Howdy Doody time

Perhaps one of you readers is as old as I am–that is to say, really, really old–so that you too could get a nostaligic buzz out of this memory of the Howdy Doody Show, an account of someone who actually got to sit in the Peanut Gallery. I’m telling you, THAT was children’s TV.

Doctor Who is good again

Are any of you “Doctor Who” fans? That is to say, Whovians? I would just like to say that David Tennant has to be the best Doctor since Tom Baker. Yes, he is too young, but he projects a persona that is both madcap and enigmatic. Also, the writing for that series has really gotten good. This last two-part episode about the Library had to be one of the most remarkable plots I have seen on TV, with layer upon layer of metafiction, time paradox, virtual reality, epistemology, and puzzle upon puzzle, all resolved in stunning fashion. Watch for this one in re-reruns, and if you haven’t seen the show since you were a little kid, give it a try again. (And if any of you watched them, this thread is open to a discussion of the Library episodes.)

Life imitates TV

It turns out that the unexpected rise of Barack Obama bears a strange similarity to a story line from “West Wing” a few years ago. From Peter Funt – A Race Straight Out of a ‘West Wing’ Rerun:

How’s this for a political plot: Good-looking congressman in his mid-40s, married with two young children, known for his inspirational speeches, comes from far behind to clinch the Democratic nomination and face an older, more experienced centrist Republican. If he wins, he’s America’s first non-Caucasian president.

It’s a drama that plays out each day in the papers and through nonstop cable-TV coverage. But some are beginning to notice that it’s a rerun. The whole thing was broadcast a few years back on NBC’s “The West Wing.”

The TV candidate even campaigned on a slogan of “hope.” It turns out, the writers got the idea from watching Barack Obama make his big speech to the last Democratic convention. They changed the candidate to a Hispanic guy–the ascendancy of a black guy must have been even too much for fiction–though they could not have anticipated the John McCain figure who ran against him. Unsuccessfully. If life keeps imitating the TV show, Obama will be in the White House.

The new American Idol

I Tivoed “American Idol,” as is my wont, watching it about an hour late. I sat through the most tedious, hype-filled TWO hours, consisting of shameless plugs and product placements, embarrassing song and dance numbers, and a host of pop stars who could never have won “American Idol.” Finally, the moment came. . .Ryan Seacrest announced that the winner was “David ___” THEN MY TIVO CUT OUT! RIGHT AT THE VERY VERGE, WITH ONLY THE LAST NAME TO BE UTTERED!

I thought that I may have heard the beginning articulation of an unvoiced velar stop just before the “save or delete” message came on, and, sure enough, the web revealed that the winner was David Cook.

America got it right after all! He has the stage presence, the artistry, the originality, the voice to deserve it. Voters didn’t just vote for the cutest, as I assumed they would; rather, they went for substance.

This encourages me to think that the American people may also vote in larger numbers for the best presidential candidate. Maybe what we should do is let people vote as many times as they want to.

Idol post mortem

As for “American Idol” and its big showdown between the two left standing, I think David Cook is the superior talent, but David Archuleta did out-perform him last night and should be proclaimed the winner tonight.

I appreciate Archuleta for this: Although he sang the execrable John Lennon song “Imagine,” he left out the atheist verse (“Imagine no religion. . . Above us only sky”).

Idol words

Syesha is certainly the most improved of all the singers, developing from inauspicious beginnings into a fine singer and performer. The two Davids, though, are in a class by themselves. I have been favoring Cook, but I’m thinking Archuleta was even better last night.

What I want to comment on is Jason Castro. Look, you can’t be like Bob Marley just by having dreadlocks! You’ve got to have. . .well. . .soul. Not just external packaging. That would help also if you are going to sing a Bob Dylan song, that and remembering the words.

If Jason doesn’t get voted off tonight, whether because of some sympathy vote or because of the “vote the worst” crowd or because teeny-boppers think he is cute, I’m going to have to seriously re-evaluate my faith in democracy.

UPDATE: He DID get voted off. The world has been made safe for democracy. I will now eagerly await the people’s decision about the presidency.