Emmy Schools Oscar: 5 More Tips to Make the Academy Awards Less Eternal

A film’s producer was asked about his DP—or “director of photography”—or “cinematographer” in case he’s nominated for anything. “He should be great,” he laughed. “But this is his first non-television gig. He might be too efficient!” Sunday’s Emmy Awards was a perfect example of the terrible crime of being too efficient. The Oscars are notoriously always late–– a tiresome joke that probably began with “Wings” in 1929. Last February I discussed kicking Oscar out of the bingo hall (link).  Not sure if anyone at ABC read it, but perhaps they noticed the show from the Fox producers of the Emmy Awards–Oscar’s “little brother on the little screen”–that now produces more quality filmmaking then any 10 hour epic created by Peter Jackson. The big winner was once again HBO.  “Olive Kitteridge,” “Veep” and “Game of Thrones” clobbered most of the competition.  ”Mad Men” did get its farewell nod as Jon Hamm took his much deserved recognition in his interesting goofy style–– so… Read More…

Attack of the Teenage Snow-Day Zombies: Resuscitating the Watching Dead

We heard its slow steps trudging up from the cellar—one foot was obviously dragging.  I swear we could hear the drool splashing on the floorboards.  It snarled.  It hated the daylight—even cloud-covered sunshine deflected off the snow.  We stood in its way and we were going to pay for it… “I was in the middle of an episode!” it roared. You may have seen the snow-day zombies in your own home.  They’re easy to spot.  They still look a bit like those pictures on the wall —but they’re meaner and generally have distinct characteristics. Bloodshot eyes Dirty, standing-in-weird-places hair Hunger so severe they don’t know they’re hungry anymore Aggressive, attack-first tendencies Extremely protective of their turf—namely, their remotes It’s not quite the parking lot of the Center for Disease Control, but we are nearly as hopeful as those running pollyannas in Season 1 of the The Walking Dead.  Maybe there… Read More…

Thanking Two Men I’d Forgotten to Thank 30 Years Ago: Mr. Denstaedt and Mr. Wentz

After attending 25 years of high school graduation ceremonies, it finally dawned on me as I sat in my robe and was thanked by grateful students and their parents–I really didn’t deserve such nice seats. Compared, to the folks who were really responsible for the pomp and circumstance, my hourly contribution was minimal.  Elementary teachers put in the long hours and are stuck with the kids all day long.  Middle school teachers are fighting the two-headed dragon of hormones and immaturity in a short, nasty body that hasn’t often developed a soul yet. Within two days, Clawson lost two of its icons–John Denstaedt and Bill Wentz.  Both of them were outstanding educators and mourned by thousands.  Yet when I walked across the stage and grabbed my diploma in 1983 they weren’t there–or if they were, I wasn’t even looking for them.  I had moved on.  Clawson High School and Junior… Read More…

Iago Defeats the Kraken: Game of Thrones and Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Spoiler alert. If you have not yet seen Game of Thrones, stop reading this and go watch it. Whatever you’re doing—washing dishes, taking out the trash, googling exes—stop and watch it now. Oh yeah, don’t eat first. You’re back?  The Starks took some more hits last night. In GOT world, the Starks are “the good guys.”  They’re brave, virtuous, honest, strong.  Contrast them with the Lannister’s—their greatest warrior is known as “kingslayer” for stabbing a former king in the back. The Kingslayer and his sister have a incestuous relationship so potent they can’t keep their hands off each other while visiting the Starks, and when they’re caught by a 10 year old Bran Stark, they throw him out of a tower window. There’s Tyrion Lannister, a drunken womanizer despised by his family for  a) being a midget, and b) having a soul. He’s so nice, the Lannisters had to scar… Read More…

The Power of a Well-Placed Smart-Ass: Roger Sterling, Lord Tyrion and the Dowager Countess of Grantham

“What’s the definition of a smart-ass?” began one of my dad’s favorite jokes.   “Someone who could sit on ice cream and tell what flavor it is.” In 1998, the internet was new in our school and I was doing a demo in class of how cool it was.  We had the projector on and I was discussing how easy it was to find information. “For example, if you wanted to check out the President’s website, you just had to www.whitehouse.com,” I dictated proudly to my student at the keyboard who typed it in. I could see from their expressions that they also weren’t expecting the porn site on the big screen behind me. “Back arrow!  Back arrow!” I screached, convinced that the principal, governor or Bill Clinton would walk in on me at that very moment. Without missing a beat, a student raised his hand, “Mr. Walsh, can I… Read More…