Friday, November 21, 2008


1) Yes, if I'm using a quote from Larry King's old USA Today column as a post title, it must be Random Thoughts time! Haven't done one of these in awhile--has anyone missed it?

2) Spent much of the day yesterday trying to figure out whether I'd be better off upgrading to a higher grade of health insurance, since mine seems to kick out when I need it most. Turns out, the higher grade--the highest offered by my employer--would do pretty much the same thing, which sent me scrambling to the local county-run hospital, to see if my paltry salary is low enough to qualify me for public assistance.

Let me make that clear: I WORK FOR A HOSPITAL, and their level of medical coverage is so pathetic that public assistance sounds like a better idea. (Talk is in the air that things are only going to get worse.) The financial adviser at the county facility told me my best bet would to put as much as I could afford into a Flexible Spending Account and hope for the best. Which means my paycheck will be less than ever, least I'm insured. Yay?

3) So with the economy tanking, how long before people start blaming Obama? Obviously, it's not his fault (well, not entirely, though it's not like he spent his time in congress shoring up the economic levees, or even issuing Cassandra-like warnings of collapse), but will that matter when people become increasingly desperate, praying for a quick fix that can't possibly arrive?

4) Seriously, if I have to see an ad for that new Adam Sandler movie one more time, I'll...I'll...well, I don't know what I'll do, but it won't be pretty.

5) I would be remiss if I didn't mention the death at the age of 94 of Irving Brecher, a prolific gagman and screenwriter. He created The Life Of Riley for radio, then oversaw its transition into one of TV's first sitcoms, plus he palled around with Groucho Marx and Jack Benny, which alone makes him unbelievably awesome in my book.

But Brecher's most lasting credit is as screenwriter for one of the greatest movies ever made, Meet Me In St. Louis. He was one of a small army to labor over this script, and by most accounts, the final draft was mostly his, and a fine piece of work it was. (Though all revisions were closely overseen by Vincente Minnelli, whose supervision I like to think consisted mostly of looking over Brecher's shoulder while muttering, "We need a sequence with an insanely complex lighting scheme in here" or "Any way we can have a scene expressing emotion through vivid use of color? Thanks!") He also scripted another picture for Minnelli, Yolanda And The Thief, though even its most hardcore partisans don't necessarily claim its script as one of its strongest aspects. (I find it greatly underrated myself, and really enjoy Harry Warren's score. Also, am I the only person on earth who thinks Lucille Bremer was insanely hot?) As if this wasn't enough, he toiled uncredited on the script for The Wizard Of Oz, contributing the vaudeville-styled dialogue for Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley.

In other words, on any given day, I'm only about five minutes away from quoting from a script by Irving Brecher. He made my life a little better. I salute you, sir.

6. My spellcheck is flagging the word "yay" and the names Groucho, Brecher and Sandler (oddly, not Bremer), but more disturbingly, continues to flag Obama. Seriously, folks: Update!

7. The cats have taken turns sleeping on my lap. They never sleep on my lap. It's a sign, I tells ya, a sign...