Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Analyzing badness of ONE LIFE TO LIVE in its Prospect Park-produced version.

A lot of soap fans--glad to have their shows back in any form--seem to be superwilling to take without complaint what's handed to them online by the company Prospect Park (which, worried about profit, recently cut the episodes-per-week of ONE LIFE TO LIVE and ALL MY CHILDREN from four to two).

Here's a list of reasons (based on the episodes I've seen) that ONE LIFE TO LIVE is suffering artistically (and, yes, I'm aware that a head writer has been jettisoned since the episodes began prediction) in comparison to its long-running-on-ABC predecessor:
1. Not knocking the Snoop Lion-produced theme song, but the opening-credits sequence is an unfortunate nod to the dancing-cast openers of THE COSBY SHOW.
2. OLTL tends to think that, in its new basic-cable-friendly form (meaning more sexual innuendo, young cast members in underwear, occasional deployment of PG-to-PG-13 language), the younger cast (plus the bedrock Bo-and-Nora older couple) are interested in few other things than what Erica Jong once called the "zipless f---."  And, when in need of variation, there's a few scenes in a nightclub playing tame electronica and with other cast members (including Shenaz Treasury--who left THE MINDY PROJECT, where she played a human being--for this, plus J-Woww from JERSEY SHORE) playing tight-outfitted bar staff.
3. A hallmark of the late-period ABC OLTL was a willingness to cast plus-sized female actors (most notably Kathy Brier, who played Marcie) as viable characters/love interests.  Not happening on Prospect Park's version of the show.  In fact, one character named Destiny (who had a baby with the Matthew Buchanan character) was recast from plus-sized to slim-and-conventionally-gorgeous.
4. One more knock on the young characters: they seem to be little more than selfish louts--particularly the Matthew character (also recast from the ABC series), who doesn't give much of a damn that he's had a child out of wedlock and has little interest in helping in the child's raising.

The new OLTL isn't a complete shambles.  When the storylines center on reliable scene-stealing actors such as Tuc Watkins (David), Robin Strasser (Dorian), Roger Howarth (Todd) and Trevor St. John (Victor), the show most resembles its previous incarnation, albeit in a diminished way.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Arrivederci Roma.

There will be plenty of good memories of this past week's trip to Rome (with day-trips into Tuscany and Florence).  As I walked through the Orto Botanico (botanic garden) in the Trastavere area this afternoon, I savored the clear skies and the peace of visiting a public area on a weekday.

It's good to travel abroad when possible to learn something about other parts of the world--and, also, get some perspective as to one's place in the world.

Hoping that I can regard personal/professional problems as smaller and more manageable after this one-week push of the metaphorical pause button.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hello from Rome.

It's the first vacation in Italy for my wife and I.  We landed at Fiumicino Airport yesterday, slept off our jet lag and explored the immediate neighborhood today.

One thing I noticed was a toy being sold by street vendors on Via Nationale; it's a gelatin-like creature that spreads into a puddle when dropped before reconstituting into the original shape.

There's probably a universal metaphor to be found in the toy, but lingering fatigue isn't helping me to discover it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

AV CLUB site commenter on the final episode of the American OFFICE.

The thing I dislike most about The Office's later seasons is not the dip in quality, but rather, the backlash from the fans. The thing is, I don't blame them. It was sheer loyalty that kept me going through Season 8; hell, I thought about dropping the show more often than not. But here I am; I've watched all 200 or so episodes, and I still will miss it.
The finale had its share of think pieces, but it didn't quite garner the fanfare it deserved. It's essentially come full circle from that small, forgotten show back in 2005; "It should've ended here or there!" and "I haven't watched in forever!" dominate conversations about the current state of The Office, and well, those people are right. But what saddens me is that no one seems to care as it limps off into the sunset. Sure, you have your die-hards and your occasional casual viewers, but we've let these last few seasons tarnish the reputation of the show. It's only natural. The truth is, however, that for a time, The Office was one of the most brilliant things on TV.
It gave us a sweet, genuine, and downright beautiful relationship with Jim and Pam. It gave us fleshed out, complex, and hilarious characters. It gave us Michael Scott. It gave us a wonderful cast (watching the retrospective, I was struck by how much love the cast members had for each other. It's the case for most casts, but man, these are some wonderful people). It gave us a window into the monotony and absurdity of office life, something many of us can relate to. It gave us a plethora of incredibly uncomfortable situations. Most importantly, it gave us some of the most hilarious TV moments, and episodes, of all time. And astonishingly, it lasted 9 seasons, and was able to bring back some of the things we loved the most about the show in this final season. So yes, there were incredible highs, and disastrous lows, but in the end, my favorite moments of this show were, in the words of Michael Scott,
"All of them. I loved them all. Every single one of them."
The Office took an ordinary concept, and it turned it into its own kind of ordinary. And there's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?

