I was disheartened, but had more interviews to go through. Each of them was as tough as that one, but only because I set them up to be in my mind. As I said, the interviewer in that case had been a childhood friend I didn't recognize. The others were people who turned out to warrant no such fear as what I felt when I sat across a table from them and justified my worth as an employee. I try to remember that feeling whenever I'm in such a position as they were then.

The place I wound up with was the Nature Lodge. What was interesting was that I left the interviews thinking that I had been made a CIT at the discretion of the area director, when in fact he simply didn't realize how old I was. That was straightened out, and it was exhilarating to think that in some sense I had  become a man and was about to make my own way in the world as an independent being. I had been away from family for no longer than three weeks previously, and was not then drawing a salary.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Summer Camp, Part Three: Geronimo junior staff- Chapter One

Recently I followed up my account of Camp Arrowhead with my years as a camper at Camp Geronimo. Today I continue the series with my recollections of my years as a junior staff member of that camp. It's largely a story of increased access: a story of seeing more than is presented to the general public. In my telling of it, perhaps it will become apparent that the public is not interested in hearing any more than they are told. I guess we'll see about that. I find that it's an exceptionally expansive tale (even by the standard set by parts one and two of the series), so I'll be splitting it up into chapters.

When I was fifteen, a friend from my Boy Scout troop had already begun working at the camp the year before, and was no longer with us when we went for our week there. He had seen what was on the other side of the divide, and was full of inside stories and jokes. He suggested that year that I join him- immediately. I was surprised by the notion that I could so suddenly change from camper to staffer- that I could stay beyond that Saturday all the way through the end of the summer. I somehow had the idea that I would not meet the high standards of the camp, and anyway needed to warm up to the idea, so that year I declined.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flow Of Energy

I love going out and doing things. It wasn't always so that I either felt that way or had the opportunity. I mostly have had only a few friends, and if they weren't up for something, it was another weekend spent at home with tv, books and the computer. Over time, though, I've become more sociable, my circle of friends has gotten larger, and I've consequently had more opportunities to go out and do things. It remains a thing of curiosity to me. Specifically, I take an interest in the progression of energy- what one might more properly call the emotional arc- I feel which surrounds the event.

It starts with anticipation. I would hardly be the first to observe that this is the most consistently satisfying part of the experience. I'd say that the longer you have before it has to be spoiled, the better. Whether it's a date, a platonic encounter or a party, it always achieves perfection in the mind beforehand. This is true at least if you want to do the thing. Sometimes it does live up to the imagination, and even exceeds it, but usually the most you can hope for is that it comes close.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The NFL Draft

As a boy, I watched the Cincinnati Bengals select Dan Wilkinson with the first pick of the 1994 NFL Draft. I was enthralled, and listened to the commentators first speculate about who might be picked, and then breathlessly hail Wilkinson as the finest defensive lineman conceivable once he had been announced. I then remained engaged as the telecast proceeded to present the same thing over and over for the better part of that day. It went on even through most of the next day. It seemed thrilling and important. In retrospect, I was displaying all the maturity one would expect of an eleven year old by deeming the exercise worth my time.

The NFL's player draft goes back to 1936, for most of the intervening years was of interest to no one except the teams themselves. It wasn't long before my first experience that the draft was handled by conference call. Who would ever have guessed that people would actually sit still and watch it?  The bulk of the broadcast consists of "experts" make baseless guesses about what moves teams will make. This is punctuated every fifteen minutes by some middle aged man coming out and reading a name into a microphone. Some college player in a blazer and striped tie comes out grinning, and poses for a picture with the middle-aged man while holding a jersey and wearing an unpleasant-looking ballcap.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Misery Loves Misery

Following current events is an essential component of being informed, but it frequently comes at the expense of morale. Each days leaves me more knowledgeable about the sorry state of affairs. There are consistently new depths plumbed in exploration of the human condition, and all too seldom are there any new heights to balance them out. Something that's been interesting to learn is how little people desire to be secure against emotional and mental offense; indeed, they seem to seek out and embrace such outrages.

