If you knew me years ago, you’d know that on Wednesday nights you risked incurring my wrath by calling between the hours of nine and ten at night. “The West Wing” was on and it was my drug of choice. When the girls were babies, they’d occasionally have trouble sleeping. If the husband was around, it was his job to make them invisible during that time. If I was single parenting, I’d let them cry until they started rattling the sides of their cribs like unjustly accused prisoners in a jail cell, then curse my existence as a mother and tend to them. I’m not an idiot so of course I starting taping “The West Wing” after fearing continued interruptions, but I was resentful. Taping it meant I couldn’t watch it right away and when you’re addicted to anything, delayed gratification isn’t part of the gig. When TiVo came around, it changed our lives. My stress level was reduced to historic lows and remains there to this day. I watch television when I want to, how I want to. What more can we ask of technology? I digress.
“The West Wing” was the best television in the history of the medium (my opinion, somewhat amplified due to a second cup of strong coffee) because it was Aaron Sorkin. When it went away, I died a little. Then came “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, Sorkin’s take on “Saturday Night Live”, which was fun but not political. Three weeks ago, “The Newsroom” debuted on HBO and, for me, it felt like the beginning of the football season and the Jets were favored to win the Super Bowl. Episode 1 did not disappoint. Sorkin’s dialogue was medicinal. I was deeply concerned, however, after a poorly directed Episode 2 forced me to listen to clever-clever dialogue delivered in unnatural rhythms. When the husband told me he’d heard at work that Episode 3 was a winner, I made a beeline for the television and let out an enormous sigh of relief when it was apparent Sorkin did, in fact, want to inspire us all to change the world with his take on Congress and the Tea Party. I wept the other night after Episode 4 when Sorkin belittled viewers – in a kind and gentle way – for their compulsion with Snooki and the Kardashians. (I have no such compulsion but am oddly interested in Tom and Katie’s five-minute divorce.) People, watch this show. It’s good for all of us. Let’s question the status quo, not only regarding the 24-hour news cycle that too often leads us astray, but also about Washington and how we allow our elected leaders to muck it all up. “The Newsroom”, HBO, 9pm. (It repeats about seventy-three times during the week.)
A few other items in short order:
Are Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and Fun’s “We Are Young” the only two songs that were written and recorded in the last three months? Because they are the only two songs playing on the radio when I’m in the car.
We’ve been to the beach several times in the past few weeks and the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica feels as if a polar ice cap just melted nearby. The water here is always chilly but this is wetsuit cold. I hear wetsuits can be slimming.
Monday night, we went to see the US Women’s volleyball team play Bulgaria before they head to London on Friday for the Olympics. The team is amazing, the women are all six feet tall and above (except maybe the libero) and the star is an opposite attacker from Texas named Destinee Hooker. I wish that were not her name.
Tina Fey’s Bossypants is the funniest book I’ve ever read (first week of summer). Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (second week of summer) is not funny and better suited to women approaching sixty with grown children, but someone handed it to me so I read it. I’ve been a fan of Quindlen since her New York Times “Life in the 30s” column back in the 80s and she’s a terrific writer but I didn’t need this book right now. Third week of summer, I started Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and simply cannot get into it, though I’m determined to finish it before I move on. I know I ask this a lot, but what are you reading?
We put in a new lawn months ago. The dogs peed on it and ruined it in short order. I fixed it, they ruined it again. Nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, is there a solution for this problem. Tomato juice in their food is a fallacy. It’s as much Jack’s fault as Shelby’s (our girl dog). Like that commercial from long ago – They can send a man to the moon but they can’t…come up with a grass that can withstand dog urine? Seriously? Sure, they could be trained to pee in one spot but who’s gonna train them? Me? Don’t think so.
The Olympics begin next Friday, July 27th, with the opening ceremonies in London. However, soccer fans should know that the preliminary rounds begin next Wednesday. The US women play France and NBC is providing coverage on a dedicated NBC Olympic soccer channel. Check with your provider for details. I’m an Olympic addict. If Aaron Sorkin wrote the Olympics, I’d die of an overdose.
Daily Cup of Jo has been scant during these summer weeks and as much as you all miss me, I miss you more. Promise to try and write more if you promise to tell me how to fix my lawn.
Life, Politics, Reviews, Wednesday