I think the official first post of my new blog should just be a rambling exercise in catching up. I’m still distraught over inadvertently ending my old blog, and not being able to post there anymore. There may be a solution to this, but I’m just going to take this tack for now, and keep on writing. I want to make a comparison with Hemingway’s first wife Hadley losing his manuscripts on a train, and this helps because it definitely is not that bad—plus I’m no Hemingway.
I should be writing a post for my joint blog with my sister Emily about going to see a Dead show in 1990, but I’m procrastinating for some reason. I was thinking the other day, always a dangerous thing, and I realized that because of blogging, I’ve been able to keep in touch with my three sisters more than any other time since our childhood. The World Wide Web has made it so I can let everyone know what’s going on and they can fill me in as well, a little like visiting each other’s rooms long ago. Emily’s blog is a bit like Emily’s room was when we were kids. There a green motif, and much to think about from Emily. And a lot of laughter. My sister Forsyth’s blog is much the same way. She was at college for the latter part of my childhood, and her blog is full of great posts, but she posts with less frequency. So a post from Forsyth is like when she would come home from college with the coolest music anyone had ever heard. Lindsay has a web-site, which fits as well, as Lindsay was often a doer, not a sayer. Her art attests to the fact that what she does, she does very well. Has cyberspace allowed us to tap into that Proustian response without having to eat a forgotten morsel from our childhood? All I know is: I do have a subtle sense of us, as children in our airy farm-house in the South, when I associate our web logs in my mind.
I spent a good portion of the day yesterday working on the front porch. I’m going through a slight blue period right now, it’s complicated to explain, but soon I will tell myself to get a grip, be grateful, and cheer up! But it isn’t time for that, and I’ll just allow myself to feel this way for a day or two more. One thing that helps is trying to keep busy, and I did that yesterday by cleaning off the porch rails, hosing down all the porch furniture, painting a bench and staining the very Adirondack chair where I am now sitting. Most of the day I listened to music coming out of my front window. I listened to the new Beck, Acoustic Syndicate, The Shins, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, Sting’s Dream of the Blue Turtles and was into Thelonious Monk’s Monk’s Music when Margaret came home during a particularly raucous drum solo and made me turn it down. I can’t enjoy music if it is annoying someone else, a trait I wish everyone had, so I finished painting the bench to the sounds of barking dogs and chirping birds.
Last night I watched a show that is very popular right now called House. Hugh Laurie plays a Sherlock Holmesesque neurologist, named House, who is addicted to vicodin and is prickly and pompous. His character I could do without, but I like Laurie, who played either Wooster or Jeeves, Lindsay will let me know which in her comment. In this particular episode, a kid was dying of leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant from his brother. For this to happen, the donor had to be infection free, and the first scene ends with the donor-brother pointedly sneezing. House decides that the only way to isolate the virus in the donor is to make the kid sicker by soaking him in freezing cold water. Then, in the pathology lab, two other doctors discover that the kid has an infection in his heart. They rush into the room where the kid is soaking wet, shivering and sneezing while someone ladles icy water over him. They tell him and his parents that they have to perform open-heart surgery right away. When they get him on the operating-table with his heart exposed for all of TV land to see, they discover that the infection is non-life threatening and that the surgery wasn’t really necessary after all. All of this occurs while another doctor does something extremely unorthodox, at least for FOX network script writers, he looks for an alternate donor.
Now I’m out on a limb here because I didn’t see the end of the episode—a friend who was returning to Nantucket the next day came by and we sat on the porch—but I just know that if I ever end up in an imaginary hospital where a vicodin addict is playing guess the treatment on me, I’d run to where the medical care is better, say the Urals or somewhere. I don’t know the outcome, but I wonder if the moral (American TV still has to have morals, although it’s lamely hidden by quirky character flaws) ended up being that Dr. House was reckless and pushed the envelope too much (this is usually the moral for the show anyway). Still, I couldn’t help making the comparison between House’s medical team and program developers at the FOX network. I supposed that this is how FOX brainstorming goes as well.
“Well ratings have dropped overall by half a point.”
“Don’t worry; we still have the adolescent male moron demographic in the bag.”
“Yea, we’ll never lose that, but we need a new push, we don’t want Murdoch to start asking questions.”
“Ooohh, no way, did you hear what he did to that guy over at the New York Post.”
“Yea, I heard he spent nine hours in surgery getting the didgeridoo removed.”
“We better think of something new.”
One team member walks over to a dry erase board and starts writing.
“Let’s start with the basics: Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, A dessert island, superficial spoiled upper-middle class Americans, Jerry Springer, gross things that we can make people eat for money, easily exploitable working-class people who will show their breasts for cash, and a goat.”
“Since when did a goat become a basic.”
“A goat is always a basic, ever since Nicole Ritchie tried to milk one.”
“Besides, a goat is the universal symbol of perversity.”
“Yup, I forgot.”
“How about we take gross things that we can make people eat for money and we add Donald Trump.”
“Yes, I like it. We can get Donald to say You’re Fired! to the ones who regurgitate.”
“How much is Donald’s going rate for saying You’re Fired! now.”
“He’s upped it to a cool million, per word”
“Yep, a million for You’re, and another for Fired!”
“That seems like a lot.”
“Something’s got to pay for all that office space he can’t fill. Besides he throws the exclamation point in for free.”
A young guy down the table starts to gesture wildly. “I’ve got it, I’ve got the perfect thing that we can get people to eat—Donald Trump’s actual hair-piece!”
“Oh my God! Now that’s just gross Higgins, besides The Donald would never go for it.”
“What if we offered him cash.”
“Hmmm, could work, we’ll come back to that. Now, let’s think of another combination. How about mixing Jerry Springer and superficial spoiled upper-middle-class Americans?”
“That’s a good one. Like I can see the first episode: My boyfriend took my cell-phone and put his ecstasy dealer on speed-dial. Well, that one needs some work. How about: I met someone on My Space and fell in love, only to find out that it was my Uncle Lougi posing as a hot Valley Girl. Or: My girlfriend put the entire Coldplay catalogue in my car’s CD changer and welded the trunk shut and super-glued the volume knob on ten. That actually happened me.”
“We need to keep going on this.”
“How about Goat Island?”
“Ross, we’ve been through this before, it would never work.”
“Yes it would, we just need to convince Nicole Ritchie to do it.”
“It’s too extreme, even for FOX.”
“Nothing is too extreme for FOX.”
“You’ve got a point there.”
“Just picture it, thirty contestants, a heard of goats, Nicole Ritchie, all on a desert island with nothing but a will to survive and….”
“Don’t go there Ross.”
“Well you have to give them a way of getting off the island.”
“Ross, we’re not ready for this, maybe next season, We’re going with, “I Ate The Donald’s Hairpiece.”
“I like it.”
“Now, let’s have lunch.”