Far be it for me to suggest that there's nothing to be offended by: if you're not mad, you're not paying attention. Even so, one can see people performing magic tricks of outrage daily. The meaning of the word 'scandal' seems to have been entirely debased or lost altogether. They once applied to shocking outrages of earth-shaking significance. The Pentagon Papers and Watergate were the real deal. The "unsafe at any speed" Corvair and the poisoned Tylenol meant something. Society got a taste for it, I guess- started to pine for it every day- now we desperately scrape for something to make due with.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Give The People What They Want?

I draw today's title from an old axiom of publishing, as I am presently contemplating the wisdom in it. It hasn't escaped me that the nature of what I write does not exactly feed into popular interests even within people very much like myself. I haven't done anything deliberately except to write consistently and to write about things that interest me. Should I be taking the sort of work I've turned out so far and shaping it so radically that it has no more than the essence remaining? I don't ask that with the intention that it sound like a ridiculous question. I just don't really know.

It occurred to me that it might be a little dense in terms of the language I employ. It's all too obvious to me that in writing and in conversation I deploy a number of words that leave the reader and listener either confused or suspecting that I'm making them up. Of course, they're not made up, and neither is my whole manner of speaking some pose to appear more intelligent than I am. Some time ago, I came upon websites that scan a text and grade it in terms of reading difficulty. They consistently rank my work as befitting the middle school student. As I understand it, that puts me a little bit ahead of newspapers and the like as far as that goes. I'm not terribly interested in any effort to make it any easier than that, but wouldn't know how anyway.

Friday, April 23, 2010


During the early days after I had moved to LA, I depended exclusively on public transportation, because I had no car, and few friends. Almost everywhere I went, there was no one I knew who was going there. This wasn't so bad, because I happened to be in a strong area for public transportation: Highland Park. Highland Park is served by the Gold Line light rail, the 81 bus running downtown, and the 83 bus which did likewise, but ran all night long. I seldom faced a situation where these failed to provide the bare minimum in terms of getting somewhere and getting home before morning.

Today, the story is a little different. In the Valley, service is a little more spotty. There's the Red Line subway and the 224, neither of which run all night. The 656 does, but goes only between hollywood and the subway station. Using Metro, I can now only get within 1.7 miles of my home with the same certainty that I once had in getting within yards of my door. Late night remains fully viable, but middle of the night gets tougher. One must cobble together a series of all-night buses, which take a long time and, as I said, bring me only within two miles, necessitating a brisk walk through the less nice area north of the Arts District.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laureates of LA

Last month (unbelievably), I wrote about my belief in the need of each community for artists who pay tribute to it and sing its praises through their craft. I continue to bemoan the dearth (to my knowledge) of any such contemporary heroes back in Arizona. There's something I realized as I thought about it. Excelling in this regard requires the same thing that is required to hit home runs in baseball or be funny in improv comedy.

Namely, you must not try specifically to do the thing. The more effort you expend in so attempting, the further you will fall from the goal. Achieving it comes from sticking to fundamentals and hoping it happens. That being the case, I don't hold it against any particular artist if they don't step up, and so I retract the call I made. The artist must feel it to do it, and no call will help if no artists have shown signs of feeling it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Staircase, No Waiting

Humanity is uniquely subject among animals to fear. For animals, it seems that there's a much greater measure of rationality to the fears- a firmer backing behind them. The cobra fears death at the hands of the mongoose, for example, and is quite right to do so. He furthermore handles that fear in a more productive way than his human counterpart. Perhaps all this is because the power of analytical reasoning is beyond such a creature's ability even to understand as a concept, let alone to attempt. Our knowledge of it is in a sense our downfall, because we then get the erroneous idea that we can do it.

A longstanding fear of mine which has relatively little reason behind it is that of escalators. For whatever reason, I can't stand to go up very steep ones, because they're rather frightening to me. I do it anyway, because I at least have the fortitude to respond to that particular fear correctly, but I assure you that my knuckles are white from the death grip I put on the guide rail. I start off fairly ordinary, but the longer it goes on, the more formidable an escalator that suggests, and I start getting more and more anxious, approaching the point of losing it entirely just as my feet find purchase on the surface of the ground or floor that dastardly mechanism leads to.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Sawbuck In My Pocket And A Song In My Heart

Years ago, I read something interesting about the origin of a now-ubiquitous radio format. A man in that industry was in some bar, and couldn't help but notice how the jukebox was being used by patrons. It had a large and varied selection of records, and yet the barflies, with unfailing consistency, fed their quarters in and chose the same songs, over and over again. He determined that the majority of money was spent picking just forty songs altogether. As you might imagine, this gave him the idea that a radio station doing the same thing would make out very well, and thus was born unto the world Top 40 radio.

