Monday, January 05, 2009

2008 is Enough-Part One

Watching the ball drop in Times Square to signal in the New Year has always been a surreal experience for a West Coast kid like myself. If you turn on CNN at 9 pm PST, you can view it in "real time", realizing that you're already behind three hours, still stuck in the old year while the rest of the world has moved ahead. Or you can wait until midnight and watch the same damn thing, deluding yourself that you are living in the now when everyone in New York has already gone home.

Of course what kind of a dork marks the passage of time by watching television? Speaking! At least I recognize the stupidity of it all, even if I've done nothing to cure it. What's next for me? The video Yule Log? Yes, I am a sad sorry individual who is not worthy of your pity.

So 2008's gone and not a moment too soon. The lows outnumbered the highs for the year, but at least the highs were substantial enough to not want us all to drink a gallon of poison Kool-Aid and check out out Jim Jones style. There is something to be said for the glimmer of hope that still exists. Let's hope we don't end up at the absolute bottom before we can climb back up again. We don't all require 12 step programs, though there are those who really need a dozen more just for drill.

My bright spot was RED ASPHALT-plain and simple. My first novel was published, reviewed favorably and even gave me a chance to what I like to refer to as "living the dream", albeit in a minor key. Still in all, I can cross this off the bucket list. I can also cross off using the term 'bucket list". For more info, including a swell story about the worst night I ever spent on the road, check out .

Speaking of the aforementioned bucket, it sure got kicked a lot this year. It sure seemed like we had to say goodbye to far too many people than usual. On the pop culture front, we lost great folks like Paul Newman, George Carlin, Bernie Mac, Eartha Kitt, Sydney Pollack and Issac Hayes, just to name a few.

There were other sad goodbyes as well.

Radio's The Don and Mike Show came to a close when Don Geronimo left the airwaves, leaving a gap that will never be filled again. While Don's partner, Mike O'Meara, has continued with much of the same cast, his show pales in comparison, pretty much the equivalent of AFTERMASH. Don Geronimo was a master broadcaster and his seamless work on air made The Don and Mike Show classic radio day in and day out. He is sorely missed.

THE WIRE, one of the finest TV shows ever, ended its five year run with a damn good wrap-up, maybe not as excellent as seasons past but at least providing closure for watchers of that fine show. (Talk about schooling David Chase) The best moment of the year had to be the opening few minutes of the next to the last episode when Baltimore's mayor is let in on the hoax perpetrated by Detective McNulty. Hilarious and absolutely unforgettable.

MAD MEN continued to dominate the rest of the TV year with another brilliant series of episodes. The question remains: Will it continue? At this writing, creative driving force Matthew Weiner is in the midst of contact negotiations with AMC. to continue without him would be the first bad move of 2009.

As a whole, television in 2008 was pretty much like the year itself-bright spots amid the muck and the mire. Sounds like another sequel to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.

The movies were alive and well, even after the writer's strike early on that kicked broadcast TV in the balls and left the film industry dangling on what seemed like the gallows. But, at least the latter rebounded to make it out of 2008 without too much damage.

My favorite pic picks of the last year....

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