Plugging myself: HOLLYWOOD POETRY 2001-2013 - Terry McCarty : Xlibris

HOLLYWOOD POETRY 2001-2013 - Terry McCarty : Xlibris

Available in both paperback and e-book formats for your reading pleasure.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fifteen Years Ago: The passing of Frank Sinatra and the end of SEINFELD.

In the spring of 1998, my then-Significant Other/now-wife and I were vacationing in Santa Barbara when SEINFELD aired its final episode (the "meh" throw-them-in-jail-for-their-sins climax).

We watched the nuclear-hyped Television Event in our hotel room and then were saddened to learn of Frank Sinatra's passing on the eleven p.m. news.

YouTube clip of a scene from the final SEINFELD:

BBC coverage of Frank Sinatra's death from 1998 (volume a bit soft):

Monday, May 6, 2013

Too ironic not to share: RADIUS online journal seeks submissions re series on bullying.

Reprinting this from the RADIUS website ( for your edification:
Radius is currently seeking poems and essays for a special series on Art, Bullying and Culture.
“Bullying” has long been a part of the cultural conversation, but it turned deadly serious in 2010 with the suicides of several teenagers who were bullied for being or being thought to be homosexual. The outcry was enormous and wide-ranging, from several attempts to pass “anti-bullying” legislation, to journalist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, to responses in poems and pop songs.
It’s 2013, and whether anything has changed  remains an open question.
Radius is looking for poems and essays that pick apart the question of bullying, and which look at it through the frame of the journal’s mission: How art works, and how it interacts with the world.
We’re looking for poems that put a human spin on the phenomenon, essays that illustrate the role of bullying in the creative process, and examinations of what effects the conversation has had on the culture.
While Radius is primarily dedicated to poetry, essays do not need be exclusively about that particular art form, but should probably have an arts component. We might, for example, be interested in a non-ironic essay on Taylor Swift’s “Mean” or Katy Perry’s “Firework.” We would also be extremely interested in brief memoirs from artists of any discipline who may have been bullied, and how that effected their artistic paths. As always, we’re open.
The deadline for submission is Midnight Friday, March 15, 2013. To submit, please visit our submissions manager, and use the word “Bullying” in the title.
Thanks, and we look forward to hearing your perspective,
Victor D. Infante
: Poetry From the Center to the Edge

Here's my perspective on bullying--starting with a re-quote of something the Editor-In-Chief Victor Infante wrote to me years ago (taken from a previous post titled NAME OMITTED AND THE UNDERBELLY OF POETRY):
"First off, I'm sorry I called you a jerk. I was out of line, and for that, I genuinely apologize. On the other hand, I'm not going to apologize for not paying more attention to you, and it's glaringly obvious that's what this little tantrum has been about. [prominent poet, now MIA from the scene] didn't pay attention to you. I didn't pay attention to you. Wah, wah, wah.Grow up, Terry. If you've got problems with the poetry scene, do something about it. Start your own readings, start a festival. Publish a journal or Web zine. Whatever, but stop acting like a baby because you don't get the attention you deserve and others do. You're right, it's not a level playing field, and you don't get points for just being there. You've actually got to do something well. Writing well would be a start. I DO remember your chapbook. I still have it, in the piles of several hundred that I dutifully carried with me cross-country when I moved. Terry, it was dull. Very dull. Not bad, but there was little of interest going on there. I don't recall if I had read it yet when I saw you in Redondo, but even if I had, I doubt I would have said much. What was I supposed to say? "Sorry, it bored me to tears." But as I recall, it took me awhile to get around to it, because, even now, I get a ton of chapbooks very month. I've not thrown one away, and I try to read them all, but no, I can't review them, and I really had nothing consequential to say about it, for good or bad. As to my "wisdom would be something of value," Whatever. I don't recall volunteering to be your mentor, and while I've taught poetry in high schools and colleges, I don't recall you being in any of my classes. The sad fact is, Terry, I thought you were a nice guy,and always tried to be friendly to you, but no, I didn't care much for your writing. Would you have preferred that I said that? I can't see what good that would have done. It's not like I walked out of the room when you were on the microphone. Maybe you've gotten better, I don't know.You can have whatever opinions you want, Terry, and you can have whatever opinions you want about me, but the fact is, you're not the one out there doing the work, and if you've made any serious effort to BE the one out there doing the work, I'm sorry, but I don't recall it. [name omitted]."