Far from cursing him or the rubes who inspired him, as I might be expected to, I am somewhat more inclined to laud him for his great perceptiveness and wisdom. The fact that it obviously worked (proving that the idea behind it was entirely sound) is only part of my reasoning. The other part is that I myself have proven myself to be cut from the selfsame cloth as the rubes. As with the observation that I sometimes repeat myself, this one came from a new-tech means of tracking.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Repeating Myself: How I Repeat Myself

I began this blog with no over-arching theme or subject other than myself, and as it has gone on, it has been my predilections that have given it shape. I have made some effort to track this with labels on each post. Initially, individual entries contained disparate areas of content that would now each warrant their own post, but it has for some time been the case to have one post and one topic. This has enabled me to see what might be called a flaw in myself. As the title of this post indicates plainly, it's repetition.

I had some inkling that I repeat myself a lot simply from the thought that has often cropped up during conversations that I've expressed myself the same way in part or in whole during some previous conversation. Sometimes I feel certain that I'm have the exact same conversation with someone I haven't spoke to since I first met them some long time ago. Until I'm well into it, I don't realize it, and don't feel I can break it off since the other person never shows any sign of recalling the previous conversation (this perhaps reflects another failing- that of an underwhelming impression I would seem to be making).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wit (And Brevity, The Soul Thereof)

As promised yesterday, a consideration of the claim (made twice fairly recently regarding my writing) that less is more. I'm inclined to agree, generally speaking. A short is not more than a feature, for stories are of a size to demand one or the other. Once determined, however, the story must be cut down to the smallest size at which it can possibly have the hoped-for results. It comes down to the shocking and provocative axiom I once heard, and it goes as follows- Sometimes you have to kill your children.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Building A Better Attention Span

In the most recent of my sketch comedy writing sessions, an apparent fault has appeared in my work. We have just gotten to sharing scripts based on the outlines shared previously. At that time, a number of tweaks promised to enhance my two projects. Those benefits look as if they will indeed be realized, but a problem looms nonetheless in the overly-long and loose nature of the scripts. As they say, brevity is the soul of wit, and my scripts are not as brief as they can be while still getting the job done (You can expect a post on that soon enough).

This had me thinking about attention spans. I don't reject the wisdom of confining myself to a script which yields two to three minutes of screen time in this case. They can be really good under those conditions- maybe as good as they can be under any conditions. I maintain that they could be as good and possibly even better if granted the space for a greater scope. This at least would be the case if the computer desk-bound entertainment seeker could be relied upon to pay attention for longer than three minutes. Why can't he (or at least why isn't he)?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where (And Whether) To Lay The Blade

The economy being how it has been over the last few years, anyone reading will have faced a budget which concerns them getting slashed. Whether it's that of your employer, your local government or your previously dependable morning newspaper, you must have given it more than a passing though. I know that I have, and have come to some conclusions (possibly of an erroneous nature, but at least I come by inaccuracies honestly).

The first thought is of whether budget cuts are the right thing to do. Certainly, it would seem obvious that when expenditures amount to 100,000 dollars and revenues less than half that, the two figures must be made to agree with one another. I don't think that cutting expenditures is for the greater good. You are then, of course, able to meet expenses- for the time being. I feel confident in saying, though, that this only leads revenues to drop further. You then cut the budget more, provoking another decline in revenues. When the axe falls, the one wielding it always claims that "we're going to have to do more with less". This is illogical nonsense. You can only do less with less. To do even the same, to say nothing of more, you must conjure up more funds.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Use Your Words!

I must confess that I would make a poor English teacher beyond the enthusiasm I could call upon for the subject. I could not in most cases delineate why one sentence or paragraph works and another fails to. I put together a sentence only by feel, not by following the rules. I hated sentence diagrams, which failed entirely to illuminate anything for me. I would say that to the extent that I have any grasp of English grammar and vocabulary, it can be said to have been a case of "monkey see, monkey do".

