Friday, April 29, 2005


I could have done without the Smuckers ads, frankly, but "Lou Grant," was a major force in my life. I feel more and more like an old fart every time I tell a young journalist that I was surprised to learn about copy editors because I don't remember seeing copy editors on "Lou Grant," but that show -- in which Adams played Managing Editor Charlie Hume -- was huge when I headed to college.

It's also the first entry on my "shows I wish were on DVD" list.

The first "Dragnet" episodes arrive soon, but still on the list:

  • "The Paper Chase."
  • "It's Garry Shandling's Show."
  • "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd."
  • "Parker Lewis Can't Lose."
  • "The Rookies."
  • "Toma."
  • "Ed."
  • "Cupid."
  • "Relativity."

    And, hugely:
  • "The David Letterman Show" (the original, the morning one).

    If I'm wrong about any of these shows not being on DVD (aside from maybe one "Rookies" episode), I'll be thrilled.

  • Thursday, April 28, 2005

    TWO VOICE MAILS waiting for me at work.

    First message:

    This is Debbie from [name of talent agency] in [city of talent agency], and we have someone interested in your speaking, and I'd like to find out what your fee is and several other questions. My number is . . .

    Second message:

    Hi, Mr. Walsh, this is Debbie from [name of talent agency] again. Um, just go ahead and disregard the previous voice mail I left you. You were not the Bill Walsh that they were looking for. They wanted a football coach! So, thank you very much.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2005

    THE ACES CONFERENCE in Hollywood couldn't have been better. A great lineup of speakers (I especially enjoyed John Allen Paulos, the Jake Johannsen of math). I thought my session went better than any of my previous attempts at public speaking (thanks, Gina, for suggesting the more casual wardrobe). I had a great time driving down streets from "Dragnet" episodes with friends old and new. All the while, though, I was wishing I had been home for the start of the endless finish of the new kitchen.

    You've seen the Bradys' house. Here are some more pictures. (For pictures featuring actual people, you may want to check with Nicole.)

    WHAT TRIP TO LOS ANGELES is complete without a visit to the "Brady Bunch" house?

    Tucked in a residential neighborhood of varying styles where Hollywood meets Studio City, the high-roofed ranch (the window on the show was fake, and of course the house was used only for the exterior scene-setting) is familiar, but I'm not sure I would have picked it out if I hadn't known the address.

    Fittingly, it looks more like the "real" Brady house in pictures than in person.

    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    100 THINGS ABOUT ME. (Yes, I know it's so 1998, but it took me this long.)