For better or worse, Name Omitted's letter has been an impetus for me to carry on as a poet over the last half-decade. I've learned a few things since then (and have to learn a few more), but I hope I never sink to the depths of writing to someone else who sends me a book or poem with the condescending, dimissive tone of what Name Omitted dictated above.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sharing an e-mail from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) re Guantanamo, WikiLeaks and detention.

Dear Mr. McCarty:
Thank you for your letter regarding the United States detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  This is an important issue, and I welcome the opportunity to share my point of view with you.
I continue to support the closure of Guantanamo Bay, consistent with the need to prosecute, transfer, or hold the remaining detainees appropriately. 
Upon taking office in January 2009, President Obama ordered that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba be closed within a year.  He also established task forces, which reviewed U.S. interrogation and detention policies and evaluated how individuals currently held at Guantanamo should be handled – whether to prosecute them, transfer them to the custody of other nations, or continue to detain them in other circumstances.  For various reasons, as you may be aware, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is still in operation today. 
I have long felt that Guantanamo has tarnished the American image abroad and done great harm to our Nation's efforts to combat international terrorism.  In 2007, I introduced the first legislation in the Senate to require closure of the facility.  I continue to believe that the United States is capable of handling the detainees at Guantanamo Bay through alternatives that utilize the strengths of the American justice system without compromising national security, including the option of prosecuting detainees for violations of U.S. law or the law of war – both in federal criminal courts and military commissions. 
Our federal courts, judges, and prosecutors are the best in the world.  They have proven to be fully capable of dealing with extremely dangerous persons, classified intelligence, and other factors, as was the case with Ahmed Ghailani, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.  On January 25, 2011, a federal judge sentenced Mr. Ghailani to life in prison for conspiracy to destroy the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.  This case shows that despite recent criticism of putting terrorists on trial in our federal court system, federal courts continue to deliver the punishment that terrorists deserve. 
On April 24, 2011, the organization WikiLeaks released over 700 files related to Guantanamo Bay detainees.  This was the fourth leak of classified U.S. government documents by WikiLeaks; previously, the organization released files related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and cables from the U.S. Department of State.  I believe these leaks have seriously harmed the national security of the United States. 
In regard to the Guantanamo documents themselves, I believe they demonstrate that, in addition to terrorists who participated in attacks against the United States, innocent individuals were wrongly imprisoned for years at Guantanamo Bay.  The documents show that many of those detained at the facility should not have been. 
Again, thank you for your letter.  Please be assured that I will continue to do everything necessary to achieve the goal of closing Guantanamo in an effective and safe manner.  If you have any additional comments or questions, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841.

Sincerely yours,

  Dianne Feinstein
         United States Senator

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Rolling Stones, high ticket prices and the perils of limited touring.

Here's August Brown of THE LOS ANGELES TIMES mentioning a block of $85.00 tickets being released in time for tonight's Staples Center show.,0,5693752.story

And here's a link to the Bob Lefsetz blog entry Brown references:

Clearly, the Stones thought a limited-date tour warranted prices as high as $600 for tickets (as much a reason as the "beat the scalpers" thesis of Lefsetz).

And many fans (some of them probably angered by the band ignoring key U.S. markets outside of the East and West Coasts--except Chicago) are pushing back and staying home.

Curious if Led Zeppelin (allegedly Robert Plant's interested in another reunion; guessing it's keyed to the upcoming reissue-with-bonus-tracks of the band's recorded catalogue) will learn something from the Stones' victory-lap stumble.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sharing Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) e-mail to me.

Dear Mr. McCarty:
Thank you for writing to express your opposition to the indefinite military detention of enemy combatants.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and I share your concern.
As you may know, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 failed to include a provision that would have clarified that the military cannot detain individuals on U.S. soil who are suspected of terrorism.
Although the Obama Administration has made it clear that it "will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," it is important that Congress eliminate any ambiguity about the intent of the law.
In the last Congress, I was proud to be a co-sponsor of the Due Process Guarantee Act, which would have clarified that American citizens arrested within the United States cannot be held indefinitely by the military.  Unfortunately, the 112th Congress did not enact this legislation.
As Congress considers the next Defense Authorization bill, please be assured that I will continue working to keep Americans safe from terrorism while defending the civil liberties that are so vital to American freedom and democracy.
Again, thank you for writing.  Please feel free to contact me again about this or other issues of concern to you.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator