Friday, January 30, 2015

Great movies + TV shows shouldn't be remade

By now most of you have probably heard that CBS gave the go-ahead to Matthew Perry (of Friends fame) to do a re-boot of The Odd Couple. (It debuts in mid-February.)

Granted, The Odd Couple has been remade several times since premiering on Broadway in 1965 (starring Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison and Art Carney as Felix Ungar, and directed by Mike Nichols). The two most successful remakes, or versions, being the 1968 film starring Walter Matthau (again as Oscar) and Jack Lemmon as Felix (now Unger, with an "e"), and the beloved 1970s television series of the same name starring Jack Klugman as Oscar and Tony Randall as Felix.

Since then every attempt at remaking the TV show (or movie) has flopped. And this one will, too. Why? I'll give you three reasons:

1) How can you possibly improve upon the Jack Klugman and Tony Randall television classic? (That's a rhetorical question. You can't.)

2) Matthew Perry? Really? The guy who hasn't had a hit since Friends, whose presence almost guarantees the movie or TV show will flop? (Is it just me, or is every character Perry plays just some version of Chandler? And admit it, you never really liked Chandler, did you?) Which CBS executive thought it a great idea to give this guy the green light to develop, produce, and star in the re-boot of a beloved series (as Oscar Madison)?

3) Re-boots, re-makes, or sequels, especially of classic or great TV shows or movies are never as good as the original (with possibly one or two exceptions, none of them recent).

With all of the writers out there looking for work, some of them even good, talented writers, you would think that movie studios and television networks could come up with something original. But no.

They have to go ahead and remake The Odd Couple. And Jurassic Park. And Ghostbusters.

None of them, I guarantee you, will be nearly as good, or as clever, or as  funny, or as witty, as the original. Though I have no doubt that Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, will take in millions of dollars, at least the first couple of weeks, as will the all-female version of Ghostbusters, starring Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, which will basically be Bridesmaids II: Ghouls Gone Wild, with lots of crude and lewd humor.


Why, Hollywood? Why?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Remember life before email?

Remember life before email? I do. Vaguely. As I recall, we used things called "pens" and "stationery" and "stamps" to communicate with each other over long distances, or used a quaint invention called "a telephone."

Seems so long ago, doesn't it? But it was really just 20 years ago (less) that email started to take off. (Though can you believe, AOL, which, yes, still exists -- I know! -- it going to be 30 this year?! And that there are some people who still have email addresses? Hi Steven!)

At the beginning, many people had no idea how to use this newfangled technology, as BMW playfully reminds us in this fun/funny Super Bowl XLIX ad featuring Katie Couric and Bryant Gumble...

Actually, I know people, make that many people, who still don't understand how email works, or know how to properly use or manage it. But since some of them read this blog, I will not name names.

Now it is hard to imagine life without email.

(You know what else is hard to imagine? Going back to how we dressed and wore our hair in the 1990s. Though I hear animal prints are going to be big this spring!)

RELATED "BOY DO I FEEL OLD" ASIDE: While having dinner the other night, the spouse mentioned that my mother, while clearing out her apartment of over 40 years (for an upcoming, long overdue, renovation), happened upon a box of old 78s and 45s. To which our teenage daughter replied, "What are '78s' and '45s'?"

We asked her to guess. She had no clue. (Anyone else feeling incredibly old now? Granted, 78s were before my time, but I fondly remember 45s.) The spouse explained to her that they were types of records (which required another short explanation) -- and that 45s were the iTunes of their day, which I think is a rather brilliant description.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Birding, Beaching & Shelling on Sanibel Island

Had a credit I had to use or lose on JetBlue by the end of January, so the spouse and I decided to take a quick mid-winter, mid-week break on Sanibel Island, one of my favorite places.*

For those of you unfamiliar with Sanibel Island, it is in Southwest Florida (near Ft. Myers, just north of Naples), and is renowned for its shelling, birding, miles of beach, and fabulous sunrises and sunsets.

Here are some of my favorite photos (and memories) from our recent Sanibel jaunt, taken with my little Canon PowerShot S90 or my Nexus 5 smart phone ('cause the spouse convinced me I didn't need to bring my Nikon -- ahem).

First up, the prettiest sunrise that you ever did see.

