Saturday, January 09, 2010


1) Honestly, I don't know how or why I started using random Larry King quotes as a signifier of a Random Thoughts post. It's kinda like Larry's presence on TV: We don't understand, we don't even like it, but we somehow accept it.

2) Rudy Giuliani, having apparently accepted that even Republicans no longer see him as a viable candidate for anything, helped solidify his pundit credentials by appearing on Good Morning America and offering this observation: "We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama."

The most interesting thing about this isn't Giuliani's blatant lie. (I mean, the guy actually used to promote himself as "Mr. 9/11." Does he not remember who was president at the time?) No, far more fascinating is that the statement was uttered in the middle of an interview being conducted by George Stephanopoulos, the new co-host of Good Morning America, and the guy who previously had taken over David Brinkley's mantle on This Week. Stephanopoulos is, by the increasingly weak standards our media overlords use to describe such things, a journalist, and yet he let Giuliani make this statement without bothering to follow up, without asking, "What the hell are you talking about?" which is the bare minimum we might reasonably expect from any real journalist.

Of course, Stephanopoulos isn't a journalist, he's a professional hack who used the aura of power bestowed upon him as Chief Apologist for Bill Clinton as a ticket to a media career. Journalists ask questions and try to determine the truth; Stephanopoulos could care less about the truth. If he did, he wouldn't have taken over the spot on Good Morning America formerly inhabited by Diane Sawyer. She left to take over as full-time anchor for ABC's evening newscast. The notion that Sawyer, the patrician former lackey for unindicted crook and noted anti-Semite Richard Nixon, could be trusted to parse out facts is laughable, but she and Stephanopouos represent the journalistic credo of the new century: The facts are what we say they are.

3) Remember a week or two ago when I did that list of my favorite movies of 2009? And remember how I said I'd be following soon with a list of favorite movies of the decade? Well, it's not that I've abandoned the idea or anything, it's just taking a whole lot longer than expected.

Not to ruin the suspense, but I always assumed Brad Bird's unfailingly awesome The Incredibles would take top spot in any such survey, but then I realized O Brother Where Art Thou? was actually released in the Aughts, and might deserve the spot instead. But where would that leave Ghost World? And...well, it kinda keeps going like that. I like a lot of movies, is what I'm saying.

4) The world of comedy, much like the mafia, is morally dubious, but there's still a generally accepted code of honor. And the main rule is, Don't stab a guy in the back.

Jay Leno, though, is such a self-regarding scumbag that he couldn't care less. Having spent a decade and a half trashing the legacy of Johnny Carson as the host of the mind-bendingly awful The Tonight Show--a gig he got by knowingly stabbing his former friend David Letterman repeatedly in the back, then blaming all the bloodletting on his former manager--he had known since 2004 that NBC planned to promote Conan O'Brien as host of The Tonight Show in 2009. Presumably, Leno signed off on this. If he was displeased, he never made it known.

Until it was time for O'Brien to take over, at which point Leno did what Bostonians do best, whining like a baby that it just wasn't fair, what with his show doing so well with its target audience of shut-ins and morons, and threatening to take his sub-mediocrity to an unspecified other network. NBC executives, displaying the programming acumen that has allowed Heroes to remain on the air all these years, gave in and handed Leno an unprecedented five-nights-a-week showcase in prime time, which they trumpeted endlessly, even as O'Brien's makeover of The Tonight Show barely got a promo.

Not surprisingly, when not serving as a sleepy-time send-off to the feeble-minded, Leno's show tanked, actually getting buried in the ratings by basic cable reruns. It's not clear whether it was NBC or Leno himself who suggested giving the talentless hack his old gig back, but that's the idea on the table now, and the only choice O'Brien is being given is to accept it or walk. Even if he didn't devise the current plan, Leno has enthusiastically signed off on it, clearly not giving a shit about O'Brien's professional reputation. Then again, it has long been obvious that Jay Leno really doesn't care about anything other than himself.

5) Speaking of Conan O'Brien, here's a joke from a recent monologue: "According to a recent study, scientists have concluded that dogs make better pets than cats. To reach this conclusion, researchers didn't spend any time studying dogs. They just spent half a day with a cat."

OK, I laughed at that. And I get it: Lots of people just don't like cats.

Consider Delmar, for instance. He's standoffish, he gets into things, he's determined to be wherever I don't want him. He's fastidious and sloppy simultaneously, he scratches at everything, he seemingly has no capacity to learn. And he's somehow unknowable, always a little distant, always in his own little world. Plus the rage issues. Also, he's kind of creepy. Did I mention he once tried to gouge my eye out?

But. He greets me at the door every time I come home, and won't settle down until I've hugged him. If you call his name while he's giving himself a bath, he does this adorable doubletake in which he looks at you, goes back to bathing then abruptly looks at you again, frequently accompanied by an inquisitive little meow. He'll walk up to me sometimes for no reason and bury his face in my leg, always accompanied by the loudest purr imaginable. And he scampers around the house like a kitten, and dammit, it's adorable.

No, he's not for everybody. (Or anybody but me--he doesn't like other people.) But in his own way, he's sweet and loving, and I realize "in his own way" sounds like a bullshit qualifier, and maybe it is, but he's my buddy, and I love him.

Still, sometimes I think how nice it would be to have a dog...