Saturday, January 31, 2015

Parenthood and money

Just finished watching the last episode of Parenthood. I think one thing most of us like about Parenthood is the idealized picture it gives of the American dream. In Parenthood if you are in the hospital you will have twenty relatives sleeping in the waiting room. Are families really like that?

It also presents a world where average people can start schools, run for mayor, start construction companies, recording studios, photography studios, dance studios,  and on top of that hire their relatives. Is it really true?

Look at Hank. He runs a photography shop in Berkeley, where the rent is $30 a square foot. An average photographer makes less than $30,000 a year according to the Occupational Outlook Survey. He eschews digital. I know he gets outside jobs but I've never seen a customer in the store. Yet he can afford to hire Sarah and at the end of the show gives a job to Max.

I would imagine it would be very hard to run a successful recording studio in Northern California yet Crosby and Adam do it, and can hire their niece to boot. Camille could afford to go to art school in France for a month but Zeek never mentions the money. Kristina had enough money to run for mayor, hire her niece, and then start a school.

How can Crosby and Jasmine afford a house? How are Drew and Haddie able to board at college? How can Amber afford to have a baby?

Okay, okay, there is a little bit of "television magic" involved here. Since the start of television people have lived in nicer houses than their careers seemed to be able to support. However, Parenthood purports to show a typical American family. My theory is that all of the Bravermans have trust funds that are helping to support them. That is why everyone is so nice to Zeek.

Hank got money when he was injured photographing the war and has a nest egg from that. That is my theory and I'm going to stick to it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Duh I thought it was funny

This ad was pulled from the Super Bowl. I though it was funny.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Girls Season 3

I have been reviewing Girls every year and now I am onto Season 3. Yes I know they are showing Season 4 now but I'm too cheap to get HBO and have to rely on Netflix (the DVD version). Anyway, I finally saw Season 3.

In this season the "girls" seem to be moving on from adolescence to adulthood. They are starting to grow up. Adam, especially, is becoming a more mature person (although "I must concentrate on being an actor" phase is a little much). Hannah had a real job working for GQ, Shoshanna is aging from a cute college kid to an annoying young adult, Marnie is becoming the musical one (I see her with a real career in sitcoms after her Peter Pan debut). Jessa is the oldest but also acts the most immature. Still she is the pretty one and the edgy one, the one who is always the center of interest in any scene she is in. One new character who is weird but loveable is Caroline, Adam's sister. Sorry Lena but she is directly out of a Woody Allen Movie. 

I guess not wanting to imitate Sex in the City, the summer place scene took place on the North Shore of Long Island rather than the Hampton's. One feature of that episode is we got to see Hannah in a bathing suit.

Editor's note: I wonder if this is product placement for a cellulite removal system. 

Young girl's living in New York is one of the standard genres of tv and the movies. Sort of like westerns. In the sixties there was That Girl and Breakfast at Tiffany's. In the 90's and early 00's there was Sex and the City. In the teens there is Girls and Broad City (I don't count Too Broke Girls).  To be young, hip, female and living in the city. Us older men have to watch tv to discover what life is like for this trope.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oh Mother you wouldn't believe the dive bar I go to now

Recently, The Star Ledger of New Jersey had a poll where it asked viewers to vote for their favorite dive bars. I recognized some of the places, but to be honest, although interesting places they weren't really "dive bars". Real dive bars would not find their way into a poll. It reminded me of the time I was in a bar (the sort of place my father would go after a game of golf with the boys) and I could hear a young twenty something lady on the cell phone telling someone "I'm in my favorite dive bar!"

Young middle class women love to frighten their mothers at holidays and tell them that now they hang out in dive bars. Poor mother will worry nights now, perhaps now that Lisa in on her own in Philadelphia she is hanging around with the wrong sort. Of course in reality the places she goes are far from being true dives. Even Yelp has a category for dive bars that probably includes places that are far from true dives.

I guess most of us like to have a little mystery about us and make the people around us think we are having adventures, perhaps disreputable ones. Sort of like exaggerating the events of a college trip to Mexico. 

The Huffington Post has a cute article about dive bars. Would people who write for the Huffington Post go to such places?  I see the ghost of Charles Bukowski nursing a beer in a bar in Baltimore. A dive bar. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

To surplus

Last night I listened to the Slate Culture Gabfest and they talked to someone from Merriam Webster about how new words or new uses for older words come about. I realized that for the past five years, in my job, I have been hearing and using a new use for the word surplus. It is being used as a verb, at least in my narrow parochial world.

Mrs. A: All these old computers are on the floor. Can we get rid of them before I trip over them?

Miss B: Yes, but you'll have to surplus them. Get Mr. Mustache to surplus them.

Mrs. A: Can you surplus them?

Mr. Mustache: Yes I'll surplus them tomorrow morning.

Surplussing usually means getting on my hand and knees, finding the inventory number, the serial number and the model and writing it down and e-mailing this information to Mrs. A and Miss B. Then someone turns up in a few weeks with a hand truck and carts them off to surplus where they are dismembered or otherwise recycled. That is the process of surplussing. It is used as a verb.

Surplus is a transitive verb. I surplus, he surplussed, my back hurts because I have been surplussing all morning.

I have not seen surplus used as a verb in my quick Google search. Being clever, I sent this information off to the Merriam Webster website for new uses of terms. .

Gender-neutral bathrooms

This news story caught my eye this morning. Apparently to accommodate men who think they are women and vice-versa in Los Angeles they are creating gender neutral bathrooms. I wrote about this topic a few years ago. I guess it's okay. In male dominated bars it would free up the usually empty female facility for men.  I guess men could buy sanitary napkins and use the changing tables if it suited their fancy.

Men usually don't talk that much in bathrooms although there are exceptions. There are men so talkative that they never stop. I know from movies and television women talk at the sink as they are putting on makeup. Here they discuss their dates and their shoes. Now men can eavesdrop on their conversations as they sit on the toilets.

I suspect many members of the fairer sex don't won't their farts and other bodily noises to be within earshot of  men they aren't married to.  It might take away some of their feminine mystery. All to accommodate gender neutral people. I promise not to bring in Aunt Agnes for a guest column.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


So this weekend we are all de-Christmasing our homes. In some ways it is melancholy and sad to say good bye to another season. Of course it's also nice to get rid of all that Christmas clutter. Every year I get more Christmas shopping bags which I store with the other ones. They will come in handy some day, I promise myself. As a young tot I can remember singing Christmas songs backwards as we took down the ornaments from the tree. Someone should make a CD of backwards Christmas songs just for that purpose.

Of course, unlike a month ago I have unwanted presents I will have to find a place for. I don't need a pair of Ray bans to be honest.  At least the globe I can find a space on a table. I'll have to remember to dust it.

So now I'm reprinting a favorite post-Christmas poem of mine.

Another Christmas come and go

The fun the tinsel ho ho ho

But now it’s over no no no

And Santa’s back in the garage.

We sang our hymns and cookies made

But now that cheery time will fade

Christmas visits have been paid

And Santa’s back in the garage.

Oh holy night is now forgotten

Old wool socks replaced by cotton

I was so glad now feeling rotten

And Santa’s back in the garage.

So here’s a toast to the new year

Hot spiced cider replaced by beer

Winter gloom instead of cheer

And Santa’s back in the garage.

Next to the gas for the lawn mower

Near the sand and the snow blower

Spirits high now getting lower

Santa’s back in the garage.