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GOOD NIGHT, JOHN BOY
9 March 2007
Richard Thomas has had a long and successful theatrical career since the Walton family said its last good night, but when I saw the flyer for the upcoming production of 12 Angry Men, part of Sacramento's Broadway Series, all I could think of was "John Boy meets Norm."
George Wendt plays Juror #1 (the foreman) and Thomas is Juror #8 (the Henry Fonda part, in the 1957 movie). The credits for the entire cast are impressive, but Wendt and Thomas are the "big names" intended to draw in the audience.
Straight plays don't do as well, audience-wise, as musicals, so the huge Sacramento Community Center wasn't full, which is a shame because it was a fabulous production...so good that once Wendt and Thomas make their entrance, you immediately forget that they ever had done anything else but play the roles of two jurors in a murder case.
Sacramento audiences are notorious for giving standing ovations to everything, whether it deserves it or not. I swear that they hire people in the front rows to stand up because the only way you can actually see what's going on on stage is to stand up too--and I really resent being blackmailed into giving a show that did not deserve it a standing ovation (well, I stand, but I skip the "ovation" part!).
However, we had no problem whatsoever for standing to applaud the 13 men (12 jurors and one guard) in this show. It's the kind of show that makes sitting through all the less interesting shows worthwhile, the sort of show we would have missed if I weren't a critic. I'd be one of those people sitting at home, missing out on a special evening.
Then, of course, I had to come home to write the review. My editor was going to be gone for the day, so I needed to submit it to the Big Editor, which means that I had to be extra careful in the writing, since she will just print it as I write it, without doing the editing that the entertainment editor does on it.
Naturally before I could finish the review, I had to watch American Idol and futz around the house, so that it was 1 a.m. before I decided to call a halt and finish it at the crack of dawn in the morning (got up at 5:30 and had it e-mailed off by 6:30).
[Yes, I'm back home again, back into the old groove. I need to have a huge sign hanging over my desk that says "I love work: I can sit and look at it for hours."]
Today I waited for a couple of hours for the Comcast repair guy to show up. I've been getting increasingly irritated with the quality of Comcast broadcasts on the DVR box. For a long time there has been a red "halo" around human figures on some stations. I've adjusted to it, but when I think about it, it's very irritating.
Then when I went to my mother's, I set up the DVR to record my usual "can't miss" programs, which include The L Word on Showtime. I had 7 weeks worth of programs to watch, and to record for Ellen and Shelly, who don't get Showtime.
The first four episodes went well, but the fifth episode was unwatchable. The picture pixellated badly, stalled, and there was no sound. Pixellation has been a consistent problem for some time now, but never quite this bad. The whole think reminded me of some of my mother's puzzles--you couldn't even identify figures as figures. Just all looked like a Jackson Pollack painting. Same problem with the sixth episode.
By the time I got to the 7th, I was really steaming, but that seemed to start OK. However, about halfway through, the pixellation started again and the thing became unwatchable.
We also were having problems with just getting some stations. I'd turn on Keith Olbermann on MSNBC at night and for three nights in a row got a message that the station would "be ready soon." At the same time, the regular cable box in my office got the station just fine, so it obviously was a problem on our end, not the station's end. Walt mentioned having problems with the NBS sports station and with one of the PBS stations.
This morning the stations seemed to be back and running again, except for one. Fortunately I had started to record The L Word, so I had an example of the pixellation to show the guy when he got here.
He was a very pleasant, very thorough young man who did a lot of investigating inside and outside. He finally declared that he had isolated the problem. He found this:
It appears that Ms. Lizzie has found a teething toy. The damage is too extensive to have been done by puppies. The problem has now been fixed and my retired husband has been charged with finding a way to block it off so she can't get to it again.
(He'd rather say "Good night, Lizzie" and send her packing, but I somehow don't see that happening!)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2535