Well-composed writing is as pleasing as that which it seeks to convey. When it's put together poorly in any respect, it hampers the writer's objectives. I find that much of what I encounter cries out to me for polishing. As much as this happens with the work of amateurs, it happens surprisingly often with alleged professionals, who are quite capable of doing better (regardless of deadline) but misjudge the value of expending more effort. Whichever category you are in, hear me well and you may benefit from the thinking of someone of such a modest status as I.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How To Sleep

Sleeping is a constant struggle. I got to thinking about it during a recent bout with the Sandman- one which was almost not at all notable. it could have been any of several during the last week alone, distinguishable only by their varying levels of intensity. If I take a nap, that makes two in one day. As always, this spell of insomnia (as I call it, though I can't claim to have received any professional diagnosis) was prolonged by my overactive mind, and I kept jotting down one more idea.

I've always had a harder time sleeping than those around me. In pre-school, the other children were fine during nap time. The teachers arranged us en masse on thin blue and red mats during the day and ordered us to sleep within a narrow time frame, and all of that was wrong for me. I would lie motionless on my mat as instructed and wait impatiently for nap time to end. My thoughts might or might not have made the time partially productive, but I can't recall.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Discovering The Minefield

When the Bush administration was assembling the Coalition of the Willing, a disputed story was send out by UPI which stated that the North African nation of Morocco had offered to contribute monkeys towards the war effort. The purpose of said monkeys was for clearing minefields. Either the offer was not actually made or it was and we declined it. Either way, it didn't happen because finding and clearing land mines the cheap way tends to produce grisly casualties, and no one wants to see monkey casualties. I was reminded of that story when I started thinking about various perils in life which we unwittingly discover to our own detriment but to the benefit of those who come after us.

Recently, I went to a local convenience store to make a purchase. It was my intent to pay with debit card. Once I had brought my selection (one which by its nature could not be put back) to the register, I was advised that the system was in the process of re-booting, or some such thing. The point was that the card would not suffice, and neither would the amount of cash I had on hand. I resigned myself to withdrawing cash from the store's own ATM, thus committing myself to pay money so that I could access my money.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thinking About Drinking

A recent birthday celebration for a friend had me ruminating afresh on the subject of my drinking policy. I enjoy drinking, but it's a long way from being essential in any facet of my social life. I do not make a point of stocking any at home, and do not decide on committing to social outings on the basis of alcohol provision. It's a nice little plus when it's there, but only a bit more so than any ordinary drink.

Any particular non-alcoholic drink could rise above an alcoholic counterpart in my estimation. A cold, frosty cream soda would be so remarkable and welcome that it would provoke in me a much more favorable response than some non-descript alcohol. Of course, less commonly provided liquors such as bourbon, ouzo or absinthe would outshine beer, wine and Irish, Scotch or Tennesee whiskey by a long shot.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thinking Criminally

From time to time, the matter of safety from crime comes up here where I live. Sometimes it's something I read that others don't see, and yet when I'm out and about, it's most often those around me who feel unsafe and I who fail to see any particular reason for concern. Often I make a quick trip on foot out to the mailbox late at night, and am surprised to be cautioned about doing so. Other times, ladies leaving a party or other social engagement at a similar hour either request escort or have it foisted upon them. That's a reasonable course of action, of course. I just don't think of it because I generally don't feel unsafe except in the worst quarters of the city.

It isn't that I'm unaware of my surroundings. I guess that I just have a different methodology for determining whether or not it's warranted to feel unsafe. Frequently the outcome is the same either way. When I was ignorant of what was what downtown, I was definitely ill at ease when walking through the Fashion District at night. The thing is just that for me, red flags are raised by more than tents on the sidewalk and young men displaying commonly recognized gang paraphernalia.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ruminations On Cable

I have lately been thinking about the maturation of cable television. It began before my time, but I have recollections of what it was at least as far back as the early 90s. Prior to that (but after the age of three or so), we had no cable and I didn't watch tv. I recall the tv we had, but I didn't think anything of it and cannot recall making an effort to watch it. I was more interested at the time in playing outside and using my imagination.

