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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

My Kingdom for a ‘Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger!’

(Note: Yes, I’m backdating this post by a few hours. Again. At least this time, I have a good excuse.

(Assuming that laziness, exhaustion, procrastination, and distractedness — the ones I’ve used in the past — aren’t good excuses. Even though I think they are. Nyah.)

Anyway, this time my tardiness has a technical explanation — apparently my wireless router hiccuped yesterday and stopped talking to my ISP’s DNS server. Maybe they had a spat of some kind. Maybe the router was upset that the DNS server never calls any more. (Just like a man.) Or maybe they’ve both got their eye on some hot mailserver out there. Something. Anyway, they got snarky with each other, and I lost all access to the web at large.

(Well, that’s not entirely true, I suppose. If I’d known the IP addresses for Blogger, and Yahoo, and the rest of the places I wanted to go, I guess I wouldn’t really have needed the DNS server. But I didn’t. Maybe I should start memorizing those for future reference. Yeah, that should be fun.)

So, to make a long story… um, marginally less long, I finally called my ISP this morning (because I didn’t know the problem was on my end), and — after some initial diagnostics — the tech support guy gave me the universal, highly technical, time-tested, expert advice that I give people when they come to me with computer problems:

‘Uh… did you try turning it off and back on?’

Shit. Why the hell didn’t I think of that? If the printer’s screwed, what do I do? Off and back on. When my computer locks up? Reboot. So what happens when the network suddenly goes belly up? Well, um, I wait sixteen hours or so, then call my ISP. And what do they tell me? ‘Restart your router, stupid.’

(In a very nice, friendly, customer-friendly sort of way, of course. They know who pays the checks.)

*sigh* I’m such a tool sometimes.)

So. I thought about bitching about last night’s horrendously unfunny Saturday Night Live / Mad TV episodes. But I just can’t find the energy. I’m depressed that there’s no good sketch comedy on TV any more. Sure, SNL has hit lulls before — the post-Eddie Murphy era, the dark times right after guys like Mike Myers jumped ship — but I’ve seen very little in the past couple of years that suggests they’re close to coming out of their current flat funk.

(Seriously — Hall and Oates custom-singing at a business conference? Why would that be funny? And why Hall and Oates? Who the hell cares?)

Ugh. It just makes my funny bone hurt.

(Andy Roddick as host? *sniff sniff* Is it just me, or am I catching the faint whiff of ‘desperation’? Maybe SNL’s not bringing in the cool kiddies any more.)

Where are the Dana Carveys, the Eddie Murphys, the Chris Farleys?

(Well, okay, I suppose we have a pretty good idea of where Chris Farley is right now. Bad example. Sorry.)

That’s to say nothing of the show’s heyday — Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Bill Murray, Jim Belushi… shit, I’d settle for John Belushi right now. Or Rob Schneider, for chrissakes. David Spade, Kevin Nealon — give me something! Placate me, dammit! Even Victoria freakin’ Jackson would be… um, no, never mind. She was the worst. Forget I mentioned her. Sheesh.

And it used to be that I could turn to Mad TV for relief. Miss Swan (‘Rooka rike a man.‘) would help, and Stuart (‘No…. noooooo… look what I can do!’) pitched in; even Lorraine (God, that’s cute! Hurmph!’) lent an occasional hand. But that show’s gone down the craptube, too — last night, with plenty of old regulars back, they chose to go with Will Sasso’s Kenny Rogers (damn, what brain-deficient bumbleass decided that character should get more than one sketch? Mumbling, bumbling semi-famous has-been Southern nonsense was funny for the first couple of minutes, but skit after skit after skit?), Nicole Sullivan and Michael McDonald as the ‘literally‘ twins (ugh!), and Aries Spears’ ‘Real M************ News‘ nightmare. From what I gather, I missed a few of the better sketches, but still — for a big ‘special show’, shouldn’t most of the material be good? Not half, or some, or a little, but most? Is that asking too much?

Well, apparently. Mad TV is still the better option, but last night was just damned depressing. I watched for over an hour, and the most entertaining thing I saw was Tina Fey shaking her stuff along with the other SNL chickies during Andy Roddick’s monologue-that-wasn’t. I don’t know what the hell they fed ‘Tangy Tina’ before that little bit, but she was the rump-shakin’est of anyone out there. She always seems so straight-laced and calm in most of her sketches — I didn’t even know she had a jiggy to get with. Color me impressed.

Okay, that’s enough. I said I wasn’t gonna bitch, right? Oh, well. So much for ‘best-laid plans’. Eh. I can’t help it if I have high humor expectations. It’s not my fault. It’s those people who wrote the good shit back in the day — the Conehead family, and the wild and crrrrazy guys, and ‘Jane, you ignorant slut.’ If they’d never shown me Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood, or Wayne’s World, or even the Church Lady, then I wouldn’t be demanding something just as good now. Seriously, my tastes haven’t changed much.

(Since I was eight or so, come to think of it. Obvious, isn’t it?)

So it’s not my fault. It must be the writers, and the actors, and whoever’s running the crappified versions of these once-funny shows.

Heh. Finally I’ve found a scapegoat. Cool. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Or at least while I have someone else to blame. I don’t get to do it often, you know.

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