    1. For a long time I was very skinny with a lot of hair. Now I'm fat and bald.
    2. I love the city, but I don't dislike the country or even the suburbs.
    3. I've never owned a car with an automatic transmission.
    4. I have trophies for tennis, boxing, spelling and bowling. (Guess which one was a gag gift. No, it was the bowling one.)
    5. I don't like cops, but I hate criminals.
    6. Kate Jackson was my favorite Charlie's Angel.
    7. I would love to be a wine snob; for now, I just play one on television.
    8. At age 6 I campaigned for Robert F. Kennedy. And Sander Levin and Phil Hart.
    9. I'm a bit of an assassination buff, but I've given up on conspiracy theories. Oswald did it.
    10. For most of junior high and high school my career goal was to design cars.
    11. I would retire this second if finances permitted.
    12. I'm at a point where I feel I've accomplished enough on my own that winning a huge lottery jackpot would be bittersweet.
    13. I have never had any desire to be a parent.
    14. Cat person, most definitely.
    15. I sporadically go through brief periods of Scrabble obsession.
    16. I don't do crossword puzzles.
    17. I taped and saved every episode of "Seinfeld."
    18. In second grade, I got up in front of my class and explained what was happening with Apollo 13.
    19. As a childhood sports fan, I never rooted for the home team. With some great Tigers and Red Wings teams right there, I rooted for the Yankees or Orioles and the Canadiens. And the Packers over the Lions.
    20. I became very emotionally invested in every point of Bjorn Borg's matches in the late '70s and early '80s.
    21. The first record album I bought (well, the first one that involved music) was the "Rocky" soundtrack.
    22. I had the musical taste of a very, very old person until well into college.
    23. I lived in Arizona for 10 years (10 years to the day) and never went to the Grand Canyon.
    24. I lived in Arizona for 10 years without owning a pair of shorts, other than tennis shorts.
    25. I have never skied.
    26. I am a very adventurous eater.
    27. I believe very strongly in the death penalty, but only if it could be administered by an aggrieved party or an eyewitness immediately after the crime.
    28. I try very hard to make case-by-case exceptions as they come up, but basically I think you have to be an asshole to smoke cigarettes.
    29. I really, really don't understand the whole tattoos-and-piercings thing.
    30. Or the implants thing.
    31. I miss old-fashioned roller skates.
    32. I consider myself pretty smart, until I sit down to play Trivial Pursuit with my wife.
    33. I have never seen a full episode of "Star Trek."
    34. I was all set to major in psychology until I learned that statistics classes were required.
    35. I talk on the telephone less than anyone I know.
    36. I have shaken hands with Marion Barry and Sun Myung Moon.
    37. Religious people puzzle me.
    38. Late in 2001 I learned I was diabetic.
    39. I take very few sick days, but the ones I do take leave me riddled with guilt.
    40. I avoid valet parking whenever possible.
    41. My favorite food is probably toro -- sushi or sashimi of fatty tuna belly.
    42. I don't like licorice, but I love Pernod.
    43. I will drive out of my way to use Speedpass to pay for gasoline.
    44. I occasionally go on very silly eBay binges, often involving Howard Johnson's memorabilia.
    45. I can come pretty close to reciting Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" or Langston Hughes's "Dream Deferred" from memory.
    46. I used to be a coin collector.
    47. I have gone to great lengths to get to a White Castle.
    48. I miss being able to fall asleep to Larry King's old radio show.
    49. When it comes to the needy, I can get a little Ayn Rand-y.
    50. I have never done drugs.
    51. Littering really bothers me.
    52. I drink a lot of seltzer.
    53. I would have gotten braces in junior high school, but I refused when I was told it would involve wearing the associated headgear to school.
    54. The first presidential vote I cast was for John B. Anderson in 1980. (Practically everyone I know voted for Anderson. Why didn't he win?)
    55. In childhood, I was obsessed with guns.
    56. I wish I could have lived in Manhattan for a couple of years at some point.
    57. I don't understand people who don't speed up a little when they're walking across a street. (I don't look down on those who don't share my abnormally fast walking speed, but I do have a problem with the "I'm so cool, I pretend those speeding cars aren't even there" mind-set.)
    58. I love apartment hunting, house hunting and just about everything else about real estate.
    59. My great-great-grandfather was hanged for a murder related to the Molly Maguires.
    60. I doubt many people make a better spaghetti carbonara than mine.
    61. I don't particularly like being a supervisor, but it's better than being supervised by somebody else.
    62. I have such a finely honed sense of right and wrong on the road, I look like the world's most aggressive maniac one minute and the world's most courteous milquetoast the next.
    63. My dealings with people in the service industry are similar to my dealings with fellow drivers.
    64. I want to buy every book that interests me and keep every book I buy.
    65. I consider the insurance industry a criminal enterprise. I would devote my life to writing the definitive expose of these people if I didn't firmly believe that my life would end very soon after the publication of such a book, if not sooner.
    66. I taught myself Excel programming, and I take great pleasure in automating my life with spreadsheets.
    67. I like my steak rare.
    68. I think I have a very healthy attitude about money.
    69. I ballboyed for Billie Jean King.
    70. I played with Fisher-Price Little People long after it was age-appropriate.
    71. The tamest ferris wheel scares me more than the most ambitious roller coaster.
    72. I have a recurring nightmare about climbing a hill in a vehicle but failing and rolling back down.
    73. When I was little, I would turn any cylindrical object into a microphone and pretend to be Hugh Downs.
    74. Almost as soon as I learned to talk I could identify the make and model of any car on the road.
    75. I was a coffee drinker before I hit puberty.
    76. Where a lot of people would type "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog," I type "This is the dawning of the age of aquarius." I have no idea why.
    77. I have great taste in neckties.
    78. I'm ready to strangle Bill Gates any number of times during a typical day, but I tend to roll my eyes at "Mac people."
    79. I have the wrists of a 12-year-old girl.
    80. When I had hair, I occasionally colored it.
    81. I still occasionally splurge on expensive hair-care products.
    82. I bite my fingernails.
    83. And crack my knuckles.
    84. I can do this weird double-jointed thing with my thumbs.
    85. I've needed eyeglasses since eighth grade. Wore soft contacts for a couple of years in college but tired of the hassle; now I keep disposable ones around for sports and recreation.
    86. I never drank until I was legal. I've probably made up for the lost time.
    87. In high school and college I wrote "The Lob Also Rises," a full-length Hemingway parody in which my junior tennis persona was the Jake Barnes character.
    88. I can't decide whether I'm the sloppiest neat person ever or the neatest sloppy person ever.
    89. As a college freshman, I planned my class schedule around David Letterman's morning show and, ahem, "General Hospital."
    90. I make a living correcting people's English, but in real life I say "Can I," never "May I," and "lay" when it should be "lie."
    91. I have a very hard time with books or movies set too far earlier or later than the modern age. This helps explain why I am Shakespeare-illiterate and science-fiction-averse.
    92. I don't tend to agonize over major life decisions.
    93. I don't know how I ever lived without TiVo.
    94. My wedding anniversary is April Fool's Day.
    95. My interest in serial killers is probably a tad beyond the healthy level.
    96. For someone who's as far from being a Trekkie as anyone could be, I'm quite the Monty Python geek.
    97. I have fairly elaborate rules about what beverages are allowed with what foods.
    98. I cannot whistle. Not even close. (And I can't stand whistling, but envy has nothing to do with it.)
    99. I often yell at inanimate objects.
    100. The prospect of my picking up an apple and biting into it in public is about as likely as my re-enacting that Ozzy Osbourne bat thing.

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    SO I'M STANDING IN LINE at Safeway and something in my peripheral vision catches my eye.

    Why, I ask myself, does that jar of spices say BILL WALSH on it?

    I take a longer look and I see:


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