2008 Watch: The Return?

October 28, 2007

Mr. TWhere have I been? Astute readers will note I was last seen here challenging the internuts to duels. It’s not everyday that I get the chance to brandish my cherished flintlocks, so naturally I entered into honorable combat with a certain gusto. What I had not counted on was that the LAPD would choose to uphold the law–also with a certain gusto (and with significantly more modern weaponry). I was detained by the authorities, but I promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, I survive as a blogger of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me… no wait, that doesn’t sound right.

Regardless, I was on the run from the law and had to maintain radio silence at all times. My benefactor and semi-professional linguist Dash Hammarskjold recently managed to track me down. In exchange for my eternal servitude, he agreed to smuggle me out of California and into a third world country with poor extradition laws. That’s right: Dash (or Herr Hammarskjold as he insists on being called) sent me to Iowa to resume my duties as lead political correspondent for YSMedia and our sister blogs worldwide.

The fact is that whoever wins Iowa will probably be the next president. All of the campaigns have invested so many resources here that to lose will be a huge sign of weakness. Needless to say, there is a lot riding on these January caucuses, especially if you are under the (mistaken) impression that the president actually runs our government. So, here now, is what’s really going on in Iowa which the news media may is ignoring. To be honest, I have no idea what they’re reporting. Per company edict, Dash had forbidden the viewing of any TV network not owned by GlobalSlaladTech Inc. As you may have noticed, however, our TV division pretty much sucks. There, I said it. Actual content after the break.

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  1. Alec Baldwin. His comedic sense and timing is great. His ownership of his character is even better.
  2. Tina Fey’s ever-improving acting. You can almost watch her get better from one episode to the next.
  3. Tina Fey’s cleavage. I am of the opinion that Tina Fey’s cleavage needs to be given its own character credit on this show. It appears more frequently than half the cast members, and seems so carefully arranged and presented that I would not be surprised to also see a credit for: Assistant to Ms. Fey’s Cleavage.
  4. Appeals across many demographics. For instance, I can watch this show with my beautiful girlfriend, who has way better cleavage than Tina Fey! The same cannot be said for Grey’s Papaya Anatomy (her) or re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation (…also…uhh…her.)
  5. Tracy Morgan. Not as talented an actor as Alec Baldwin, but displays a similar ownership of his character. Credit the creators and writers of the show for this bright spot as well. It has a lot to do with how expertly they handle Tracy Jordan’s different displays of ‘crazy behavior.’ If they can get away with just saying ‘he’s crazy,’ they do it and move on. If the plot calls for something more, for whatever reason, they address the reason and move on. Tight, smart writing – and as I said, Morgan pulls his job off expertly as well. He is clearly having a lot of fun with the role. This is probably something I completely missed, because I don’t watch television too often – but is he playing a version of himself?
  6. Kenneth the Page. Another character whose oddities and quirks are treated with alternating looseness and precision. Another good acting job. In fact…
  7. Very good supporting cast. From Morgan Fairchild look-a-like Jane Krakowsi (no relation to John Krasinski) to Jack McBrayer’s Kenneth the Page, to the guy whose only real job is to look dirty and wear funny hats, the supporting cast of 30 Rock does a very good job of making sure that those moments falling in between major plot points actually support what’s going on in the show – instead of degenerating into typical network filler-fare. Filla-fare. Falafel. I’m hungry. Don’t even like falafels.
  8. Utilizes its humor equitably and towards positive effects. This may be a minor point – but I enjoy the way in which the show seems to dole out its good-natured knocks equally among any and all ‘victims.’ One episode will end up with Big Bad Republican Jack Donaghy teaching Little Mousy Cleavage Pushin’ Liz Lemon about how to be assertive, strong, and…rich. At the end of the next, Lemon will be scurrying to save Donaghy from some trapping of Red State life. Last week’s episode was particularly indicative of this tendency. Maybe we can all get along after all. (Not really. Ibiteyoureyes.)
  9. Not afraid to get weird. Now, I’m not talking about Liz Lemon’s geek-girl characteristics. Geekdom is slowly but surely (ge)eking its way into the mainstream taste. A different subject for a different time. I’m talking more about the occasional ridiculous plot point (cookie jars?) and the occasional one-liner (often delivered by Baldwin) that after the first few episodes started to (thankfully) take the place of your average, run-of-the-mill, cheap…sitcom jokes.
  10. I am too hungry to finish this list. Discuss among yourselves. Ibitesomefood.

The Cat’s Meow

October 28, 2007

The expression “The cat’s meow” is a quaint piece of Americana denoting superlative goodness, perfection, and even sexual desirability. Particularly popular during the Jazz Age, it was said to have been coined first by Thomas Dorgan, a turn-of-the-century cartoonist and possibly the most successful turner-of-phrases eveeeeerrrrrr. (He was also missing a few fingers on one of his hands – this will prove important later in the post).

This past summer a dear friend of mine, in his infinite hospitality, offered to make me a new cocktail he had devised just that day. He called it The Cat’s Meow. Or maybe he called it A Cat’s Meow in which case I was remiss to have not embarrassed him publicly. On the other hand, it may be considered poor form to bite the hand that tends your bar. Regardless, this friend (who constantly uses the non-existent word “irregardless”) introduced me to a tasty libation and I am in his debt.

The Cat’s Meow

Whiskey (amount to be determined according to one’s evening plans and amount of responsibility the following day)

Ginger Ale (nearly top off)

Red Grenadine (one shot)

*Warning: The Cat’s Meow is high in sugar and will most likely leave its owner with a serious hangover.*

Perhaps my attachment to this concoction is due in part to the immediate association I make upon hearing its ingredients. Sing along if you know it:

Brown eyed women and red grenadine/The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean/Sound of the thunder with the rain pouring down/And it looks like the old man’s gettin’ on

We miss you, Jerry. Good Americana deserves good Americana as company. Now two great Americans who were without all ten fingers and have made significant cultural contributions are forever linked courtesy of alcohol and language. That’s the cat’s meow.