One day we decided to get cable. I remember vividly how I watched with such interest as the man roamed around the grounds of our house making holes in the house and affixing the cables with nails. I think that cable was provided by some company called Freedom Cable or Communications or something. They were eventually swallowed up by Cox. Anyway, the man proceeded to install the set-top boxes required at the time, and turned the channel to Nickelodeon. That was all I watched for years.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Them that die will be the lucky ones!"

When I was a boy, I was as awkward and uncoordinated as you might expect. I really don't think I've gotten any better except that perhaps I now have a better understanding of my limitations. My athletic exploits often resulted in hurt feelings, and less often in getting hurt. There was a lot of gasping for breath during basketball games. I was struck by a thrown ball once in Little League, recovering quickly thanks to the canny direction of the coach to go get a drink of water. I recall aching ankles during grade school intramural flag football, when I was a nose tackle. Even then, I didn't really have the body for it. I guess it reflected the makeup of our team and the attitude of our coach about inclusiveness.

The worst incident took place on a school field trip to the roller skating rink. One laced up the old-fashioned roller skates, and just skated in circles over and over for hours while what it's hard to believe was popular music of the day played over the speakers. I don't recall finding it terribly stimulating. Maybe it was boredom which distracted my focus, for at one point that day, I pitched forward and hit the rink face-first. Conventional human behavior is for reflexes to instinctively take over and force the hands to shoot out and take the impact rather than the critical brain-containing skull. I have always been something of an outlier, and failed to acquiesce to reflexes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiny Inroads

Regulars will have noted by now the implementation of a new commenting system, which I hope will prove more effective and graceful (those with difficulties ought to consult me forthwith). This has gotten me writing about writing the blog once again. At the time of my belated first anniversary here at the blog, I bemoaned its apparently limited impact, but expressed resolve to stick it out. I knew that I had some readers, but believed that they were exclusively people known to me personally. I take pride in what I've got here, and believe it to be a good and fine thing, but there was no evidence that people outside of my immediate circle were even aware of it, let alone coalescing as a following. This was something I was determined to change, and I have assiduously made efforts to do so since.

Whereas I once infrequently checked subscriber data and banished the hit counter for lousing up the look of the page, I have lately embraced both things (and make an effort to find and make use of other tools to supplement them). Checking the latest data has become a regular force of habit, and reminds me a bit of the population totals on Battlestar Galactica. I do it so that I can try to shape and deliver what I offer in an appealing way, but I do enjoy the process in itself. There's an emotional investment in the numbers akin to the box scores in the sports section.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What A World We Live In

The other day I was thunderstruck by a recently-wrought feat of technology. It so happens that it was an application made for the Android OS-based cell phones commonly thought of as Google phones. There are a lot of those applications, and many extend use of a website to the phone where ordinary use of the website exceeds the phone's capacity. Others are modest standalone concepts, or ones that simply don't work. This one is an independent tool so effective and breathtaking that its first successful implementation elicited from me a shocked exclamation of profanity, and each since has led me to burst out in hysterical laughter.

It's a bar code scanner. Lest I look like George H.W. Bush (i.e. out of touch), let it just be said that this ability was previously unknown in telephones, and one would expect that an attempt to make a program for them that does it would end in ignominy. I honestly and truly thought that it would be deeply flawed, working occasionally if at all. What I found was that it works in all cases when it would be reasonable to expect that the product could be located via bar code by anyone. Sometimes it seems to find things in the unreasonable category. Made short work of so far have been products such as off-brand napkins, convenience store hot dog containers and beverages contained in aluminum cans and glass bottles.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I was saying to a friend how scheduling used to be very easy for me. First, there was nothing to schedule apart from eating, sleeping and work, because no one offered me anything to do. That changed when I began to be invited to a monthly event. That went on the calendar, never to be threatened by a conflict or crowded by anything happening on another day of the week. I would look forward to it all month while watching dvds alone or working with people who I only saw outside of work if there was a wrap party. It was when I met my current roommate and moved in that things began to change.