Next, shells. The reason I go to Sanibel Island. Though the shelling was not particularly good this visit, despite there being a new moon. Still, I managed to find a dozen or so nice ones. (The colors are much deeper and brighter when the shells are wet. But I was in a hurry and didn't have time to spritz them for their close-up.)

I had much better results with birding, though.

First up, check out this lovely snowy egret, wading into the water, on the beach in front of the Island Inn, where we stayed this visit.

Next, a visit to the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, an amazing place, yielded several photos of roseate spoonbills. I even managed to convince one roseate spoonbill to come up very close to the viewing platform, so I could snap this photo of it. (I am the roseate spoonbill whisperer.)

We also spotted flocks of white pelicans and storks and this little night heron there. (Look, he's smiling!)

Back on the beach, we watched this seagull land this silvery, catfish-looking fish and then wrestle with it, which was pretty amazing. (I will spare you the gory photos.)

And there were terns everywhere. I particularly love this photo where the tern second from the right is chewing out the tern next to her. (I really should have taken a video. It was hysterical. Talk about hen-pecked!)

I also managed to catch an ibis in flight. (Look to the left of the photo.) So beautiful.

Sunsets are a big deal on Sanibel, with people lining the beach, or relaxing in beach chairs (like these plastic Adirondack chairs), to view it (often with a glass, or bottle, of wine).

I think this photo captures the mood.

Speaking of the sunsets, I took dozens of photos of the two sunsets we saw, but I particularly like this one, where you can see brown pelicans fishing near the horizon.

Until next time...

*Luckily (?), we made it  back to Connecticut just before Mother Nature decided to dump six (or was it seven?) inches of snow on us last night.Woohoo! (I miss you, 75-degree weather and beautiful, warm sandy beach!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

You might have a teenager if...

How can you tell your children are officially teens (other than, you know, knowing how old they are)? Here are 11 signs to watch out for.

Note: Any resemblance to actual, specific teens is purely coincidental. 

You might have a teenager if... your daughter thinks that a tight, low-cut shirt, a mini skirt, and Uggs are the perfect winter outfit; and your son insists on wearing a t-shirt and shorts to school if it's over 32 degrees out.

You might have a teenager if... you have never heard of the bands or singers your child listens to.

You might have a teenager if... you start to wonder if those ear buds were surgically implanted in your child's ears.

You might have a teenager if... your child cannot go 30 seconds without looking at his or her smart phone.

You might have a teenager if... your child can type way faster than you on his/her smart phone -- and offers to teach you how to use your smart phone.

You might have a teenager if... she says she was "talking" with her friends when she was actually texting or Facebook messaging or Snapchatting with them.

You might have a teenager if... you know what Snapchat is.

You might have a teenager if... when you ask your child a question, make a request, or offer advice (or, okay, just speak), she rolls her eyes.

You might have a teenager if... when you ask your child to do something, she cuts you off with a "Yes, mom," like you are the most annoying person on the planet.

You might have a teenager if... your child thinks you are the most annoying person on the planet.

You might have a teenager if... they think you can't possibly understand whatever it is they are going through.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Sexy" sweatpants?

It was 18 degrees Fahrenheit here this morning (probably still is), and I was freezing my tuckus off. So I figured that, since I was working from home and didn't need to go out this afternoon, I'd just throw on my old, gray Gap sweatpants.

Then I hesitated.

The last time I wore my sweatpants (and actually the time before that), the spouse informed me that I looked like I was wearing a big droopy diaper. (I wasn't.) This from a man who thinks flannel pajamas are sexy. So I knew my gray sweatpants must look really bad on me.

Granted, the sweatpants are a bit big on me, having bought them when I probably weighed 20 pounds more. But aren't sweatpants supposed to be a bit big and baggy and comfortable?

Apparently, I didn't get the memo.

Gone are the days of wearing sweatpants to sweat in -- or hang out in. Today's sweatpants must be both fashionable and sexy -- in case you are running out for a gallon of milk and there are paparazzi lurking. These fashionable, sexy sweats can also run you $600 or $700. (I kid you not. Just click on the link.)

Granted, it's always nice to be comfortable and look good doing it. But aren't "sexy" sweatpants, "fashionable" sweatpants, and "skinny" sweatpants oxymorons? When did we go from "sweat" pants to "sexy" pants? Can fleece ever be sexy?

Let me know your thoughts via the Comments. And while you're there, let me know where I can pick up a pair of these sexy, fleece sweatpants for under $50.