I now have a bewilderingly large and wide-spread community of friends, acqaintances and well-wishers from whom I receive invitations for activities ranging from the improv and acting stuff that largely defines it to events as far afield as church and exercise. For a time, there was one thing to do most nights, and I did it. Empty nights I spent resting, reflecting, and doing the solo activities which had been reduced from their previous exclusive hold on my time. There are still nights like that, and there have to be, so long as they're the exception.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Brief Announcement

I'm sorry to divert from the scintillating writing which is this blog's stock and trade, but I want to give full and undivided attention to important news regarding Vessel Of Knowledge: Corporate and administrative functions will now be transferred to a newly-created home office in Yucaipa, California. I myself will remain in LA, and there will be no change to the high quality of prose which you have come to expect from the blog.

Operating entirely from Los Angeles has been great, but it is a luxury rendered increasingly unjustifiable by the state of information technology. Real estate prices remain in the nation's upper tier, and we have increasingly chafed at the hindrances posed by the oppressive, archaic tax structure and the intrusive regulations imposed by local bureaucracy. This move will help to ensure the blog's continued financial security and stability, and thus its ability to continue facilitating my work.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Be Warned!

I have come to the realization that a specter looms over me. It is one most tangible, though it takes on a new face and name with each malevolent, insidious attack. I now believe it to be in truth the mythical Minotaur of Crete. I know this now because it employs a labyrinth to entrap me. I say the Minotaur is insidious because the labyrinth now is a metaphorical one rather than a real one of brick and mortar. My most recent brush with the villainous thing took a mild toll, but made me realize that I may be left in no condition to tell the tale the next time. That being the case, permit me to outline the Minotaur's methods.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sit Down, Stand-Up!

I've been doing improv comedy for a while, but it wasn't my first interest in live comedy. That would be stand up comedy, which I worked up the nerve to do a couple of times. I think I came to it first out of my natural leaning towards being something of an anti-social loner as opposed to a more outgoing person. Stand-up is great in part because you are an island: your act need not be influenced by any outside force, and what you want it to be is what it will be. The attention is entirely on you, so you don't have to compete for it. That was very hard for me at the time.

Over time, I changed some as a person, and it was at least partly for good. Things like socializing, teamwork and listening have become a lot easier for me to manage, and so I like to think I've become a little more well-suited to cooperative comedy. I still see in my problems with improv an aptitude for standup, and so I have gotten very interested in trying once again to pursue that, albeit concurrently. That being the case, I've devoted considerable thought to how to do it. I mean partly the practical consideration of establishing myself, but mainly how to create a really funny act.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Trappings Of The Old Show

I was thinking the other day about old television and radio broadcasts. Before I started mentally ranting about the television networks' abandonment of their civic duty in the news division, I was thinking about how a show would begin- that is to say, the little snippet before the opening credits. To see it now, it feels quite indicative of the times, and definitely puts me in the right state of mind to watch a show of whichever period. Some times, the announcer would proudly declare the network's employment of some new technology. The roll-out of color television took place over a long period of time, so many shows over a number of years were thusly tagged.

I observed another example of the broadcast preamble from watching 'All In The Family' the other day. Before that classic song plays and we see Archie and Edith together at the piano, we hear the words, "From Television City in Hollywood!" They're spoken by a smooth and deep voiced man of even an earlier era than the show- a man after Archie Bunker's own heart, it can be imagined. I have no small amount of admiration for that announcer, and what he and others do for a living. It's a powerful instrument he had. To have been able to use it then with that material to work with would really have been something.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When Your Friends Are Sick Of You

It's interesting the things that strain a friendship. A lack of things in common dooms things from the start. Shakespeare advised that one should neither a lender nor a borrower be, and money is oft at the heart of discord. Should one friend be overly needy, that can be an issue. That's just one way in which friendship can be harmed by one overlooking the interests of the other. In short, there are plenty of reasons why friends might arrive at loggerheads. To me, one of the most interesting is illness.

People loathe getting sick. The child is content with any excuse to stay home from school, as he is most commonly secure in the knowledge that the parent will see to his health and financial standing as always. The adult has no such assurances, and avoids disease like the plague, so to speak. That means avoiding the diseased. If I saved one of my closest friends from an assassin's bullet and appeared the next day red-faced, sneezing and coughing, I would read in that person's face not gratitude or admiration, but frantic worry and terror. Should I then fail to shrink away, I would then be resented for jeopardizing that person's life and well-being.